London is a bustling metropolis that’s home to all different walks of life, the capital of England, and one of the world’s financial centers. As such, the city has been a great setting for all types of stories over its two millennia of existence, including and especially stories on film! London has provided the perfect setting for some beloved movies, from high-octane action movies to charming romantic comedies. Because the stories that have been told here are so diverse, why not use the cinema as the perfect tour guide to all facets of this great city on your next trip? While you’re getting a feel for the unique flavor of every area through its cinematic history, be sure to take your experience to the next level by living like a local in a furnished apartment.
British pop culture icons, exported straight from the heart of London
The center of London gathers around the banks of the Thames River and is generally considered the seat of the country’s government and business. It’s also home to a number of attractions any London traveler should see at least once, including the National Gallery, Tate Gallery, the British Museum and Big Ben. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the UK’s most iconic film franchises were shot in such a recognizable part of the city!
- “Bond, James Bond”- Everyone’s favorite secret agent, James Bond, is no stranger to Central London. Most notably, the MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall have been depicted in almost every James Bond film. The 2012 installment, Skyfall, gives the area the most screen time with scenes at British Parliament, the National Gallery and Vauxhall Bridge.
- Harry Potter– London is a must for any “Potterhead!” Harry’s trip to Hogwarts begins in London when he boards the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station. The real King’s Cross is in central London and was used for on-location filming for many of the movies; you can stand in the exact spot on platforms 4 and 5. For more Harry Potter-inspired London activities, check out our blog.
- Get to know the film that became the highest-grossing British film in history at the time of its release: Four Weddings and a Funeral. The film was shot all over South England, but, true to its fame, features a London scene at the restaurant Café Rouge on Wellington Street in Covent Garden.
Trafalgar Square in London’s West End is a “super” place to visit! In fact, the scenic plaza has been used in a handful of blockbuster superhero movies including Wonder Woman and Captain America: The First Avenger. The square is notable for its fountains and statues, views of Big Ben and appearances in numerous films and television shows including Elementary, Doctor Who, Children of Men and V for Vendetta.
Don’t miss the chance to live in a top-of-the-line accommodation in Central London while you tour the star-studded area! This 1-bedroom vacation rental in City boasts the whole package of coveted amenities to make your stay luxurious and comfortable, including 24-hour concierge, maid service, a fitness center, and a swimming pool. The space is also ultra-modern, with a renovated kitchen and bathroom and contemporary furnishings, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for an independent experience. An apartment this hip could be the envy of any actual movie star or suave secret agent like James Bond, and its central location in the City of London puts you close enough to popular London filming locations to see them all on your trip.
Venture just a bit north of the Thames and you will find yourself at the stomping grounds of An American Werewolf in London. The famous Piccadilly Circus, an intersection of five major London roads and the heart of London’s theater district, was prominently used in the filming of the movie’s climax. The site is recognizable by its large neon-lit advertisements, bronze fountain and visitation by London’s famous double-decker red buses. For this reason, it has appeared in several other films as well, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. While you’re in the bustling area of Soho, make it a day to explore the area’s great restaurants, cafes and shops.
The charming films of posh West London
All the action of Central London’s films makes for a great day of whirlwind tours and exciting movie marathons, but what about the charm of residential city life? You can find plenty of charm in the posh area of West London, particularly Kensington, Knightsbridge and Fulham, and in the fun family films that have been inspired by it.
- The beloved children’s book icon Paddington bear hit the big screen in 2015. Paddington features many scenes filmed at the Natural History Museum in Kensington. Fans of the cuddly bear, both young and old, will enjoy a visit to the museum and walking in his furry footprints! Admission is also free, which makes it great for a family visit.
- Discover the charm of The Parent Trap (1998) in Knightsbridge! You can find the stately white house in which Annie and Hallie’s mother lives with her kind butler at 23 Egerton Terrace. Please be advised that the home is a private residence, but the neighborhood’s beautiful homes and proximity to Hyde Park are great for an afternoon stroll.
- Sherlock Holmes paid the neighborhood of Fulham a visit in 2009 with the filming of its latest adaptation, Sherlock Holmes. The mystery/action film was partially filmed in Brompton Cemetery. The beautiful gothic headstones set a mysterious mood in the film, but the cemetery is great for a peaceful visit in an otherwise busy area.
Live in a posh and charming Kensington vacation rental without the fuss in this 1-bedroom! The unit is a classy all-white that will impress choosy travelers and hearken back to the scenic homes used in films, but pops of color in the contemporary furniture and the green tile of the full kitchen keep things fun. The apartment is its own oasis, with a large living room window to let in sunlight, a private balcony and a dining table to enjoy a family meal. Perhaps the most cinematic part of your stay will be the opportunity to stay in one of Kensington’s signature beautiful white rowhomes, but at an affordable price! You and the kids will love a vacation in the type of apartment previously only seen in the movies, and when you’ve explored all your favorite film locations, Hyde Park and Kensington Palace will be just outside your door.
