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Okay Witches and Wizards of all houses, did you know that you can visit the Hogwarts spiral staircase at St Paul’s Cathedral?
Yep, it played the Divination Stairwell in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where the students travel to and from Divination Class!
Although this staircase is not part of a ‘normal’ St Paul’s Cathedral visit, you can take a guided tour in order to experience the magic.
Here is a St Paul’s Cathedral Harry Potter guide and how to visit the Hogwarts Divination Staircase.
Introducing St Paul’s Cathedral in London
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in the country and its huge white dome is an iconic piece of the London skyline over the River Thames.
But, did you know that it had its humble beginnings as a small place of worship in 603 AD? The original temple on this site was dedicated to Paul the Apostle.
Unfortunately, during the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Old St Paul’s Cathedral suffered significant damage.
The redesign in the Baroque style was by Sir Christopher Wren in 1669, so what we’re seeing today is technically the new St Paul’s.
It’s held funeral services for the likes of Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Florence Nightingale, and the jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria.
It suffered significant damage during both World Wars, held the jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, and was the location for Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding!
This famous cathedral has been through many trials and tribulations but today it is still a thriving place of worship and a popular tourist attraction in London.
What is the St Paul’s Cathedral Harry Potter connection?
So, the Warner Brothers team filmed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at St Paul’s Cathedral to feature as part of Hogwarts School!
This was the spiral staircase the students took up to Professor Trelawney’s Divination classroom. But, we don’t really see it until Hermione walks off in a huff.
If you remember back to the movie, Hermione is juggling lots of classes with her time turner so she’s pretty stressed.
Then, Professor Trelawney tells her she doesn’t possess the art of Divination and something snaps.
Hermione shoves the crystal ball off the table and then storms off down the spiral staircase with Harry and Ron following after her.
It is also featured briefly in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Neville is upset following Mad-Eye Moody’s Defence Against the Dark Arts class on unforgivable curses.
If you remember, he teaches the students about the three unforgivable curses which make Neville very upset due to how his parents died.
Hermione is obviously outraged by this and says “there’s a reason why those curses are unforgivable, did you see Neville’s face?” on this staircase right next to Neville.
Mad-Eye Moody then asks an upset Neville to have a cup of tea and he wants to show him something.
All of these scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed using St Paul’s Geometric Staircase!
Of course, they put in some extra stairs and stained glass windows to make it appear more Hogwarts-y for the movies. But, it really didn’t change much for the production.
How to Visit St Paul’s Cathedral Geometric Staircase
So, if you wanted to visit this magical staircase from Hogwarts, you first must visit St Paul’s Cathedral which is in central London.
St Paul’s address is St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD. Click here for a Google Pin!
The closest tube stations are St Paul’s, Bank, and Mansion House. It’s then just a quick walk away.
Alternatively, you’ll find this cathedral opposite the Millennium Bridge if you’re walking down the River Thames. This is another Harry Potter filming location where the Death Eaters Destroy London.
It’s free to attend cathedral services at St Paul’s but if you wanted to explore the building you need to pay for a sightseeing ticket.
A standard ticket for the cathedral is £18 for adults if bought in advance online and £7.70 for children.
It’s not the cheapest attraction but you can buy an ‘annual pass’ for the same price that will allow you entry for an entire year. So, I would definitely choose this option if you plan on visiting again.
As before, the St Paul’s Cathedral geometric staircase is not included in a standard entry ticket price.
In order to see the Hogwarts spiral staircase, you’ll need to book onto a Public Trioforum Tour which is £10 extra.
These tours only run on select dates so make sure to check if a tour will be running that day before you book!
Alternatively, you could join one of their free Cathedral Floor and Crypt tours or ‘Geometric Staircase Introductory talks’ which allow you to see the bottom of the staircase for a few minutes.
Personally, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, would book the guided Triforium Tour as you can then see down the staircase which was the filming location in the movies.
Click here to buy your tickets to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Trioforum Tour!
Visiting the Hogwarts Divination Staircase!
Just looking down this spiral staircase with the glass windows and lamps felt like I was in the Wizarding World.
But, it felt surreal to be walking up and down this spiral staircase. It honestly felt like I was on my way to a Defence Against the Dark Arts class at Hogwarts.
There are plenty of locations around the UK where you can visit where they filmed Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movies but this one at St Paul’s Cathedral felt very special as it’s located in a private part of the cathedral.
I would highly recommend booking a Trioforum tour if you’re a Potterhead as this was such a magical experience.
Other things to do in St Paul’s Cathedral
So, beyond chasing Harry Potter filming locations that make you feel like you’re attending Hogwarts school, what else is there to do at St Paul’s Cathedral?
