Harry Potter’s Hogwarts at Durham Cathedral
Harry Potter fans can live out their wildest dreams and walk the halls of Hogwarts at the historic Durham Cathedral in Northern England. This centuries old sacred space can be caught in many of the scenes from the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chambers of Secrets films.
Visit the hallway Dobby was freed in, get a peek into Professor McGonagall’s classroom and search for the entrance to the headmaster’s office during your Harry Potter tour of Durham Cathedral.
Durham Cathedral Harry Potter Locations
Filming of Harry Potter at Durham Cathedral took place at three spots within the historic space: the Cloisters, the Cloisters Courtyard and the Chapter House.
Durham Cathedral Cloister Hallways
The Durham Cathedral Cloisters were no stranger to the Harry Potter films. You’ll catch glances of these 12th century hallways throughout the first two Harry Potter movies.
Its connection to Hogwarts, though, is not the only educational tie that these cloisters have. Historically, the Durham Cathedral Cloisters would have been divided by the monks into studies where each of the residents would have their own space to read and study.
Today, you can visit the cloisters for free. When you enter the main area of the Cathedral, bear right and follow the hallway to the cloisters. There’s typically signs pointing along the way.
Harry Potter Scenes at Durham Cathedral Cloister Hallways:
- In Sorcerers Stone, you can see Harry and Ron running through the cloister hallways late to their first lesson with Professor McGonagall. The classroom they enter is also filmed in Durham Cathedral (see Chapter House below).
- In Sorcerers Stone, Harry and Ron discuss Harry become seeker of the Gryffindor team while walking through the Cathedral hallways.
- In Chamber of Secrets, the Gryffindor team walk through the hallway as Wood discusses his plans for the new year.
- In Chamber of Secrets, Harry, Ron and Hermione speculate that Malfoy might be the heir of Slytherin after McGonagall’s lecture on the legend of the Chamber of Secrets.
- In Chamber of Secrets, Harry finds petrified Nearly Headless Nick and Justin Finch-Fletchley.
- The entrance to Dumbledore’s Office is through the end of one of the hallways in the Durham Cloisters. The actual office set is at the Warner Brother Studios outside London.
- In Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy mistakenly frees everyone’s favorite house elf, Dobby, with Harry’s sock. He then has the overreaction of a century when he starts muttering the killing curse to use on Harry.
Durham Cathedral Cloisters Courtyard
At the very heart of the Cloisters stands a beautiful, lushly green courtyard. This courtyard also made its way onto the silver screen in the first two Harry Potter movies.
Durham Cathedral does not allow visitors into the courtyard area in order to preserve the grounds, however you can get panoramic views of the space from within every vantage point from the cloisters themselves.
Harry Potter Scenes at Durham Cathedral Cloisters Courtyard
- In Sorcerer’s Stone, Ron and Harry are discussing Harry making the quidditch team when Hermione runs up to comfort him by telling him “it’s in his blood.”
- In Chamber of Secrets, Ron tries to curse Malfoy to “eat slugs,” but the spell backfires and Ron starts throwing up slugs instead.
- In Chamber of Secrets, Harry, Ron and Hermione discuss the possibility that Hagrid might actually be the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets after Tom Riddle shows Harry the scene from his diary.
The Chapter House in Durham Cathedral played the part of classroom to one of Hogwarts’ favorite teachers – Professor McGonagall. When you first enter the cloisters and continue straight, there’s a big pair of doors that open up to this special space.
Historically, the monks of the Cathedral performed their daily duties within the walls of the Chapter House. They would start the day by reading out a chapter from the Rule of St. Benedict. This tradition provided the namesake to this room.
Unfortunately, the Chapter House is not formally open to the public like many other areas of Durham Cathedral are. There are special events that the Cathedral hosts from time to time that allow access. Alternatively, you can contact the Cathedral ahead of your visit to arrange for a tour. These tours are not always guaranteed, subject to availability, and come at an additional cost.
Harry Potter Scenes at Durham Cathedral Chapter House
- In Sorcerer’s Stone, McGonagall chastizes a late Potter and Weasley for not making it to class on time.
- In Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry, Hermione and Ron run to McGonagall’s classroom to look for Dumbledore so they can warn him about someone trying to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- In Chamber of Secrets, McGonagall tells the students about the Chamber of Secrets legend.
Tips for Visiting Durham Cathedral
How to Get to Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral stands tall in the center of the northern England town of Durham. For travelers, the easiest way to get to Durham is via train. Most train lines that run in Northeastern England pass through Durham on their way to Edinburgh or on their way back down south. From the train station, Durham Cathedral is only a 15 minute walk.
If you’re staying in York, the train ride to Durham takes only 40 minutes. P.S. There’s plenty of Harry Potter things to see in York as well!
If you’re staying in Newcastle, the train ride to Durham takes only 30 minutes.
If you’re staying in Edinburgh, the train ride to Durham takes 2 hours.
If you plan on driving to Durham, the town sits off the A1, A691 or the A167.
Durham Cathedral Cost
It’s free to visit Durham Cathedrals, though donations are welcomed.
If you wish to take a tour, you’ll need to pay £5 per person or £2.50 for children. Tours run Monday to Saturday at 10:30am, 11:00am and 2:00pm. For more information, visit the Durham Cathedral website.
Contact the Cathedral ahead of time if you’re looking to get a look inside the Chapter House. Tours are not guaranteed, but are more likely if you try to book in advance.