On the other side of Hyde Park, you can see more scenic residential and commercial streets in the neighborhood of Mayfair. Mayfair’s famous Savile Row was carefully chosen to be the home base of the Kingsman organization in the action-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service for its elegant and refined appeal. The actual location of the Kingsman storefront is a similar high-end tailor shop called Huntsman at 11 Savile Row, which you can easily visit and peek in the windows (no glimpses of a secret headquarters are guaranteed).
The lively appeal of Notting Hill
If you’re looking for one of the trendiest, liveliest, and most musical areas of London, you’ll find it in Notting Hill! The young vibe and popular appeal as of the area as well as its leftover grit have made it a popular setting for tales of young love and raucous fun.
- The Beatles may have been from Liverpool, but the Fab Four certainly left their mark in London. Their premiere feature film A Hard Day’s Night was filmed in various locations throughout Marylebone and Notting Hill, but the iconic chase sequence was filmed around Notting Hill Gate.
- One of the UK’s most adored romantic comedies, Bridget Jones’s Diary, puts the heroine right in Notting Hill. Visit Borough Market near London Bridge Station to be put right on the set of the film, and be sure to do some shopping while you’re there!
- St. Luke’s Mews in Notting Hill contains the home used in the filming of the romantic movie Love Actually. The street is also one of the most picturesque in London, so don’t forget to snap a photo!
- Of course, no tribute to Notting Hill would be complete without a nod to the namesake film! Romantic comedy Notting Hill was filmed throughout the neighborhood, including locations like Coronet Cinema and Portobello Road. Hugh Grant’s character’s flat can be found on Westbourne Park Road thanks to its blue door.
This 2-bedroom vacation rental in Notting Hill is perfect for young trendsetters or anyone looking to put a fun spin on their London vacation. The space is bursting with bright colors and high-tech appliances to keep it edgy and modern, but still has the sleek contemporary style and cabinet space to go the distance for anyone looking to try their hand at living locally in London. Wide windows in every room add sunlight and cheer to the trendy space. Fortunately for film fans, this apartment is also centrally located in Notting Hill, making it easy to visit all your favorite film locations and still have time to visit Portobello Road Market and the neighborhood’s many restaurants, cafes, nightlife and music venues.
Escape the hordes in north London
In northern London, things get a little less packed and life gets a bit more residential and slower-paced. Perhaps that’s why Edgar Wright mostly chose locations in northern London for his comedy zombie film Shaun of the Dead. The film was mostly shot on location between Park Royal, North Finchley, and Highgate. Though, if you want to see The Winchester Pub from the film, you’ll have to head south to New Cross to find the building on Monson Road, which has been converted to apartments.
Grit and drama south of the Thames
Speaking of heading south, if you’re looking for a heavyweight lineup of drama and Oscar gold, you’ll find some film locations in southern London. For one, Stanley Kubrick’s intense dystopian film A Clockwork Orange makes use of various areas of Chelsea and Wandsworth, particularly in one of the film’s signature visual scenes, the attack on the tramp in the tunnel. You can find this tunnel (and cast quite a long shadow) between Trinity Road and Swandon Way in Wandsworth. Far to the east, you can find the site of the main character Alex’s home in Thamesmead South.
If you’re in southeast London, there are just a few more film locations you can’t miss. One is the Old Royal Naval College, a silver screen veteran that has been used in the filming of dozens of movies including Les Miserables, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cinderella (2015), The Duchess, and The Iron Lady.
Finally, as East London is known for a grittier and more industrial atmosphere, several dystopian films have chosen the area to film on location. Most notably, 28 Days Later features scenes of a deserted London in major tourist areas like Westminster Bridge and Piccadilly Circus, but when main character Jim finally encounters some zombies, it’s in Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs. If you visit the area, you probably won’t find any zombies—rather, you’ll find the thriving financial center of London. Up north, you’ll also find Hackney, where the post-apocalyptic film Children of Men was partially filmed.
You can have fun exploring the settings of your favorite post-apocalyptic films but avoid the uncertainty when you opt for a vacation rental like this 1-bedroom in Canary Wharf. This fully-furnished flat has a cozy and inviting atmosphere thanks to its stylish and sturdy exposed brick walls and wood beam ceilings. The living room area is furnished with three couches and a television perfect for gathering around and watching a film, and the bedroom has a double bed and plenty of storage space. What really makes this apartment special, though, is the super-stylish décor and access to a pool and gym for the ultimate stylish and serene space to relax. If you love escaping to the worlds of your favorite films, you’ll love escaping to this impeccable apartment even more.
Chances are, you’ve seen at least one film that showcases the beauty, thrill, and charm of London. Why not plan a trip to the amazing city to relive your favorite moments from the silver screen? You have even more reasons to visit when you book a furnished apartment or vacation rental through New York Habitat, which gives you the chance to live like a local with more luxury and value than a standard hotel stay. Make your cinematic dreams a reality and start planning your trip today!