London in Film
Have you ever watched a movie and fallen in love with where it took place? I know that I sure have! It is also so lovely to watch films set in familiar places you know and love. Seeing a familiar stretch of road or my favorite iconic buildings always makes me smile. London in particular is the setting for a number of films that we all know and love. Movies have such a powerful effect on our imagination and no doubt they have influenced many people by inspiring them to travel to their favorite movie or television locations.
If London is on your travel bucket list be sure to check out these movies to get you and your travel companion in the mood. Trying to convince a group of friends to go with you? These movies will help!
What’s your favorite movie set in London? Comment below. Ps. Mine is a toss-up between A Fish Called Wanda and the Kings Speech...or maybe its Darkest Hour...
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Floppy-haired Charles (Hugh Grant) is looking for The One in Richard Curtis’s sweet, soppy movie. The capital provides a picture-perfect backdrop as Grant and his band of twenty-something aristo Londoners date, flirt and consider settling for sub-standard partners in an effort to get down the aisle. Proof that spending every sunny Saturday at a friend’s wedding is not a modern affliction.
London location: Charles lives (and has that romantic, rainy reunion) on Highbury Terrace in Highbury Fields, the lucky sod. He also wanders along the South Bank and has a matrimonial meltdown at Smithfield’s St Bartholomew the Great.
A Fish Called Wanda
John Cleese hauled Ealing comedy legend Charles Crichton out of retirement to co-write and direct this acid-tongued shout-out to the classic comedy crime caper. Cleese plays a barrister swept up in a robbery plot; Michael Palin outraged stutterers worldwide as an animal-loving getaway driver; and two Yanks, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Kevin Kline offer scathing observations on British life.
Only in London: The iconic scene where Kline dangles Cleese out of a window was shot at New Concordia Wharf in Bermondsey.
It’s from the same makers as Love Actually, but Notting Hill is a funny, light-hearted fantasy romance that has its tongue pressed in its cheek just about enough.
Only In London: Notting Hill is one of London’s most multicultural hot spots, and the area looks the best it ever has – though Portobello Road is where you’ll find Grant’s bookshop.
Bridget Jones Diary
Renée Zellweger stars as the perpetually-single Bridget in this canny update of Pride & Prejudice.
Only In London: Visit Borough Market and you’ll easily spot Bridget’s little flat near the pub, not to mention the restaurant that's the setting for Firth and Grant's hilarious dust-up.
Bend It Like Beckham
Two 18-year-old girls aspire to become professional football players in Gurinder Chadha’s gentle comedy.
Only In London: Chadha captures the city’s cultural diversity beautifully as Parminder Nagra rebels against her orthodox Sikh upbringing – with Hounslow providing the perfect suburban backdrop.
Carol Reed’s classic musical in which young orphan Oliver (Mark Lester) falls in with a gang of street urchins who’ve been trained as pickpockets.
Only In London: The city’s a smoggy place filled with danger in this movie adaptation of Dickens’ novel – you definitely believe somebody like Fagin could live here.
Eight films adapted from JK Rowling’s bestselling book series, with Daniel Radcliffe as the lightning-scarred boy wizard.
Only In London: Sad to say, Diagon Alley doesn’t actually exist in our beloved capital. That doesn’t stop Columbus, Yates et al from lavishing the city with adoring screen time, whether it’s the Millennium Bridge getting destroyed in Half-Blood Prince or those gorgeous over-city shots in Phoenix. And, of course, there’s King’s Cross station…
The Bourne Ultimatum
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his hunt for answers while dodging the CIA.
Only In London: Waterloo Station is a battlefield at the best of times, but it becomes a hustle-bustle setting for a fantastically tense action scene in Damon’s last Bourne film, as he attempts to protect Paddy Considine’s journalist.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Joyous musical romp starring Julie Andrews as the titular nanny, who’s hired to look after two very unhappy children.
Only In London: This is London as envisioned by Walt Disney Pictures, where everybody’s smartly dressed, the townhouses are towering and gorgeous, and there’s not so much as a single dog turd in the parks.
The King's Speech
Oscar-nabbing historical drama starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who struggles with a debilitating stammer in the midst of one of the most trying times in history. Faced with the immense threat of Nazi Germany and a crown he had never intended or hoped to have, Firth expertly and compassionately portrays the struggles of George VI.
Only In London: Geoffrey Rush’s Harley Street practice should look familiar – it’s Georgian townhouse 33 Portland Place, a popular location used in everything from Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ video to The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.
A 1998 British-American romantic drama film written and directed by Peter Howitt and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, while also featuring John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Virginia McKenna. The film alternates between two parallel universes, based on the two paths the central character's life could take depending on whether she catches a train, and causing different outcomes in her life.
Only In London: The bridge featured is the Albert Bridge between Battersea and Chelsea. The late-night scene when Paltrow and Hannah walk down the street was filmed in Primrose Gardens (formerly Stanley Gardens) in Belsize Park.
Ready to head to London? I’d love to help you plan that trip for you and the people you care most about. Reach out and contact me today to get started!