London 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 5 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?
1. Love Actually
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 is 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).
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 9¾s 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. Shaun of The Dead
Unfortunately you can’t head to The Winchester for a nice cold pint, because it is 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.
4. 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. The subway in the opening scene of the film, where the droogs attack the old tramp, can also be found over in Wandsworth, West London. So, you know, whenever you fancy a really weird day out…
Ps. the TV show Misfits, starring Joseph Gilgun, was also filmed at the Thamesmead estate.
5. 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 Lemarque’s funeral procession was held. The Greenwich location has been a very popular movie set and has featured in a range of films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Four Weddings And A Funeral.
6. 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 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).