Our fair city has had its fair share of screen time and we’re not at all surprised – if you haven’t noticed, it looks pretty good on camera. Chances are you’ve watched at least five of these films (if you haven’t, who even are you?) but the real question is, how many of these London filming locations have you actually visited? Time for a spot of set-jetting!
1. Love Actually
Of course we had to start with this one! If you head to Gabriel’s Wharf and sit on the bench directly in front of The Wharf restaurant, you’ll be sat in the exact same spot as Daniel and Sam when they talk about the ‘total agony of being in love’. Though the scene isn’t totally accurate (they ‘moved’ St. Paul’s Cathedral to make it appear nearer), it’s still a perfect place to go and sit if you’re feeling agonisingly in love with someone who doesn’t even know your name (it happens to the best of us, Sam).
Over in Notting Hill (we’ll get to that particular film later), you’ll find the location of one of the film’s most iconic moments. Andrew Lincoln declaring his love for Keira Knightley via oversized flash cards may not have aged well – NOT OK ANDREW – but nevertheless, if you want to stand in the same place, head to St. Luke’s Mews. That hot pink house is the very one used for filming the now-contentious scene and is arguably one of the most famous filming locations in town.
You can also visit Selfridges on Bond Street, where Alan Rickman tries to buy a necklace from Rowan Atkinson. And of course you could visit Heathrow airport where the famous opening and closing scenes are filmed, but a trip to Heathrow isn’t recommended unless you actually have a plane to catch, or somebody to go and meet. If that is the case though, make sure you do it in true Love Actually style!
2. Harry Potter
If you’re potty about Potter, London is full of magical places for you to visit and plenty of filming locations too. Of course there’s platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, but you already know that. Aside from posing in front of a brick wall, there are tons of other Pottery locations you can visit: the beautiful Leadenhall Market, which is the location they used for Diagon Alley; the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron, which is now an opticians in Bull’s Head Passage; Australia House, where they filmed the interior of Gringotts (though sadly you can only see it from the outside because the goblins won’t let you in); and, of course, London Zoo’s reptile house, if you fancy practising your parseltongue.
3. Four Weddings And A Funeral
Hugh Grant, floppy hair, befuddled expression. It has to be a 90s London rom-com, right? In Four Weddings And A Funeral, you can catch him running along the South Bank, snogging Andie MacDowell outside his flat at 22 Highbury Terrace, or getting cold feet at Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great (named St Julian’s in the film) in Smithfield. Further out, you and your beau can recreate Charles and Carrie’s first night together at the far end of the Metropolitan line – Amersham is home to both The Kings Arms and the Crown Hotel, which combine to make ‘The Lucky Boatman’ in the film.
4. Shaun of The Dead
Unfortunately you can’t head to The Winchester for a nice cold pint, because it’s no longer there. The old Duke of Albany in New Cross, which filled in for Shaun’s favourite pub in the film, has since been shut down and turned into flats. However, other spots from the film are still dotted around London, mainly in the Crouch End and Finchley areas: Broadway Fruiterers in Crouch End, the place where Shaun bought his mum some flowers; the local supermarket, Landis, which is actually an Asda in Park Royal; Foree Electronics where Shaun used to work, which is actually Garland Electronics in North Finchley; and Weston Park Grocery Store in Crouch End, which is where Shaun starts to notice bizarre headlines in the newspapers.
5. A Clockwork Orange
Despite everyone in the film having northern accents, A Clockwork Orange was mostly filmed in London. Thamesmead, the grim housing estate where Alex DeLarge lived, is worth the trip if you’re a fan of the film, or even if you’re just a fan of really bleak and brutalist architecture (it also featured as a set for TV show Misfits). Meanwhile, the Kings Road branch of McDonald’s was, in a former life, the setting for the scene in which Alex picks up two girls in the record store. The subway in the opening scene of the film, where the droogs attack the old tramp, can also be found over in Wandsworth. So, you know, whenever you fancy a really weird day out head to one of these filming locations…
6. Les Miserables
Though supposedly set in France, Les Miserables was actually filmed in the UK for the most part. Passed off as Paris in the movie, the Old Royal Naval College is where Lamarque’s funeral procession was held. The Greenwich location has been a very popular movie set and has featured in a range of films, including the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. France and the Caribbean? Quite the chameleon, this entry on this filming locations in London roundup.
7. Notting Hill
The famous blue door, which leads to the home of William Thacker aka Hugh Grant, can be found at 280 Westbourne Park Road. For a while the door was painted black because the owners didn’t like the attention their house was getting (I mean, who can really blame them?). However the door is now blue again, much to the pleasure of avid Notting Hill fans.
The Travel Book Company that William Thacker owned on Portobello Road never actually existed, but is now a souvenir shop called ‘Notting Hill’ (obviously…). There was a Travel Bookshop just off of Portobello Road, which William’s store in the film was based on, but it closed in 2011. Another bookshop took its place though and is called The Notting Hill Bookshop (again, obviously…). You can find it at 13 Blenheim Crescent.
