London looks best on the big screen, and so we’ve rounded up our favourite film locations in the capital!
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 film locations have you visited? Time for a spot of set-jetting!
(You can also catch them in this YouTube video, where we’ve taken a more in-depth look at our favourites!)
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.
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. 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…
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 spot.
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!
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, 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.
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. 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.
15. Spider-Man: Far from Home
A late entry to this list, 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.
For more movie magic, check out this artist who’s been recreating film scenes all over town.
Featured image: @oldroyalnavalcollege
Also published on Medium.