There are plenty of perks to living in London. But sometimes, you forget just how recognisable our city is. So many classic scenes have been filmed on the streets, it’s no wonder that tourists arrive with the same wide-eyed wonder which Londoners reserve for New York City or LA. Of course, it’s easy to walk past these places without even noticing that you’re walking through a world-famous classic cinema moment. So, here’s our guide to the top film-set venues in London…
What: Bridget Jones's Flat
Why: We all love a bit of Bridget and you know can visit the site of her one-bedroom flat, famously above The Globe tavern in Borough Market. She might have been down in the dumps, but nowadays you’d be hard pushed to feel sorry for someone with their own flat in zone one, next to London’s most famous foodie destination. If you’re on a Bridget Jones pilgrimage, you could do worse than popping into The Globe for a pint or following your nose through the market for a bit of gourmet grub.
Where: 8 Bedale Street, Borough Market, E1 9AL
What: Harry Potter Haunt
Why: It’s hard to think of a more British series than Harry Potter. The Market Porter, a pub in Borough market, was transformed into the Third Hand Book Emporium in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Step inside, and it’s not hard to see why: real wooden floors, chandeliers and ancient exposed brick all add up to a lot of character – and a cracking atmosphere. It may not have been a pub in the movies, but pop inside for a drink and you’ll have no trouble spotting scenes from the famous films. Enjoy one of twelve traditional ales while you’re at it.
Where: 9 Stoney Street, Borough Market, SE1 9AA
What: That Dance Scene in The Inbetweeners
Why: If Inferno’s in Clapham had a bit of a reputation before The Inbetweeners movie even came out, it’s got an even bigger one now. One of the film’s most memorable moments, that painfully awkward dance scene where Neil, Simon and Will try their best to flaunt their moves on an empty dance floor, was shot right here in Inferno’s. Be warned, though – visit on a Friday or Saturday night, and there’s no chance it’ll be as empty as it was in the film, no matter how bad your dancing. Inferno’s is cheesy, and the clientele a little dodgy (you might meet a real life Jay), but for a slap-up night on the tiles you can’t really go wrong.
Where: 146 Clapham High Street, Clapham, SW4 7UH
Greenwich Old Royal Naval College
What: The Ultimate Grand Old Building
Why: No prizes for guessing why this is such a popular location for film directors. The Old Royal Naval College is gobsmacking: imposing colonnades, a large bright square, beautiful stone carvings. It features prominently in some of the best films to be shot in the UK. It features as the Grand Hotel in Sherlock Holmes, as the King’s palace in Pirates of the Caribbean, a cafe in Batman: The Dark Night Rises, the scene of the famous riot in Les Miserables, and even a brief cameo in a Bond film. Visit on a clear day for some seriously stunning views.
Where: King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN
What: 'I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills.'
Why: Notting Hill – quintessential ’90s film, or the quintessential ’90s British film? Either way, there are plenty of places in London where you can catch a glimpse of the famous flick’s best scenes. Check out Portobello market, starring in the film’s opening scene and best experienced on a Saturday despite the crowds, which features prominently in the film as Hugh Grant’s gentle bookseller character charms Julia Roberts’ movie star. For the infamous finale, head to The Strand for The Savoy, but there’s so much to enjoy around W2 that there’s no need.
Where: Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W2
National Portrait Gallery
What: Julia Roberts Getting Closer to the London Skyline
Why: Torn between sweeping views of the city’s skyline and staring at the beautiful faces of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, the film Closer was filmed in the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait restaurant. Diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner whilst perusing the view that stretches from Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye.
Where: St. Martin's Place, Westminster, WC2H 0HE
What: Tower Bridge Photobomb
Why: You think of Tower Bridge, you think of London so it’s no wonder the impressive landmark has been featured in a lot films. Not to name drop but you can catch TB in little known productions such as Fast and Furious 6, Mission Impossible, Tomb Raider, The Mummy Returns and Thunderbirds. Heard of them?
Where: Tower Bridge Road, Southwark, SE1 2UP
What: Kray Twin's Hangout
Why: This iconic East End joint is now a Grade II listed building, having been with the same family since 1900. On the menu you’ll find typical caff food, but with art deco touches, it still feels more special than your local greasy spoon. You’ll also spot it in 2015’s film Legendary, since it use to be the Kray twin’s hangout. First going there as children they then use to have their breakfast meetings there and owner Nevio Pellicci described them as gentlemen!
Where: 332 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0AG
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