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Break into the forbidden Cainhurst Castle, do battle with eldritch abominations in the Upper Cathedral Ward, or uncover a secret workshop with these tips explaining how to reach all of Bloodborne’s diabolical optional areas.
The cursed city of Yharnam is a massive place to explore, but even if you finish the story it’s easy to overlook some of the entirely optional areas hidden throughout the game’s sprawling labyrinth of stairs and streets. Don’t miss out on some of the coolest locations in Bloodborne — see how to reach each area, or how to reach late-game zones much earlier than normal.
Needless to say, but there will be spoilers ahead.
If you’re looking for info on those randomized Chalice Dungeons, check out our Bloodborne chalice locations guide for all the instruction you’ll need.
Optional Areas Locations Guide
Bloodborne is an expansive game filled with strange secrets. Multiple areas are completely optional, while others can be accessed through alternate means.
How To Reach Iosefka’s Clinic (Backrooms)
The hunt begins at a lamp called 1st Floor Sickroom. From the starting room, there’s a locked door up the stairs. The backroom and majority of the clinic can’t be explored until far later.
- 1. To enter the majority of Iosefka’s Clinic, you’ll need to unlock the doors to the Forbidden Forest. Get the passphrase by defeating Vicar Amelia in the Grand Cathedral and interacting with the altar.
- 2. There’s a dilapidated village deep within the Forbidden Forest guarded by a mob of infected villages. From this town, find the entrance to a cavern filled with poison water. Giants guard the interior.
- 3. One of the passages in this cave leads to a massive ladder. Climb it to return to the Central Yharnam clinic. Climb to the rooftops in this courtyard to find a way back into Iosefka’s Clinic.
The creepy clinic is home to several strange encounters, including the owner at the top floor. To make her friendly, return wearing white Elite Church robes found in the Upper Cathedral Ward.
How To Reach Yahar’gul, Unseen Village (Early)
The terrifying unseen village is guarded by deadly kidnappers. This area becomes a required location later in the story, but unlucky Hunters can arrive much earlier.
- 1. From the Cathedral Ward, take the stairs down near Alfred’s location to reach Old Yharnam. Dodge the dangerous Gatling Gunner and travel deeper into the city.
- 2. At the bottom of Old Yharnam, you’ll find a burnt-out church guarded by the Blood-Starved Beast. Defeat it, then return to the Cathedral Ward lamp.
- 3. The area outside of Oedon Chapel is now patrolled by kidnapper enemies with a bag over one shoulder. Allow one of these creatures to kill you, and you’ll spawn in Hypogean Gaol.
- 4. Leave the cages and move upstairs to the church. There’s a lamp next to the altar, allowing for easy return trips.
There are benefits to exploring the village early. The Gatling Gunner in Old Yharnam can be encountered on friendly terms if the Hunter defeats Darkbeast Paarl in Yahar’gul. Twin Blood Stone Shards can be farmed from kidnappers here, allowing early weapon fortifications.
How To Reach Abandoned Old Workshop
This strange location is completely optional but contains a unique item required for the secret third ending.
- 1. Start at the Cathedral Ward lamp and enter the doors to the right. This path opens after defeating the Blood-Starved Beast in Old Yharnam.
- 2. The elevator leads up to the Healing Church Workshop. Instead of going up, go to the right of the door and drop down. The door below leads into a massive tower hole filled with wooden scaffolds.
- 3. On the first bridge, cross over and fall to a lower platform on the left. Turn around and look down. There are more ledges below, but if you look carefully you can spot a lone door built into the side of the tower.
- 4. Drop onto a third platform. This is where you’ll need to make a running jump to the Old Workshop entrance. Give yourself plenty of room, then run directly toward the corner of the platform. Line yourself up with the doors below and it’s possible to make this dangerous jump.
The Hunter’s Dream looks exactly like the abandoned area. Don’t miss the “One Third of Umbilical Cord” — collect three and consume them to fight the Moon Presence at the end of the game.
Learn more about the secret ending with our Bloodborne: Third Ending & Extra Boss Guide.
How To Reach Nightmare Frontier (Early)
The mind-bending Nightmare Frontier is normally found after the One Reborn boss in Yahar’gul, Unseen Village. That means you won’t be able to access it until right around the time you’re entering the Nightmare of Mensis.
Instead of waiting that long, it’s possible to explore the Nightmare Frontier after defeating Vicar Amelia and opening the doors to the Forbidden Forest.
- 1. After Vicar Amelia is defeated, get the passphrase from the alter and enter the Forbidden Forest. You must enter the forest to trigger the next event.
- 2. Return to the Grand Cathedral Lamp, then follow the path to the left of the entrance while leaving. It leads to a plaza guarded by two Hunters. Kill them, then speak with the NPCs at the red lantern doors.
- 3. The NPCs are replaced with a strange voice. Agree with whatever he says and take the Tonsil Stone key item.
- 4. With the Tonsil Stone in your inventory, continue deeper down this path. Eventually you’ll find a chapel past several axe-wielding monsters.
- 5. A blue light passes by the exit doors. Step into it and a giant monster will grab your hunter. Instead of killing him, it teleports you into the Lecture Hall 1F.
The Nightmare Frontier is found through the double doors at the end of the Lecture Hall 1F. There’s a ladder that can be lowered on the second floor that connect the two lamps.
How To Reach Cainhurst Castle
The fearful castle is home to all sorts of haunted horrors, including some of the most elaborate and spooky locations in Bloodborne.
- 1. To reach Cainhurst Castle, you’ll first need the Cainhurst Summons item. This unique Key Item is located in the starting 1st Floor Sick Room area.
- 2. Follow the instructions listed above to enter “Iosefka’s Clinic” then open the locked shortcut door and return to the starting room. The item is found next to a frightening cosmos creature.
- 3. Next, return to the monument field down the hill from the Witch of Hemwick’s boss lair in Hemwick Charnel Lane. It’s the same area guarded by heavy axe-wielding executioners.
- 4. A stagecouch is waiting for you. Interact with it and you’ll arrive outside the forbidden castle.
While in Cainhurst Castle, don’t miss out on the Vileblood Queen. Defeat Martyr Logarious to collect his unique crown, then wear it in the arena to reveal one more secret chamber.
How To Reach Upper Cathedral Ward
The Upper Cathedral Ward is home to the church elite, the seat of power, and the birthplace of the secretive Choir. It’s also where you’ll find two terrifying optional bosses.
- 1. The Upper Cathedral Ward is accessed at the top of the Healing Church Workshop. The Workshop can be explored after defeating the Blood-Starved Beast in Old Yharnam. The doors to the right of the Cathedral Ward lamp will open once it is killed.
- 2. To get the Upper Cathedral Ward key, reach the Yahar’gul Chapel lamp. The Unseen Village doors open once you slaughter Rom, the Vacuous Spider in Byrgenwerth.
- 3. From this lamp, back-track up the stairs and stick to the left railing. Dodge Amygdala’s laser and drop through the broken section of railing.
- 4. Enter the door into a dark interior, then fall into the cage in the center. The key is located on the corpse.
- 5. Return to the top floor of the Healing Church Workshop to unlock the double doors and gain access to the Upper Cathedral Ward lamp.
After defeating the Celestial Emissary in the strange garden, attack the windows to create a path into the Grand Cathedral’s upper levels. There’s an elevator back here that leads to another boss battle you won’t want to miss.
Kevin Thielenhaus is a freelance writer for The Escapist. Find him on Twitter here.