What to do at the Weekend:
Explored the Harry Potter Filming Locations at Gloucester Cathedral
Anyone who reads this blog knows that we are big Harry Potter fans. So, as several Harry Potter filming locations are situated within Gloucester Cathedral, this was always going to make the travel list at some point.
Last year, we ventured over to Lacock Abbey; another site famous for its Harry Potter filming locations.
Since we enjoyed that visit so much, we wanted to write another Harry Potter-related post.
What we did at the weekend:
Visited Gloucester Cathedral
Location: Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Our rating: 7/10
Which Harry Potter Scenes Were Filmed at Gloucester Cathedral?
If you are already at Gloucester Cathedral and don’t feel like reading this post (booo), you’ll be happy to know that they have interactive screens that will tell you about all where they filmed Harry Potter scenes.
If you are staying with us, then you made the right decision 😉
Gloucester Cathedral was used as a setting in three of the eight Harry Potter films:
- The Philosopher’s Stone
- Chamber of Secrets
- and latterly, The Half-Blood Prince.
So, let’s have a look at the Harry Potter filming locations at Gloucester Cathedral.
Gloucester Cathedral Lavatorim – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter Filming Location: Harry and Ron hide from the troll
One of the most distinctive and recognisable features within Gloucester Cathedral is its Lavatorium.
Anyone who speaks a European language can probably work out that this place probably had something to do with washing.
The grooves in the stone also speak to its past use, as monks would have used this area to wash their hands before meals.
Interestingly, the Lavatorium at Gloucester is the oldest remaining Lavatorium in the United Kingdom!
Where is the Lavatorium used in the Harry Potter film?
Located in the North corridor of the cathedral, eagle-eyed viewers will recognise it from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Harry and Ron run down the corridor and hide in the Lavatorium directly after Professor Quirral’s “troll in the dungeon!” scene.
If you are re-watching the film, the scene starts at 1:09:35 and ends when the troll walks into the girls’ bathroom at 1:09:52.
Gloucester Cathedral Lavatorium – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter Filming Location: Harry overhears Snape and Malfoy
Many years later, the Harry Potter filming crew headed back to Gloucester Cathedral for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
This time, they used the Lavatorium again when we see Harry Potter overhearing a conversation between Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy about the Unbreakable Vow taken by Snape.
In short, Harry suspects that Draco Malfoy has been given a special assignment by Voldemort.
Subsequently, he tails the two Slytherins after they leave Professor Slughorn’s Christmas Party.
Harry hides in the Lavatorium and eaves drops on their conversation.
This is clearly a favourite hiding spot of his.
If you are watching the Half-Blood Prince, look out for the scene almost halfway through the film at 1:11:54.
Making it look more like Hogwarts
Again, the really eagle-eyed ones amongst you might notice that some of the stained glass windows have been changed.
This was done to hide any religious scenery.
Haloes in the window depictions were covered to make the location look more like a school than a place of worship.
The East Corridor at Gloucester Cathedral – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter Filming Location: Hogwarts Second Floor Bathroom Flooding
In the books (and film), Moaning Myrtle is wrongly blamed for flooding the girls’ bathroom on the second floor.
Turns out it was Ginny Weasley trying to dispose of Tom Riddle’s diary.
The scene in The Chamber of Secrets where Harry and Ron splash through the flooded second floor at Hogwarts, was filmed in this corridor.
This is the East Corridor and you’ll recognise it by the big red door marking the entrance.
If you’re watching the film, the scene starts at around 1:25:54.
Look out for the water damage
Interestingly, the cathedral allowed the film producers to genuinely flood this corridor, presumably for that realistic effect.
Although they created a false floor for the scene, if you look closely you can still see some evidence of water damage on the stone slabs of the corridor.
Hopefully the cathedral was well compensated for its trouble!
South Corridor at Gloucester Cathedral – Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter Filming Location: Percy Weasley leads the first year students
Like Lacock Abbey, Gloucester Cathedral is home to magnificent cloisters.