Of course, there are plenty of other locations around London which feature in the well loved rom-com, including the Ritz hotel, where William manages to disguise himself as a Horse and Hound reporter. Up north, in Hampstead Heath, you can also visit the movie set within the movie set. Kenwood House is a hidden gem which is definitely worth a visit, even if you aren’t a Notting Hill fan – not that such a person exists, of course.
8. 28 Days Later
Pretty much a where’s where of famous London spots, is this one. Cillian Murphy, having awoken from his conveniently-timed coma, wanders across Westminster Bridge, past the Houses of Parliament, through Whitehall, up the Mall, into the City of London, back to Tottenham Court Road, to the statue of Eros, and on to Canary Wharf station. Phew!
9. A Hard Day’s Night
For this joyous romp through a day in the life of The Beatles, the film makers got pretty creative with Marylebone Station, which features both as itself and Liverpool Lime Street station – a very short train ride indeed! Elsewhere, chase sequences were filmed around Notting Hill Gate, whilst Ringo’s solo adventure is a meandering one which takes him to Lancaster Road, the Putney Towpath, and the Turk’s Head pub in Twickenham.
10. A Fish Called Wanda
Maida Vale is your first stop for dark comedy A Fish Called Wanda, for Michael Palin’s house is Aubrey House, on Maida Avenue. Many of the getaway scenes were filmed around Clerkenwell, whilst Mrs Coady’s house is at 69 Onslow Gardens in South Kensington. And finally, if it’s seduction you’re after, John Cleese’s character borrowed one of the luxury flats at New Concordia Wharf to impress Wanda – let’s hope you have more luck than he did…
11. An American Werewolf in London
You may not be fond of Tottenham Court Road station, but at least you’ve never been chased through it after dark by a bloodthirsty werewolf. Other featured locations include 64 Coleherne Road, where Daivd undergoes his transformation, and GAP on Piccadilly Circus, which was once the soft porn theatre known as Eros Cinema. Fun fact for you next time you go shopping there! It also recently feature in Luther: The Fallen Sun.
He’s named after the station, and even has a statue inside it, but Paddington isn’t the only train station to appear in Paddington. Marylebone makes another appearance on this list, standing in for the station frontage (as Paddington’s isn’t actually all that nice). Away from rail termini, you’ll find the Brown’s home on the very pretty Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill, whilst their local station ‘Westbourne Oak’ is actually a composite of Maida Vale and Little Venice, St. John’s Wood, and the disused Jubilee line site in Charing Cross (which has also seen screen time in Skyfall, to name just one other example). Finally, Gruber’s antique store is better known as Insta-friendly Alice’s Antiques on Portobello Road.
13. Withnail & I
Sadly, most of the iconic London locations from this cult classic have been demolished over the years, including the ‘Mother Black Cap’ pub which stood on Tavistock Crescent in Notting Hill. However, its inspiration – Camden’s Black Cap and Mother Red Cap – is now The World’s End, which works nicely both for “Two large gins. Two pints of cider. Ice in the cider” and a cheeky trip to Underworld. Additionally, you can find Uncle Monty’s house at 35 Glebe Place in Chelsea and various other filming locations nearby.
14. Bridget Jones’ Diary
The film zips all over town – and across the country, too – but most of the intrigue for film fans lies in Borough. Bridget’s flat is located above The Globe pub on Bedale Street, just around the corner from Borough Market. Depressing fact for you: it would have cost her roughly £190,000 when the film was released in 2001, but by 2016, estimates for a one-bedroom flat in the area had risen to £650,000. Now let’s face it – it’ll be over a mill. Fun!
Elsewhere in the area, you’ll find Daniel Cleaver’s flat on Clink Street, and the couple share their first kiss in Shad Thames (once known as the larder of London for all the food that was stored here). For Bridget and Mark’s first kiss, meanwhile, you’ll want to head to the Royal Exchange Buildings, opposite the Bank of England. We can’t guarantee the snow, though.
Double Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger arguably gave one of the best performances I’ve ever seen as the iconic Judy Garland in Judy. It was so good in fact that she bagged herself one of those aforementioned Oscars. The film itself was almost entirely filmed in and around the capital, with the stage door of the Noël Coward Theatre and the art deco interior of the Grade II-listed Banking Hall both featuring prominently.
Perhaps the filming location most used throughout the 2019 flick though is the Hackney Empire on Mare Street, which stands in as a replica to the famous London Hippodrome (now the casino) as it was in the Sixties.
16. The Bourne Ultimatum
Undoubtedly one of the best action series of all time, The Bourne Series has been filmed everywhere from Goa to Berlin and Madrid to Tangier in Morocco. The third instalment though was also filmed in our beloved London Town, with one incredible sequence where (spoiler alert), Paddy Considine’s character is shot in the head in Waterloo Station.
Other spots featured in the film include Hatton Garden, Charing Cross, Lower Marsh and even the five-star hotel Rosewood London.
