Gloucester Cathedral is one of the many Harry Potter filming locations in the UK. When I was in nearby Cirencester, I jumped on the chance to visit the cathedral and see Hogwarts brought to life.
The moment you step into the cathedral and it feels almost as if you have been transported to Hogwarts itself. Walk into the cloisters, the actual site of the Harry Potter scenes, and you feel like you’re walking the halls of Hogwarts.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Harry Potter films in Gloucester Cathedral, from history to fun facts to the actual scenes from the films. I hope you enjoy this mini-guide as much as I enjoyed writing it!
A (really) brief history of the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters
The non-cinematic history of the Gloucester cathedral cloisters
Cloisters were built all over Europe to serve as a place for monks to live, worship, study, and meditate. Construction on the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters began in 1351 by Abbot Horton to replace earlier Norman cloisters on the same site. The cloisters were completed by Abbot Froucester in around 1390. Their intricate ceiling is the earliest surviving example of fan vaulting. Unusually, the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral are built to the north of the abbey – they are traditionally found on the south side.
Walking around the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, you’ll find 20 niches. These housed desks on which monks would study and copy manuscripts before the invention of the printing press. In addition, you’ll also find an area called the lavatorium, an area used by monks as a washing place.
Where did they film Harry Potter in the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters?
The Lavatorium: Where Harry and Ron hide from the troll in Harry Potter in the Sorcerer’s Stone; Where Harry hides while he overhears Snape and Malfoy discussing the Unbreakable Vow in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
South Corridor: In the Sorcerer’s Stone, the hallway the new Gryffindors walk down on their way to the Gryffindor Common Room for the first time
West End Door: The entrance door to Gryffindor common room in the Sorcerer’s Stone
West Corridor: Where Harry and Ron stand at the beginning of the Half-Blood Prince while students walk by on their way to the first classes of term
North Corridor, East Wall: Where the writing in blood appears in the Chamber of Secrets
East Corridor: The site of the flooding from Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom
Fun facts about the filming of Harry Potter in the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters
- All of the modern light switches had to be disguised under panels so they wouldn’t mistakingly appear in films
- The halos on the Biblical figures in the stained glass were covered with colored filter paper to blend in with the glass – and ensure that the cloisters looked more like Hogwarts than a church
- The tombstones on the ground throughout the cloisters were covered by roofing felt made to match the rest of the stone floor
- During the flood caused by Moaning Myrtle in the second film, the filmmakers constructed a special container to divert water from a water tank outside to the garden in the center of the cloisters so that the cloisters didn’t get damaged by water
- In the Chamber of Secrets, a duplicate wall was created for the blood-covered wall scenes so the real cloister walls weren’t defaced
- The crew created special gas-fired torches to light the cloisters that wouldn’t damage the stonework
- Before filming began, religious groups protested the filming of a movie about witchcraft in a religious building. The dean of the cathedral at the time, Nick Bury, defended the choice, calling the book series “splendid”
Harry Potter scenes at Gloucester Cathedral
Watch the clips below to see the Harry Potter scenes filmed in the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters. I shared the films in order of my favorites, not in chronological order. :)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry overhears Snape and Malfoy talking about the Unbreakable Vow. Harry hides in the lavatorium.
I love this scene because you can really see the beauty of the cloisters, with their carved walls and intricate vaults. It’s also such a strong contrast from the previous scene at Slughorn’s party.
McGonagall confronts Harry and Ron about not being in class and tells them to go to potions.
Despite just being funny (and making me a bit nostalgic for school), I like the closeup of the cloister walls shown at the beginning of the scene.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Gryffindor first years approach Gryffindor common room for the first time.
Just look how cute the little baby Gryffindors are! Unfortunately, the portrait of the Fat Lady does not reside permanently in the cloisters.
Harry and Ron run to rescue Hermione from the troll and hide in the lavatorium of the cloisters.
I love this scene because you get a rare look at the cloisters from the outside going in. And, you get a great view of the lavatorium!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I’ll be honest, this is my least favorite film of the series. However, I did enjoy watching these scenes because they take place in the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters!
Harry hears the basilisk in the walls and he, Ron, and Hermione run through the cloisters to find, “The chamber of secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir beware” written in blood on the wall.
Harry and Ron follow a flood to Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom
I love this shot of the cloisters! In addition, I think you can really appreciate the efforts the filmmakers went through to ensure that the cathedrals wouldn’t get damaged during filming. All that water and no damage to the centuries-old floors and walls is impressive!
Harry and Ron overhear the professors talking about how a student has been taken into the Chamber of Secrets
The professors roasting Lockhart is probably one of the few scenes I like in this movie. (For what it’s worth, the movie isn’t bad, I just find the basilisk really creepy!)
Tracy Stafford says
What a splendid day spent in Gloucester Cathedral for a graduation. The cathedral is incredible. The stained glass windows and architecture just stunning. We will be back for a weekend. Thank you sincerely for hosting the Hartpury graduations.