SOME of the most iconic scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed at Durham Cathedral.

The cloisters featured in the first two films and the Chapter House was used as a filming location for Professor McGonagall’s memorable wizarding classroom scene.

And to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone being released in cinemas, fans are invited to don their wizarding robes and house colours to explore the cathedral and see some of those famous filming locations.

From today until Sunday, people are invited to visit the cloisters and on Saturday, November 20, between 10am and 2pm, the cathedral is also opening the Chapter House for this special occasion.

Read more: Consett transport firm Elddis gets green light for £1.5m site

Pam Hill, head of visitor experience, said: “Some of the film’s most iconic scenes were filmed here at the cathedral.

"The most obvious one to spot is probably when Harry releases Hedwig in the snow, which was filmed in the cloisters.

“Although it’s not accessible to the public, if you look up when standing in the Nave of the cathedral, you can see the Triforium, which was the setting for the Forbidden Corridor, home to Fluffy the three headed dog.”

Being a blockbuster filming location for films with such a huge following, such as Harry Potter, also encourages broader audiences to visit the cathedral.

Pam added: “It’s not uncommon to see university students with robes and wands, posing in the cloister to get the perfect selfie and we often have families with young children, dressed up as their favourite wizard taking a peek through the keyhole to the Chapter House.

“This is why we’re encouraging fans to come dressed up to celebrate 20 years of the first film.”

Being so close to Durham University, its Harry Potter Society often visits the cathedral to see the iconic filming locations and take photos to share on social media.

Martin Cafolla, secretary of Durham University’s Harry Potter Society, said: “I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter for as long as I can remember; I read the books and watched most of the films as they came out.

“So it was a great joy to learn that Durham Cathedral was a filming location – it made me (and I’m sure a lot of other people) very excited at matriculation knowing that I was walking along the very same courtyard as the actors did all those years ago (in a gown as well).”

Objects in the Cathedral’s Collections were also used as props in the films.

The inkwell which sits on Professor McGonagall’s desk in the first film was used by previous Chapter Clerks in the Cathedral’s office and her desk is also part of the Cathedral’s Collections and was used by Bishop Lightfoot in the 19th century.

The cathedral welcomes a diverse range of visitors through our doors and the Harry Potter connections are just one of the many reasons people visit.

And the more people that visit, the more donations that are made to support Durham Cathedral and provide a sustainable future for the cathedral and its buildings.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, said: “Durham Cathedral has been a place of welcome, worship and hospitality for almost one thousand years.

“We welcome hundreds of thousands visitors to the cathedral each year, many of whom visit as pilgrims and worshippers.

“As the Cathedral is part of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site we also welcome visitors of all faiths and none, who visit to explore this magnificent building and discover its rich history and heritage.

“Being featured as a filming location for the first and second films, the Harry Potter films are part of Durham Cathedral’s heritage.

"Marking the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone will encourage a new generation to visit Durham Cathedral and discover its spiritual, architectural and historical significance.

“With prayers every hour and three services a day, we welcome everyone as a visitor and hope that they leave as a pilgrim.”

For more information visit

Durham Cathedral is a member of Culture Durham, the partnership spearheading County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.

Durham University Harry Potter Society visit Durham Cathedral for the 20th anniversary of the first film

Durham University Harry Potter Society visit Durham Cathedral for the 20th anniversary of the first film


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.



For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.



Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054.