We all love a good movie, or ‘film’ as we’d say in London, and often certain places in the world will remind us of scenes we’ve been gripped by on screen. There are hundreds of places that have been used as movie locations in London, including countless huge Hollywood blockbusters like Harry Potter and Marvel, as well as cult classics like Bridget Jones and Notting Hill. The city’s famous landmarks have been circled by helicopters in action-packed thrillers, and traditional English pubs have hosted Hollywood royalty as the setting of their character’s ‘local’. If you’re looking for a film location tour of London, check out these epic movie settings around the city.
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1. Australia House
Harry Potter (& many more)
One of the biggest film series to come out of the UK is the world’s most famous wizarding world, so it’s no surprise that a lot of inspiration for the films came from the capital. Harry Potter fans will already know where to find the main spots, like Millennium Bridge, Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station and, of course, the Harry Potter Studios just outside London in Watford. However there are tons of other cool, under-the-radar places the films were filmed. For example, did you know Gringotts Bank was filmed in Australia House? If you get the chance to sneak a peek inside, the grand hall and opulent decor will immediately have you looking for angry goblins. Check out our guide to the that are well worth a look.
2. Brent Civic Centre
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Head out west to the arches of Wembley and the Brent Civic Centre, where Iron Man took on the Hulk in that epic battle in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. On visiting the building it looks completely different on the outside (because it is), however inside is one of the most instantly recognisable film sets in the whole movie, having hardly been changed, aside from the obvious mass destruction perfected by the CGI team. Hulk vs Hulkbuster was a huge scene in the Age of Ultron movie which was actually supposed to be taking place in Johannesburg, so this set is a must-see for the major Marvel fans amongst you.
3. Charing Cross Underground Station
The Bourne Ultimatum
Londoners might find it odd that Charing Cross is the chosen film location for a great number of movies. However, the reason behind this is that part of the station which was once part of the Jubilee Line and is now closed, has been kept in tact to be rented out as a filming location (inaccessible to the public). The Bourne Ultimatum was one of the bigger blockbusters to take advantage, used to depict a scene most Londoners are partly familiar with - hurtling through a station to be greeted with doors sliding closed at the end of your nose.
4. The Travel Bookshop
Walk the cobbled streets of Notting Hill to 142 Portobello Road, where the world’s best-loved book shop is located from the star-studded movie, Notting Hill. Hugh Grant’s beloved ‘Travel Bookshop’ unfortunately never really was a bookshop in real life, rather a gift shop. However, just for all the film’s millions of fans, the shop owner decided to keep ‘The Travel Bookshop’ sign in its place from filming back in 1998. You can also go and visit the real travel bookshop that inspired the movie’s nearby on 13 Blenheim Crescent. Before you visit, make sure you rewatch that old favourite scene when Julia Roberts enters the gift shop for the first time, and Hugh goes on to muddle through a story about Turkey and kebabs.
5. The Globe Tavern
Bridget Jones’ Diary
Just a few doors down from our very own traditional pub is the one Bridget Jones lived above in everyone’s favourite romantic comedy, Bridget Jones’ Diary. Back when the movie was released in 2001, Borough Market was nowhere near the bustling foodie hub it is today and was much more peaceful, as the film suggests. The Globe Tavern is still in pride of place on the edge of the market, so you can really go there and have a drink in the place Bridget buzzes Mark Darcy into her flat from. Inside sources have hinted that the owner of the one-bed flat is considering listing the property on Airbnb…
6. Churchill War Rooms
Multi-Oscar winning movie Darkest Hour is set in 1940, during the time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was faced with the dark decision on whether to carry on fighting Hitler or sign a peace treaty. Those of you interested in history will most likely already have seen the film, but this filming location in London is a real must-visit. The Churchill War Rooms are located underground in London city centre and was the real top-secret location used by Churchill and the British armed forces to plot the route to victory during the Second World War. Darkest Hour used their own specially-made props, however the walls they filmed within were the real deal. Buy tickets to visit the Churchill War Rooms and see history for yourself.
