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24 September 2014

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Gloucester's Harry Potter trail in detail
The Harry Potter trail at Gloucester Cathedral
Is that Harry? The trail begins in the West Walk of the cathedral's historic cloisters

From Gloucester Cathedral to Hogwart’s – find out exactly how Warner Brothers created the movie magic of the Harry Potter films . . .


Cathedral staff and visitors talk about Gloucester's Harry Potter trail

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See Also

The Harry Potter tour - PHOTO GALLERY

We put YOU in the picture at Hogwart's!

Harry Potter in Gloucestershire

Miranda wins a trip to Hogwarts

The kids who starred with Harry Potter

Gloucester Cathedral

Harry Potter at Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire



Internet Links

Bloomsbury Publishing - publisher of Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Mugglenet - Harry Potter fansite



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Fact File

red arrow Gloucestershire has probably the closest links of any county with the Harry Potter phenomenon.

red arrowJK Rowling was born in the county and went to school in the Forest of Dean. Not for nothing are Harry's horrible adoptive family called the Dursleys - Dursley is a Gloucestershire town.

red arrowGloucester Cathedral has appeared in two Harry Potter films - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

red arrowStroud-based movie magicians Snow Business created artificial snow scenes in the Harry Potter films.


Pottering in Gloucester Cathedral - a guide to spots in the Cathedral which appear in the Harry Potter films - is 50p from the Cathedral gift shop.

For more information about Gloucester Cathedral contact:
The Chapter Office
2 College Green
Gloucester GL1 2LR
Phone 01452 528095
Fax 01452 300469
Email tony.higgs@


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Gloucester’s historic cathedral cloisters were
transformed into the corridors of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the films of JK Rowling’s first two books – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

There was the strictest of security to keep out the curious world’s press while filming took place – but now some of the movie-makers’ secrets can be revealed.

BBC Gloucestershire went ‘Pottering’ in the cathedral with the Harry Potter trail guide – and found that while Harry, Hagrid, Hermione and Ron may have moved on, there are still glimpses of Hogwart’s magic if you know just where to look . . .

Let there be (hidden) lights

Hidden light-switch
Spot the hidden electrics

All modern signs, locks and electrics had to be disguised under panels painted to look like the stone walls. Can you spot the cunningly concealed electric light switches inside the East Cloister door?

Harry Potter and the Hidden Haloes

For the films anything that would give away the set as a church had to disappear. The haloes on the stained glass figures in the cloister windows were painstakingly covered with coloured plastic filter paper to blend in with the surrounding glass.

One window has figures of Adam and Eve, and because these might have been in shot in the movies, they were given clothes and even the trademark Harry Potter 'lightning flash' on their foreheads!

Harry Potter and the Buried Tombs

Stained glass windows
These figures of Adam and Eve were 'dressed' and given forehead marks like Harry's

There are nearly 100 tombstones on the cloister floors which had to be disguised during filming.

They were covered with roofing felt, which was then painted, marked, polished, varnished and made to look faded to match the rest of the stone-flagged floor.

Water Wizardry in Dark Entry

The red door in Dark Entry, at the north-eastern corner of the cloisters, was where the flood from the girls toilets was filmed.

Dark Entry doorway
The Dark Entry doorway

Water from a tanker parked in the road outside was pumped through the doorway, into a huge specially constructed container and out to a drain in the Garth (the cloister’s central garden).

Look carefully at the floor and you can still see the marks of adhesive tape that held the container in place.

Written in Blood

The wall by Dark Entry is where panelling, made in the studio to look just like the stone walling, was hung with the chilling message in ‘blood’ – really a film-maker’s magic potion – that read: The Chamber of Secrets has been opened – enemies of the heir BEWARE!

The Poltergeist’s Cut

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rik Mayall, as playful poltergiest Peeves, set all the broomsticks zooming about in the East Cloister walk.

Unfortunately the scene was one of several that ended up on the cutting room floor because the film had to be cut to a manageable length.

Troll Terror in the Lavatorium

Harry and Ron hid in the Lavatorium

The Lavatorium on the left hand side of the North walk (yes, it’s really called that – and it wasn’t the ancient Abbey monks’ loo but the place they washed) is where Harry and Ron hide from a giant troll behind the pillars.

The troll in the film is mainly computer-generated, but huge legs were used in filming to make it look more realistic – so big that there was some difficulty in getting them in through the cathedral’s massive main doors!

Harry by Gaslight

For filming the cloister walks were lit by special
gas-fired torches using a special gas that would not harm the ancient stonework.

The Gryffindor Door

As you come to the end of the West Walk the
oddly-named West Slype door is on your right. A slype is the name for a covered passage from a church or monastery cloister.

The West Slype doorway
The West Slype doorway

In the films it was made to look smaller by means of a plastic mould placed over the
real doorway, with a hinged portrait of the Fat Lady in front of it, and became the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room.

In real life steps lead down from the other side of the doorway but more film wizardry was used to make it look like the common room.

A false floor on stilts was built sloping slightly
upwards to a backlit screen with a picture of the common room – a film-making device called a translight.

Click on the links below to take our virtual Harry Potter tour and see even more of Gloucester's Hogwart's!

Photo Gallery

Photo gallery 2

Find out more about Gloucester Cathedral and the kids who starred with Harry Potter. Also see our dramatic 360° panoramic pictures of the cathedral's magnificent interior.

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