Travel UK

Travel || Durham Cathedral and Castle

Durham Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in England. It’s a World Heritage site for a very good reason: it is absolutely stunning. And for any Potterheads out there, it was also used as Hogwarts in the 1st and 2nd films!

the river wear
The River Wear
durham market
Durham Market
neptune statue durham market
Neptune Statue in Durham Market
The present cathedral was founded in 1093 AD and is one of the best preserved examples of Norman architecture in the world. For that reason it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral, unfortunately, but it is stunning and I really recommend visiting it!
 Durham Cathedral
durham cathedral and sam
ceiling in durham cathedral
 The ceiling inside Durham Cathedral.
durham cathedral
The courtyard in Durham Cathedral. I remembered this bit distinctly as one of the hallways of Hogwarts.
durham cathedral sanctuary knocker
Durham Cathedral sanctuary knocker. Supposedly you can make a wish on the knocker.

durham cathedral sanctuary knockerdurham cathedral sanctuary knocker

Durham Castle was originally built as the residence for the Bishop of Durham. The seat of the Bishop of Durham is the 4th most powerful seat in the Church of England hierarchy. The Bishop of Durham stands at the right hand of the monarch during coronations.
The castle was donated to the University of Durham and now houses students from Durham University College. Can you imagine this being your dorm? Incredible!
durham castle gates
 Durham Castle gates.
durham castle courtyard
 Durham Castle courtyard and keep.
While the Keep still looks quite traditional on the outside, inside it’s been totally renovated to become more housing for students.  And again, even though we were able to tour inside the Castle, we weren’t allowed to take any photos as it is a private residence.
sam in a quaint alley in durham
 Sam’s romantic solo stroll.
durham castle keep
I loved this little chimney puffing away with Durham Castle Keep in the background.
durham skyline at night
Durham’s nighttime skyline.
So did you recognise Hogwarts in any of these photos?


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  • I love Durham! So pretty!

    With me, it was actually the other way round… I watched the 2nd Harry Potter film and was like “that’s Durham Cathedral!”

    I’m sure I remember a time when you could take photos inside the cathedral? You couldn’t last time I went though.

    • Did it ruin the magic of Hogwarts at all to recognise it in other buildings? Durham’s beautiful! I am a big fan of the NE now ; ) xx

  • I love your photos – and that hat. Oh my – it’s adorable!
    Sarah x

  • I wondered where they filmed those scenes – somebody told me it was Cambridge!!

  • Rachel Wright

    Gorgeous photos! Gotta love Harry Potter sites 🙂

  • Fi Evans

    Great pictures! I really loved Durham when I visited a few years back, but sadly we didn’t have time to visit either the cathedral or castle. Judging from this post I need to rectify that asap!

    • They are stunning! If you do make it back but are in a rush for time again, I’d pick the Cathedral because it’s free and self-guided whereas the Castle is only by tour. Glad you really enjoyed Durham last time! x

  • carlisa creter

    Such lovely pictures!

  • I had no idea that the first movies were filmed at Durham Castle. As a major Potterhead I will definitely have to put this on my bucket list to see. Thanks for sharing!

  • New follower visiting from The link-up!! I am so excited to read more about you and check out your blog!! How fun it would be to live in a new country and learn all about its culture and history!!

    • Thank you so much! I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to live abroad. Hopefully I’ll continue to have some interesting adventures xx

  • Rachael

    Oh I have so much family history in that city. My great grandfather was sent there mysteriously as a baby to be adopted by a family and later worked within the castle. So my gran grew up right in front of the cathedral (very much like the pebble street you photographed), you can stand on the doorstep of the house and see the cathedral’s brick work, she also made it into the papers in the 1930’s when she fell into the river and there’s a bench somewhere around the cathedral dedicated to a family member that was part of the city council if I remember rightly! Because my family history is very much Durham oriented we visited there a lot.

    • Thank you so much for sharing that story with me! It’s wonderful! It would have been such a beautiful place to grow up. Have you visited your family’s bench before? I would have taken a picture of it for you if I had known! xx

  • You visit the most gorgeous places. Take me with you!

  • Love Durham cathedral! For more Potterheads, visit Gloucester catherdral that was used in the 1st, 2nd and 6th film. The cloisters are very recognisable in the films!

    • Ooohhh that’s where they did the troll scenes right?! I’ll have to add that to my Harry Potter list. I’ve already been to Alnwick which was featured as well. x

  • Foreign Geek

    What a beautiful place !! I am thinking to enrol at Uni of Durham and never graduate. If it’s good enough for Hermione it’s good enough for me.

  • Karly Kim

    HOGWARTSSSSSSSS! I’m so jealous – this is beautiful!

  • bethany

    Sooo pretty. Great pictures. I felt like I was really there!

  • Jenni @ Flying on a Rainbow

    I have the slightly unfair advantage of having been to Durham Cathedral more times than I can count, and I pass it every day. Whenever anybody come to visit, I take them to the cloisters to show them where Ron eats slugs and where Dobby is free! 🙂

    • Haha! If I lived there I’d do the same! Do people recognise it right away or do you need to point it out first? x

  • A-mazing! I like that you called it, “Sam’s Romantic Solo Stroll”. Everything about that castle is romantic and majestic. The chimney picture reminds me of the chimney sweeper in Mary Poppins..! Chim chim-i-ney, chim chim-i-ney, chim chim cherooo! Oh and did you make a wish?………

    • Haha he was on his phone and walking ahead so having been left behind I needed to turn it into an opportunity. I’m applying for some childcare jobs right now so maybe i am Marry Poppins….. x

  • Elle

    Durham Castle reminds me of my favorite castle, Windsor! And the streets are just begging to be strolled upon! Your orange hat is adorable!

    • Thank you so much! And I love Windsor! When my mom came to visit me in England, I took her to WIndsor for an afternoon and I wish we could have stayed longer! x

  • I recognised HP from the same picture you mentioned… Possibly it was a Quidditch scene? Also, I am always so jealous of uni students who have castles for dorms! It would be so cool… Although maybe a little cold at times?

    • I think so! And also from some general hall walking scenes and Ron and the slugs. I think the dorms are re-done/modernised inside the individual rooms. That being said, it’s probably still freezing! x

  • Lorna Sandison

    These are lovely photos. So many travel blogs forget that England (beyond London) has so much to offer. I think it’s great how you bring the country to life.

    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate that comment because that’s exactly what I try to do. I love London, I live there. It’s an incredible city- but that shouldn’t lessen the beauty and amazingness of the rest of the country! x

  • Beautiful!