A film lovers’ guide to London

guide to London

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

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.

guide to London

Paddington Bear

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.

*Collaborative

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  • I love all three of these films and definitely want to do the Harry Potter tour. I adored the studio, it would be so magical to see some of the filming sights in London too.

  • There are just too many great films set in the capital. We are up there this weekend at The Natural History Museum which has appeared in so many films (including Paddington!)

  • Chloe O’Keeffe

    Ah, I’d love to try the Harry Potter one!! I never knew there was one for Paddington- will definitely be researching more as the film is just amazing!

  • Karen Teresa Reekie

    Notting Hills is my favourite but all of these are definitely classic British and London films! Thanks for sharing!

  • Vicky

    I would definitely love to do the Notting Hill tour! I’m yet to actually watch any of the Paddington films lol. Also I nearly bought my fiancé tickets for the Harry Potter studio but he wasn’t too keen on the idea!

  • Lauren Porter

    Aw I love the idea of doing this – I haven’t been to London for so long. Would love to see the Harry Potter sites especially x

  • Helen Jacob-Lloyd

    I keep meaning to make a trip to the Notting Hill area of London because I’ve never been yet the film is my favourite 🙂

  • I love all these films. I can’t wait to see the new Paddington film.

  • Cecile Blaireau

    I love all these movies! Greta choice to represent London! Especially Notting Hill. I watched it again over Christmas and the locations are so pretty!

  • Kristine Nicole Alessandra VA

    I would love to see the location shoots in the movie Notting Hill. OMG, I so loved that movie it would be awesome to be in those places where Will and Anna were in. I would also love to sit on that bench, the one where they sat on in the ending of the movie.

  • BohemianBabushka

    Have to share this post with My Little One. She is a super fan of the movies mentioned, especially Harry Potter. She’d get such a kick out of the back story! BB2U

  • OhNikka

    I can’t wait to see Paddington Bear, that movie looks so cute.

  • Claudia Krusch

    I grew up with Paddington Bear. I would love to go explore London someday soon.

  • Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com

    Paddington Bear is one of our favourites. We are so looking forward to the second one! London is amazing and hopefully one day I’ll get to see it myself!

  • Oh yes Paddington Bear! I read the book when I was little and really really wanted a Paddington bear. I never got one, my friend had one and I was so jealous. Now I see a movie is out. I’ll have to watch it with my kids!

  • Tomi_C

    Harry Potter! Harry Potter!! Did I mention Harry Potter? That is my favorite movie set in London. I have a couple of others but nothing compares to any of the Harry Potter series.

  • London is number one on my international bucket list and I would love to see the locations ou have listed here. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan and I would geek out to see any filming locations!!!

  • Pam W

    I love Paddington. How fun to trace his journey around London and visit the Paddington Bear Shop.

  • Ali || Veggies by Candlelight

    I’d love to experience London, especially seeing places that they filled different movies. I’ve done this in other cities but never in London.

  • Ashley @irishred02

    I did this in NY and I would definitely want to do that in London too. I hope to get there soon!

  • reddel

    One of my favorite things is to watch movies prior to visiting a destination. These are terrific London movies. I can’t wait to see the new Paddington movie.

  • valmg

    I traveled to England as a teen in the late 70s. I loved it there and have wanted to go back ever since.

  • OH My first born and I would have a blast in London. What a wonderful experience to share from the view of a film lover!

  • I LOVE this!! While I was in Paris I was going to make a quick trip over to London and take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London (to see Harry Potter) but I never got to! My mom lived in London for four years (my sister was born there) and she lived near Paddington Station so we’ve always loved Paddington Bear in our house!

  • It would be pretty cool to see a few of the Harry Potter locations while visiting London. I’d definitely have to bring my daughter along!

  • I always love going to film tours! I did several in NYC. Notting Hill was such an awesome movie so I’d do that tour for sure. I never got into Harry Potter so I’d skip that one.

  • Candy Kage

    We visited London earlier this year. We did everything you listed and more. Totally enjoyed ourselves. Be prepared for the crowds. Especially at Harry Potter.

  • Alli Smith

    I would love to follow Paddington’s story around London. The kids would love it too! And, of course, Harry Potter is a favorite as well. I’ve never been to London and it’s at the top of my bucket list.