You can see why they chose these two beautiful locations for the Harry Potter films.
As you enter the cloisters from the lobby, turn to the right and this is the South Corridor.
If you are watching the Harry Potter films from the beginning, you wouldn’t have to wait very long to spot this location.
Gloucester Cathedral’s first appearance in the film appears at minute 48.51 in Harry Potter and Philosopher’s stone.
The South Corridor is where Percy Weasley leads the new Gryffindors after the Great Hall sorting ceremony.
Percy leads them to the Gryffindor Common Room door. Where the painting of the fat lady greets them.
Incidentally, the Great Hall set is located at the Warner Brothers Studios in Watford.
West Corridor at Gloucester Cathedral – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter Filming Location: Gryffindor common room door
On your left as you enter the cloisters, you’ll see a big wooden door.
This wooden door served as the entrance to the Gryffindor common room in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
After the new students are sorted into their houses, they are sent to their respective common rooms.
You might remember the scene when the painting of the fat lady (hanging on the front of said wooden door) asks Hogwarts Prefect Percy Weasley for the first password – “Caput Draconis.”
If you are re-watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, this happens at minute 48.56.
The students then enter the common room, which is located at the WB studios in London (below).
Incidentally, you may or may not know that Caput Draconis is Latin for “dragon’s head.”
This is just one of many dragon references that J.K Rowling uses throughout the book/film series.
- Hagrid’s confiscated pet dragon Norbert (or Norberta since she was female)
- The first Triwizard task
- Bill Weasley’s profession
- The dragon’s blood used by Professor Slughorn at his Budleigh Babberton hideaway.
These all spring to mind immediately.
In fact Hogwarts’ motto “Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus” translates to “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”
Surely, sound advice.
The West Corridor of Gloucester Cathedral – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter Filming Location: Professor McGonagall Suggests Potions Class to Harry
From the main entrance cross the main lobby area and turn left into the west corridor.
You’ll notice the darker slabs are horizontal and uniform in this area.
As mentioned previously, the Harry Potter cast and crew headed back to Gloucester to film sections of the Half-Blood Prince.
“I would think you’d want to fill it with Potions…”
In the next Harry Potter filming location at Gloucester Cathedral, Professor McGonnagall catches Harry and Ron having too much fun in the Hogwarts corridor during their free period.
She suggests that instead of messing around, Harry and Ron take up Professor Slughorn’s potions class.
This scene was filmed in the West Corridor of Gloucester Cathedral and can be seen at 32:04 if you are watching the film.
An important scene
It turns out to be pretty pivotal scene in the film / book in actuality.
If Harry had not taken up the Potions class, he would not have become aware of the Half-Blood Prince’s existence.
Furthermore, he probably wouldn’t have obtained the crucial memory from Slughorn.
The North Corridor (East Wall) of Gloucester Cathedral – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter Filming Location: “Enemies of the Heir Beware”
Making our way back to the North Corridor of Gloucester Cathedral we find our last Harry Potter Filming location.
When the Chamber of Secrets is opened, the famous three are confronted with an ominous message written in blood.
(Although I’ve never been able to figure out how Hermione knows the message is written in blood from about 15 feet away).
Anyway, the corridor wall reads “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.”
The East Wall of the North corridor is (sort of) the filming location for this scene.
If you are re-watching the Chamber of Secrets, the scene takes place at 43:30.
No Red Paint or Blood Allowed
What we mean is that whilst the scene was shot inside the corridor, the wall was covered with protective panelling.
The genuine stony cathedral wall was replicated to emblazon the message.
Understandably, the cathedral wasn’t prepared to have a message written in red paint (or blood) across their ancient wall.
So, for Gloucester Cathedral Management:
Flood damage, yes, yes.
Red paint, no, no.
Harry Potter Films on Netflix in 2023
We are really excited to hear that Netflix just added the whole Harry Potter film series to Netflix!
