What a great time to catch up on your favourite movies while we are all indoors. In this article I share my top 5 Hollywood movies that show off amazing locations in London.
London is such a fabulous backdrop for some of our most beloved Hollywood films. Whether it’s strolls along the Thames, shopping in our most iconic stores or skulking around famous museums, you’ll definitely recognise some of these famous London landmarks and spots. Be prepared to grab your homemade popcorn, curl up on the sofa and get ready for afternoon of Netflix binge watching!
Number 5 on my list of top movies filmed in London is:
Four Weddings & A Funeral. This heartfelt 1994 romantic comedy stars Hugh Grant, Andie Macdowell and Kristin Scott Thomas. While not exclusively shot in London, we do get glimpses of London life. There’s a great scene with Hugh Grant’s Charles and Andie Macdowell’s Carrie set at the Southbank Centre and when he meets his brother outside the National Theatre. The next scene is along the Southbank with the London Eye seen and the river in the background.
I love that one of the weddings takes place in Somerset, a southwest rural county of rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. We also have another wedding take place in Scotland, so while it’s a different country, it’s easily accessible from London so as a Londoner you could easily head up to Scotland by train or flight for the day or the weekend.
Number 4 for top movies filmed in London is:
Love Actually. This wonderful romantic comedy that came out in 2003 showcases scenes throughout the city. It’s also set at Christmas time which gives a very unique glimpse of the festive season (or what Americans may call the holiday season).
There are numerous scenes with iconic London architecture in the background. Whether it’s the scene with Daniel, played by Liam Neeson, and his son Sam, played by Thomas Sangster, are talking on the banks along the Thames at Gabriel’s Wharf with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background, to passing shots of streets of London featuring the red double decker buses and black cabs. You also have great scenes of Selfridges department store located on Oxford Street and even just behind on Christopher Place with the scene in front of the Italian restaurant Carluccio’s, where Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson meet before heading to Selfridges.
Then there are peaks of Mews streets of Notting Hill, the inside of Number 10 Downing Street, and Heathrow Airport. I love this funny and clever movie about 8 different stories where the characters are loosely connected to each other. I really loved this movie and it has a blockbuster cast including Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Kiera Knightley, Chiewetel Ejiofor, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, and Colin Firth.
Top movies filmed in London – number 3 is:
Paddington, the 2014 movie about the bear with the same name. From the moment he lands at Paddington station, this movie is full of shots of London. From the taxi cab ride where the most iconic structures are seen such as Big Ben, The London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, and Tower Bridge, to the most beautiful pastel coloured Crescent street, which is a curved street. I was able to discover that it’s Chalcot Street in Primrose Hill, not Notting Hill as the movie would have you believe. I also love that you get to see an interior of a home with the most magnificent staircase and dome skylight. We also have several scenes of the Natural History museum. Also the tube station where the family entered is the fictitious Westbourne Oak, which was actually filmed at Maida Vale station, a stunning station with architecture abound.
Number 2 of top movies filmed in London is:
Harry Potter. Don’t judge me, but I don’t think I’ve seen any of Harry Potter movies as it’s just not my thing (I did read the first book just say that I read it, but that’s about it). Putting that aside, the Harry Potter movies have featured almost every major London neighbourhood. Spanning a decade starting from 2001 when the first movie – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s in the US) Stone – to 2011 with the final installment – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the movies truly are a jewel of London. So much so that there are a wide range of black cab tours, guided walking tours and studio tours and there are loads of Harry Potter attractions across London.
I have actually visited Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station as well as St. Pancras International station which will be familiar to many fans. There’s even a Harry Potter theatre performance in Covent Garden, but as a tip, you must book well in advance.
Other key sites that will be familiar include Piccadilly Circus, Cecil Court just off of Charing Cross Road and Leadenhall Market which is one of London’s oldest and most magnificent covered markets. I’ve got links in the description section of great walking tours and attractions associated with Harry Potter movies.
Finally at #1 on the list of top movies filmed in London is…
What a surprise! Is anyone not a fan of this 1999 hit starting Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant? The starting scene with Portobello market and highlighting local shops shows the fantastic area it is named after.
While this movie doesn’t give you an all over tour of London boy do you get to see a lot of wonderful Notting Hill. This movie is genuinely funny and entertaining and the ultimate scene stealer is the roommate, Spike. There’s the unforgettable scene in the private garden square which in real life is Rosemead Gardens but there’s also the dinner scene at Nobu on Old Park Lane, Mayfair. The Ritz, Carlton on Piccadilly in Mayfair is also featured, as is the Savoy Hotel on the Strand. And then magnificent Kenwood House in Hampstead, which I’ve gone to visit.
I also can’t finish talking about this movie without mentioning the awesome soundtrack including Al Green’s How Can You Mend a Broken Heart and Bill Withers Ain’t No Sunshine.
What has been your favourite movie filmed in London or your home town? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, so I can add to my watch list!