7. Regency Cafe
This modest old English cafe, which serves a notoriously greasy but delicious full English breakfast, was the chosen setting for the scene in Rocketman portraying when Elton John and Bernie Taupin (two legendary songwriters) met for the first time. While the chairs and tables were changed to look more like the place the duo truly did meet in real life, Regency Cafe is instantly recognisable as the movie location in this true story. Pay it a visit in the heart of Westminster where you can get one of the for a fraction of the price of most others.
8. Old Royal Naval College
The architectural centrepiece of Greenwich, the Old Royal Naval College, while immediately recognisable in other films including Thor: the Dark World, was transformed into the streets of 1832 Paris for the 2012 remake of musical Les Miserables. Lamarque’s funeral procession, which breaks out into the musical’s famous ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’, Old Royal Naval College, which was cast to look like Parisian streets in the midst of the French Revolution. Watch the scene now and you’ll be able to see it’s the Greenwich landmark, but as you’re watching the film in its entirety you’re almost definitely far too engrossed in the emotion of it all to realise.
9. Highgate Cemetery
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Such an eerie scene as the battle in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald needed a location to match. Highgate Cemetery in North London was the perfect place - one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country (and well worth a visit anyway), covered in climbing vines, draping ivy and the ideal mysterious atmosphere to portray the home of the ancient wizarding Lestrange family mausoleum. Head to Highgate’s West Cemetery, up past the gravestones of some fascinating, notable people and towards the Circle of Lebanon, which is one of the cemetery’s architectural centrepieces. Here is where filming for the second Fantastic Beasts movie took place to represent what we are led to believe is Cimetière du Père-Lachaise - the largest cemetery in Paris.
10. Chalcot Crescent
The ultra-British family-favourite Paddington movies were an absolute hit from day one, so if you find yourself in London as a fan of the film yourself, why not pay the family home a visit? The bright pastel-coloured townhouses of Chalcot Crescent are the on-screen home - well, the exterior - of Paddington bear and the Brown family, located in the charming Primrose Hill area of North London. Take a walk past the house (number 30), then make the most of being in the area and walk up Primrose Hill for sweeping views over London’s skyline through the greenery.
11. Senate House, University of London
The Dark Knight & Batman Begins
Senate House has been the chosen backdrop in many films, but a couple of the location’s closest ties with the big screen are with the Batman movies, The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. Both films used Senate House for big scenes, so any big fan of the movies will see the link straight away. It was the courthouse in Batman Begins, then The Dark Knight Rises’ masquerade ball scene - both significant scenes you’ll recognise if you visit the location in person.
12. National Gallery
The National Gallery has been the chosen destination for tons of movies filmed in London, but one of the biggest blockbusters is without doubt 2012’s James Bond hit, Skyfall. It’s the scene where James Bond meets Q, and they sit and admire a painting by JMW Turner: The Fighting Temeraire. If you’re a fan of Bond films and you appreciate historic art, the National Gallery is a bucket list attraction in London, plus you can sit in the exact spot Daniel Craig did in this scene.
13. 27 St Luke’s Mews, Notting Hill
Name a more British film than the Christmas classic, Love Actually. Well, if you’re looking for the setting of that one iconic scene - we’re talking about the ‘To me, you are perfect’ scene with Keira Knightly and Andrew Lincoln - then we know just the spot. At number 27 St Luke’s Mews in the heart of London’s Notting Hill, you’ll find the exact place the character Mark knocked on the door to declare his love for his best friend’s new wife. Notting Hill’s mews’ are all some of the prettiest, most picturesque spots in London, so if you’re a fan of the film then it’s definitely worth the discovery. Just remember that people do live in these houses so remember to be respectful if you choose to take photos.
Located on Savile Row smack bang in between Piccadilly Circus, Mayfair and Soho is a very fancy-looking tailors used as the secret entryway to the underground organisation in the film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Expert spy Harry Hart (Colin Firth) guides his prodigy Eggy (Taron Egerton) through the lavish central London tailor to be lowered underground into the base for Eggy’s brutal boot camp and ‘interview’. On a stroll down Savile Row the tailor might strike you as a place a film crew might pick up, and funnily enough Huntsman really did serve as part of the inspiration behind the blockbuster. While you probably won’t be able to afford a new suit inside, if you’re a fan of the movie then pop by while you’re in the centre of town - maybe you’ll see a sneaky-looking someone walk out, you never know.
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