The City of London is constantly alive and provides the perfect setting given some of the beautiful areas with such authentic and beautiful architecture. So it's easy to see why so many incredible films have used the illustrious British capital as a backdrop by filmmakers. But what's great is that it's actually possible to map some of these films right onto the streets of London themselves, so that you can actually visit the filming locations if you come and visit!
Some of our favourites are:
Sherlock Holmes – This 2009 film starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude law is wonderfully dark and post-modern, capturing the foggy and dingy side of the city which Arthur Conan Doyle intended. Of course, London has changed considerablly from then, but you can still see exactly where the film got its inspiration and the characterful streets encapsulated in this film. For instance, the opening scene with Inspector Lestrade and Dr Watson was filmed on Middle Temple Lane and the following spiral staircase chase was filmed in nearby St Paul's. Follow the winding streets by night and make sure that you also visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street whilst you're here.
Notting Hill – This quintessentially British movie is now over ten years old, but will forever be a classic. Visit the area of Notting Hill itself to soak up the cultural diversity of the winding streets, grand houses and open space of this sophisticated West London suburb. And of course, the bookshop featured in the film. 142 Portobello Road was the location used for William Thacker's (Hugh Grant's) Travel Book Co. in the movie. This location was never a bookshop as it was Nicholls Antique Arcade, then a furniture store called Gong, and, more recently, a shoe shop called Notting Hill, sensibly called – yes – Notting Hill, (and rather cheekily replicating the film’s typeface). The real Travel Bookshop, on which William’s establishment was based, was around the corner and worth a visit!
Bridget Jones – Another very British film! Everyone who has watched this hilarious movie will be visited by memories of Renée's English accent and granny pants in equal measure when they think of it. Bridget Jones uses the London streets as a general backdrop, but if you're looking for an exact location, you won't be disappointed. Head to the ever-buzzing Borough Market and you’ll find the site of Bridget’s flat near the pub, as well as the restaurant of Colin Firth and Hugh Grant's comic fight (if you can call it that...).
V for Vendetta - Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel, James McTeigue’s film is set in a future dystopian, fascist version of London. Fictional but featuring many of London's best landmarks, the hunt for this film's settings is almost a tour of the Capital in itself. Visit the British Parliament and the Clock Tower to see familiar sites from the film (all currently intact!) and marvel at how McTeigue and his crew ever managed to film in these busy conditions (apparently, they were only allowed to shoot between midnight and 4am and could only stop traffic for four minutes at a time!)
So there you have it, our favourite London-inspired films as our tribute to Oscars week. We think it's time you came to visit London for some walking-tours of these fascinating sites.