As one of the most filmed cities in the world, London is known for its recognisable movie locations. Many of today’s blockbusters have featured London’s tourist icons, such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and those famous red phone booths. For the movie buff in you, here is a sightseeing guide to famous movie locations in London and how to become a part of the set yourself!

London Movie Locationstower-divider

London in James Bond Movies

Considering Mr Bond’s position as agent 007 in the British Secret Intelligence Service, it’s hardly surprising that many of the Bond films have been set in London, with the real MI6 headquarters just along the River Thames at Vauxhall.

Skyfall

One of the most vivid images from recent Bond film, Skyfall, with Daniel Craig starring as 007, is seeing him standing on top of a roof to survey the London skyline across to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Iconic London sites

Rewinding back to a few of the older Bond films, you’ll notice plenty of times 007 is seen running along the Thames, chasing a baddie and looking out towards Westminster and Big Ben. As part of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, we even saw Bond meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Only the best of London’s attractions for Mr Bond.

Connery Cards

For vintage James Bond fans, visit the Les Ambassadeurs gaming club near the London Hilton on Park Lane, which is where we see Sean Connery as 007 playing cards at the Le Cercle casino in Dr No.

St. Paul's Cathedral & millenium bridge - London Movie Locations

View of St Paul’s Cathedral from Millennium Bridge, London 

Bridget Jones Diary in Southwark

Ah, Bridget Jones stole our hearts with her granny undies and insecurity outbursts. If you’re a romantic who believed in Bridget, you’re sure to enjoy a tour around London with her in mind.

In the movie, Bridget lived on Bedale Street in Southwark and buys her cigarettes from BK News, The Strand. However, in reality, her flat was actually located above The Globe pub at Borough Market and she shared her first kiss with Daniel on an historic London street known as Shad Thames.

The fight between Mark and Daniel in the Greek restaurant was filmed at a location which now houses a wine merchant called Bedale on Bedale Street.

The TV assignment that made her famous? That was filmed outside the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand.

Royal Courts of Justice  - London Movie LocationsTelephone booths outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London

Magical London in Harry Potter Movies

It’s obvious J.K. Rowling had London in mind when she developed her stories for Harry Potter. Much of her inspiration came from the city’s locations and the resemblance is obvious, even without the special effects.

Diagon Alley

You’ll find such a place on Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross Road, which is believed to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Incidentally, in real life this street is home to one of the world’s oldest mystic bookstores, making it a fitting influence for the Harry Potter series. However, the filming of Diagon Alley actually took place at Leadenhall.

Cash in at Gringotts

Near Covent, you’ll find Australia House (home to the Australian High Commission), which in the films doubles as Gringotts, the wizarding world’s only bank. Back at Charing Cross, the exteriors of various British government ministry buildings became the visitors’ entrance to The Ministry of Magic. Beware, due to the nature of these buildings you may find it hard to gain entry just for photos!

Death Eaters over River Thames

In one of the later films, Harry and his gang of friends are spotted flying over the River Thames, overlooking iconic London sites, including Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square. When the Death Eaters go on a rampage, they spectacularly destroy the Millennium Bridge, which stretches across the river.

Disappear at Platform 9 3/4

Last but certainly not the least, let’s not forget Kings Cross. Harry Potter certainly put this train station in the spotlight. A new addition to London’s must-do list, children and adults alike come to Kings Cross station in London to attempt pushing their luggage carts through Platform 9 ¾. The spot became so famous it had to be relocated to the station’s main foyer as so many people were photographing it and incidentally blocking others from catching trains.

Harry Potter fans can visit Platform 9 3/4 at London’s Kings Cross St Pancras Station. Bring your wand and your camera, and pose with the trolley that ‘disappears’ into the wall. It’s located close to platforms 9 and 10. You can also visit the Harry Potter shop at Platform nine and three-quarters for a few goodies from Hogwarts, including chocolate frogs as featured in the Harry Potter movie series.

Platform Nine and Three Quarters - London Movie Locations

Paddington Bear in London

Paddington has long been London’s favourite bear and the new film adaptation starring Hugh Bonneville has once again put both the bear and his adoptive city firmly in the spotlight.

Paddington Station

Starting with Paddington Station, where Paddington first adopted his English name and new family, this marmalade-loving bear experienced London like you would experience the city for the first time. His adventures include visits to the Underground (London’s subway system) and Buckingham Palace.

Alice’s Antiques

He also goes into Gruber’s Antique Store in the film, which in real life is actually Alice’s Antiques on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. In the scene where he sadly walks away from his family, Paddington is by the River Thames, with Big Ben and the Tower Bridge behind him.

London’s Natural History Museum

The film also includes scenes inside the beautiful Natural History Museum, where Paddington had to escape Millicent Clyde’s evil clutches, who was hoping to turn Paddington into one of her museum pieces!

London skyline over River Thames  - London Movie Locations Amy McPherson

Primrose Hill

To find 32 Windsor Gardens where the Brown family lived, don’t go looking for it on a map as you’ll just find a block of council flats. Instead, Paddington’s adoptive home was filmed at Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill, which is one of the London’s most sought-after addresses.

 

Iconic London sites can be spotted everywhere in films, both past and present – it’s even in the latest Minions cartoon. Although it’s in animated form in this movie, it’ll still make you want to visit London to see the real thing.

Image Credits:Amy McPherson, Getty Images