17. V For Vendetta
Now if you haven’t heard of V For Vendetta, then you must have been living under a rock for almost 20 years. Based on a graphic novel by acclaimed writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd, it follows a freedom fighter who uses terrorist tactics to fight an oppressive society in a futuristic and totalitarian Britain.
Though much of the film was shot on sound stages, the scenes that took place in the abandoned London Underground were filmed at the disused Aldwych tube station, and for the final scene based at Westminster, the area from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall up to Parliament and Big Ben had to be closed for three nights from midnight until 5 am. This was the first time that this security-sensitive area had ever been closed for filming, so it’s a pretty special one!
18. James Bond (Skyfall, Spectre and No Time To Die)
Now who doesn’t love a Bond movie? After all, they’re pretty much ingrained into British culture as he’s a literary treasure, and it’s no surprise that the capital has been featured in pretty much all of them. While there are far too many locations here to mention in all 25 of them (and counting), filming locations of choice include the National Gallery in Skyfall, where 007 meets Q, and 1 Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill, W11 (AKA Bond’s flat in Spectre).
In the most recent flick, 2021’s No Time To Die, Bond met M (Ralph Fiennes) just outside the Rutland Arms on the lower mall adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge – why not see if they can rustle you up martini afterwards?
19. About A Boy
About A Boy made waves on its release back in 2002 with both critics and punters alike. Starring Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz and a young, bowl cut-wearing Nicholas Hoult, it follows a rich, child-free and irresponsible Londoner (Grant) in his thirties who invents an imaginary son (Hoult) on his quest to find single women.
Obviously being based in London, there are plenty of filming locations you might recognise in this one, but London Zoo, the BFI IMAX in Waterloo, Regent’s Park and Hakkasan Hanway Place are probably the most famous.
20. The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech swept the Oscars back in 2011, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Colin Firth. It chronicles the real life story of the future King George VI whose wife, her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, asks renowned speech therapist Lionel Logue to help cure him of his stammer.
As you can imagine with a film about the Royal Family, there are plenty of London locations used in this one. Battersea Power Station, 6 Fitzroy Square and the Royal Naval College all feature here, but perhaps the most interesting spot used in the film is 33 Portland Place W1, which doubles as the speech therapist’s office. You might recognise it, as it was also featured in Amy Winehouse’s Rehab music video – it also now is used as an exclusive party pad!
21. Run, Fat Boy, Run
2007’s Run, Fat Boy, Run was massively popular with viewers due to its likeable cast and funny gags. Londoners also might recognise plenty of spots used for filming here – Spitalfields Market, Dalston (which by the way was also used for the Britney Spears music video Criminal – who knew?) and Hampstead Heath all feature, but perhaps its most iconic location is a real East London staple.
Yep – we’re talking about Columbia Road. Famous for its signature flower market, there are numerous spots used in the film from this famous London thoroughfare, including one of our favourite pubs, The Royal Oak.
22. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Speaking of pubs, our next entry on this list of the best filming locations in London has a great couple of scenes in one classic boozer of the river. Called The Black Prince in Kennington, it was featured in the scene where lead character Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has a run-in with a bunch of local thugs led by his stepfather, as well as the car scene afterwards.
Other locations of note used throughout the 2014 blockbuster include the Alexandra Road Estate in South Hampstead, Holborn Police Station, and of course, Savile Row.
23. Spider-Man: Far from Home
A late entry to this list of filming locations in London, but for good reason. Though the action hops across Europe on Spidey’s summer break, the climactic scenes take place in London – with a memorable finale unfolding inside Tower Bridge, on their terrifying glass floor, no less. Things should be a little less intense during your visit, hopefully.
24. Sherlock Holmes
Our penultimate addition to this roundup of the best filming locations in London is another one of our literary heroes. Yep, that’s right – it’s none other than Sherlock Holmes himself. And while there have been plenty of adaptations over the years, we’re talking about the 2009 film and its sequel – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Victorian London features heavily in both, with locations including Brompton Cemetery, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Reform Club all being used throughout. St. Bartholomew The Great in Smithfield and the Freemasons’ Hall were also both seen too.
Directed by the legendary Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien, The Martian), Napoleon follows the story of Napoleon Bonaparte duh (Joaquin Phoenix) and his swift, ruthless climb to Emperor as well as his volatile relationship with his wife, the Empress Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby).
And how do we know this was filmed in London we hear you ask dear reader? Well – this author (who lives local to Greenwich) saw it being filmed at the Old Royal Naval College on his lunchtime run. Through watching the film, I can confirm that it was most likely the scene where poor old Marie Anoinette loses her noggin’ to the guillotine in the French Revolution in Paris.
So there you have it – a roundup of filming locations in London you really can’t miss. From Napoleon to The Bourne Ultimatum, there are a whole host of big blockbusters which have been shot here. See if you can spot your favourite scenes!
Also published on Medium.