So, now you can check out all of the scenes mentioned in this post and our Lacock post for yourself!
We’ll be re-watching the films probably around 62 times over the coming months.
Other Cool Things about Gloucester Cathedral
Okay, as we are predominantly a travel blog or weekend ideas blog, it’s only right that we tell you a little bit more about Gloucester Cathedral.
To be honest, there isn’t much to do in Gloucester (being brutally blunt).
The cathedral really does provide a shining light in the dullness. Which was quite literal at the time!
We visited in January, so it was cold and pretty misty.
This might sound like a bad thing but from the outside this actually added to its mystique and aura.
We thought it looked pretty cool and very Hogwarts-looking, come to think about it.
The History of Gloucester Cathedral in a (Very Small) Nutshell
We’re sure that Gloucester Cathedral has a long and storied history.
Surely far beyond what we can fit into a couple of short paragraphs, or blog post. So apologies that we don’t cover anywhere near enough.
The cathedral has a history that spans back an incredible 1,300 years.
It was founded In 678 AD by the Anglo-Saxon prince Osric, who established a religious house there.
It later became known as Gloucester Abbey.
In the 14th century, the magnificent Great and Little cloister were constructed displaying the earliest fan vaulting anywhere in the country.
The Dissolution to Modern Day
In 1540 Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries and Gloucester Abbey was not immune.
The abbey and its surrounding buildings later became Gloucester Cathedral.
The Cathedral gained a Bishop in 1541, and this position is now occupied by The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek today.
The Tomb of King Edward II
Alongside the Harry Potter locations, Gloucester Cathedral also contains the tomb of King Edward II.
He was murdered at nearby Berkeley Castle in 1327 and his final resting place is located in the cathedral.
The tomb is pretty unmistakeable, situated on the North side of the cathedral towards the high altar.
Sculpted in stunning marble, the shrine is magnificent.
Definitely something you don’t see every day and well worth a look if you are interested in English history.
What is the Admission Cost for Gloucester Cathedral?
It’s absolutely free to enter Gloucester Cathedral!
There are however multiple opportunities to make a donation throughout the cathedral, if you are so inclined.
This is definitely one of the best free things that we have done in the first (roughly) 12 months of running our blog.
Guided Tours at Gloucester Cathedral
If you time your visit well, it’s possible to join one of the guided tours that Gloucester Cathedral has to offer.
If you want to learn about all the Harry Potter filming locations at Gloucester Cathedral from one of their experts, the Highlights Tour is the one to try.
As well as the Harry Potter-related sights, you will hear about the lives of the monks who lived at the cathedral.
Tours last around 50 minutes, Adult tickets are £6.00 and Child tickets are just £2.00.
There’s no need to book, just enquire at the welcome desk.
Harry Potter Filming Locations at the (Nearby) Forest of Dean
When we visited Gloucester in January, we were actually staying in the nearby Forest of Dean at the Speech House hotel.
Readers of the books and watchers of the films will know that the Forest of Dean crops up several times in them.
This is likely because J.K. Rowling once lived in Tutshill, a small village on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean.
So, if Gloucester Cathedral hasn’t quite scratched your Harry Potter itch, you could always venture the 15-20 miles over to the Forest of Dean.
What Film Does it Relate to?
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hermione mentions to Harry about visiting the Forest of Dean as a child.
In the film, we are shown a shot of the River Wye before Harry comes out of the tent to ask Hermione where they are.
Coppett Hill is the location you want to head for here.
Whilst it’s unknown where the exact location is, taking a walk from Coppett Hill and down to the river will pretty much get you in the right area.
More Harry Potter Content
As we mentioned above, we’re proper Potter heads and perhaps understandably, we’ve visited quite a few Harry Potter-related places.
If you want to find out other Harry Potter filming locations, the Lacock blog post is the one to check out.
We’re planning on doing more of these trips in the future, so keep an eye out for upcoming posts.
Thanks as always for reading!