Well, as you’ve paid for a ticket, it’s well worth spending at least an hour or two exploring this famous cathedral in London.
It’s massive and there are lots to see and do. Here are the best things to do in St Paul’s Cathedral London!
Explore St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral architecture is gorgeous from the outside but the inside will honestly take your breath away!
As soon as you walk inside, you’ll find the chapels of St Dunstan and St Michael & St George on either side of you.
Then, you’ll walk towards the Nave which is outstanding. It’s decorated with statues, murals, lanterns, gravestones and chandeliers.
Look out for the Wellington Monument on your left! Walk past The Middlesex Chapel until you reach the Dome Altar.
This Dome Altar has some wonderful gold murals painted on top so don’t forget to look up. You’ll also see the Grand Organ that plays music for services.
If you head towards the back of the cathedral, you’ll see The Quire and the High Altar. Behind the altar, you’ll find the American Memorial Chapel.
You can really take your time here and discover lots of hidden nooks and crannies. Make sure to take your time and be curious.
Climb the St Paul’s Cathedral dome
One of the experiences you cannot miss at St Paul’s Cathedral is climbing the staircase all the way to the top.
You’ll pass the Stone Gallery and Whispering Gallery (currently closed) to ascend the smallest Golden Gallery which is right on top of St Paul’s Cathedral dome. It’s 85 metres high.
From this viewpoint, you get to see spectacular panoramic views over the River Thames and London!
If you look around, you can see Westminster, the London Eye, The Shard, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Canary Wharf, and more.
Fair warning, this viewpoint is not easy to reach. It’s 528 steps from the cathedral floor so expect a workout on those legs! But, there are break points along the way.
Visit St Paul’s Cathedral crypt
So, you usually end your St Paul’s Cathedral tour with a stroll through their crypt which has many famous people buried down there.
You’ll find the tombs of Christopher Wren, Florence Nightingale, Lord Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington plus many famous poets, heroes, and scientists!
There’s also a small chapel down here which is very pretty with some seating provided if you wanted a quiet moment.
It was very atmospheric walking through these old tombs. Some were very elaborate with columns taking up a whole room!
St Pauls Cathedral Cafe & Gift shop
Weirdly enough just outside of the crypt, you can visit St Paul’s Cathedral café if you needed a pick-me-up which is pretty cool.
It serves up some hot drinks, cold drinks, homemade cakes, and sandwiches throughout the day. It’s very dark so it gives quite an atmosphere.
You can also visit their gift shop nearby that sells all sorts of souvenirs from St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll find guidebooks, postcards, key rings, collector’s coins, magnets you name it!
St Paul’s Cathedral opening times
St Paul’s Cathedral is open every day of the week for worship and services, but sightseeing times are a little different.
You can visit St Paul’s for a sightseeing tour from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am (10 am on Wednesdays) – 4.30 pm. The last sightseeing tour entry is at 4 pm.
On Sundays, St Paul’s is open for services only and there will be no sightseeing or guided tours.
Visit the Millennium Bridge next
When you exit St Paul’s Cathedral, if you head towards the South Transept entrance/exit, you’ll notice that the Millennium Bridge is right in front of you.
This bridge was created in the Millennium but it had a bit of a shaky start. So, that’s why it also has the nickname ‘wobbly bridge’.
This was a Harry Potter filming location in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when the Death Eaters destroy London.
It’s well worth visiting as there are many famous sights nearby including Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Click here to read my complete Harry Potter guide for the Millennium Bridge!
Looking for more Harry Potter filming locations in London?
There are plenty more locations that you can seek out if you’re a Potterhead in London! You can visit King’s Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4 and the Harry Potter Shop.
Plus, there are many Harry Potter locations in this area. You can head on to Claremont Square which was the Order of the Phoenix HQ or the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel where Ron flies his Ford Anglia!
Then, I would recommend heading over to Soho to visit. The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition is in Covent Garden nearby which is home to London’s only Butterbeer Bar.
There is also the House of MinaLima and The Cursed Child performances at the Palace Theatre. Or, you can visit some of the inspirations for Diagon Alley like Cecil Court and Goodwin’s Court.
Talking of Diagon Alley, one of my favourite locations I visited has to be Leadenhall Market. A gorgeous Victorian wonder that featured as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley.
I would then visit the River Thames to see sights like Tower Bridge, London City Hall, and Borough Market which all featured as Harry Potter filming locations.
You could go for a Harry Potter afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge and then finish the day off with immersive experiences like magical cocktails at The Cauldron.
Click here to read my complete guide on London Harry Potter locations
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Save this St Paul’s Cathedral Harry Potter post for later!
With thanks to St Paul’s Cathedral for making this happen! It was a Potterhead’s dream come true. Although I was a guest, all opinions are my own.