I love a good British film. From Notting Hill to Harry Potter, there are so many that either use London as a backdrop or are filmed in studios nearby; the likes of which have since opened their doors for film fanatics to explore. Here’s where to go in London to really feel like you’re in the movies.
Notting Hill is a classic Sunday afternoon movie, so by now most of us know the scenes inside out. That’s why I’d love to go on a Notting Hill tour to learn some interesting facts about the locations used in the film. Tours typically take in the key locations of Portobello Road, where you can do some shopping at the same time if you plan your visit alongside the Friday and Saturday markets. You’ll see the bookshop Hugh Grant’s character Will owned – which is actually a shoe shop – and the famous blue door that Anna (Julia Roberts) opens to the paparazzi.
Venture out a bit further and you can also visit the former Coronet cinema, where Will watched the sci-fi movie short starring Anna. There’s The Ritz where Anna famously stayed, or The Savoy Hotel where that iconic final press conference was held.
The Harry Potter series
Some of London’s most iconic locations make cameos in the Harry Potter films. St Pancras Station – where the flying Ford Anglia car is parked in the Chamber of Secrets – is actually used to depict the outside of Kings Cross station, and it’s at the latter where Platform 9 ¾ was filmed. Make a visit to Lambeth Bridge to imagine the scene where the knight bus stretches to squeeze between two double deckers in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, or download this handy map of filming locations to discover even more places to visit.
Real Harry Potter fans will want to experience amazing sets like Diagon Alley and The Great Hall, each of which promise full immersion into the wizarding world. At Warner Brothers Studio Tours near Watford, you can peer in through the window of Olivander’s Wand Shop, Weasley’s Wizards Wheezes and Quality Quidditch Supplies. There’s also the chance to see the scale models of Hogwarts that were actually used in filming.
To mark the release of Paddington Bear 2, it’s now possible to follow Paddington’s story around London for yourself. The starting point has to be Paddington Station, where he first arrives in London from Darkest Peru. Take a selfie on platform 1 underneath the clock where the Brown family find Paddington, before heading to the station’s dedicated Paddington Bear Shop.
The pretty pastel-coloured Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill is the real-life 32 Windsor Gardens, home to The Browns and Paddington up in the loft. Other pit-stops include the Natural History Museum, where the bear meets wicked Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman) in the first film. As it’s free entry, you can also stop by to see the exhibits while you’re there.
Which films do you love that are set in London? Tell me about them and the tours you’ve been on in the comments.