The very name Harry Potter conjures up memories of the great lad and his friends and their exciting times. But, did you know that much of the filming for the Harry Potter movies was done right here in Durham Cathedral, and close by in the North East?
Durham Cathedral’s ancient cloisters doubled as a film location for Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone back in 2001. Who can forget when, against a snowy backdrop, the cloisters became the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry magically releases Hedwig the owl from his hands. Fans of the Harry Potter stories can walk those same cloisters, and Cathedral precincts, experiencing the locations as they go, and hopefully absorbing the historical and spiritual reality of these hallowed places.
Harry Potter’s Durham and North East Connections
Harry and friends returned to Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site the following year for the Chamber of Secrets sequel, with one of the World’s favorite and most breath-taking buildings providing the backdrop. Once again providing the setting for Harry, Ron and Hermione being taught how to turn animals into water goblets.
Visitors can relive the scenes in their minds with a visit to this majestic building in one of England’s most cultural and historic cities. Several Harry Potter scenes were filmed in and around the Cathedral including classroom shots, the most notable being Professor Mc Gonigall’s classroom, plus, corridors and outdoor courtyard shots, and the lovely tranquil cloisters provided truly memorable atmospherics for the stories.
A short journey of 69 miles along the A1, North to the 12th century Alnwick Castle take us to an historic entity that is well worth a visit. The Castle played host to Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in 2001 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002. Several exterior shots of the Castle were used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films including the flying scenes, Quiddich training in the Philosopher’s Stone, and in the Flying Ford Anglia in Chamber of Secrets, as well as that of Hagrid bringing in the Christmas tree.
The University of Durham, that august body of Academics offer a course to its BA degree program ‘Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion’ to which more than seventy students have signed up. Hopefully to create great writing themselves drawing more attention and visitors to the City and County of Durham.
Such is the appeal of great creative writing, and rightly so. However, without the magnificent and majestic Durham Cathedral and the beautiful Castle at Alnwick, and the other great buildings, built into fictional tales they would be the poorer, as would our fair City and County.