London - Lights, Camera, Action!
Many of my teenage years were spent at the movies - most of those starring Hugh Grant, and most of them based in London. There was something about those movies that made London so appealing. Maybe it was the Rom-Com feel-good vibe. Maybe it was beautiful homes and amazing scenery.
One of my favourite movies since I was young is Mary Poppins. I really wanted to walk down these neighbourhoods and see the street lamps and those beautiful old homes.
I guess I was so influenced by London, that I have always wanted to live in a Tudor-style home, and since 2010, I've lived in one. I guess seeing this style of home on film was so unique from the homes you see here.
Movies have such a powerful effect on our imagination, and no doubt, they have influenced many people by inspiring them to travel to their favorite movie or television locations.
If London is on your travel bucket list, be sure to check out these movies to get you and your travel partner in the mood. Are you trying to convince a group of friends to go with you? These movies might help!
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Wavy haired Charles (Hugh Grant) is looking for the one special girl in this sappy movie by n Richard Curtis. London is a picture-perfect backdrop as Hugh Grant and group of 20-something year olds aristo Londoners date, flirt, and consider settling for sub-standard partners in an effort to get down the aisle. Proof that spending every sunny Saturday at a friend's wedding is not a modern affliction.
The London Connection: Charles lives (and has that romantic, rainy reunion) on Highbury Terrace in Highbury Fields, the lucky sod. He also wanders along the South Bank and has a matrimonial meltdown at Smithfield's St Bartholomew the Great.
Sir Conan Doyle's sleuth gets a post-modern update, with Robert Downey Jr playing a beefed-up version of Holmes.
The London Connection: Shot in and around London (as well as Liverpool and Manchester), Ritchie's London of yesteryear is a romantic place of heaving bosoms and ridiculously cool heroes.
It's from the same makers as Love Actually, but Notting Hill is a funny, light-hearted fantasy romance where a simple bookstore owner meets the world's most famous star.
The London Connection: Notting Hill is one of London's most multicultural hot spots, which means it's odd that Curtis' film doesn't reflect that. Still, the area looks the best it ever has – though Portobello Road is where you'll find Grant's bookshop.
Bridget Jones Diary
Renée Zellweger stars as the perpetually single Bridget in this modern update of Pride & Prejudice.
The London Connection: Visit Borough Market and you'll easily spot Bridget's little flat near the pub, not to mention the restaurant that's the setting for Firth and Grant's hilarious dust-up.
Bend It Like Beckham
Two 18-year-old girls aspire to become professional football players in Gurinder Chadha's gentle comedy.
The London Connection: Chadha captures the city's cultural diversity beautifully as Parminder Nagra rebels against her orthodox Sikh upbringing – with Hounslow providing the perfect suburban backdrop.
Carol Reed's classic musical in which young orphan Oliver (Mark Lester) falls in with a gang of street kids trained as pickpockets.
The London Connection: The city's a smoggy place filled with danger in this movie adaptation of Dickens' novel – you believe somebody like Fagin could live here.
28 Days Later
Sci-fi horror from Danny Boyle in which an incurable virus sweeps the UK, transforming people into ravenous zombies.
The London Connection: Trust us, it's never this empty in London – not even at 4 am when the clubbers are all tucked up in bed. Which makes the sight of a deserted central London all the creepier…
The Bourne Ultimatum
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his hunt for answers while dodging the CIA.
The London Connection: Waterloo Station is a battlefield at the best of times. Still, it becomes a hustle-bustle setting for a fantastically tense action scene in Damon's 2007 Bourne film, as he attempts to protect a journalist from The Guardian.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Joyous musical romp starring Julie Andrews as the titular nanny, who's hired to look after two very unhappy children.
The London Connection: This is London as envisioned by Walt Disney Pictures, where everybody's smartly dressed, the townhouses are towering and gorgeous, and there's not so much as a single flower out of place. Dare to dream, Disney…
A Bangladeshi woman arrives in London, leaving behind her family and friends.
The London Connection: Cultural diversity is all part of London's charm, and here we get a look at the East End's Bangladeshi community, where the aftershock of 9/11 is strongly felt.
Eight films adapted from JK Rowling's bestselling book series, with Daniel Radcliffe as the lightning-scarred boy wizard.
The London Connection: Sad to say, Diagon Alley doesn't exist in the beloved capital. That doesn't stop Columbus, Yates et al. from lavishing the city with adoring screen time, whether it's the Millennium Bridge getting destroyed in Half-Blood Prince or those gorgeous over-city shots in Phoenix. And, of course, there's King's Cross station…
The King's Speech
Oscar-nabbing historical drama starring Colin Firth as King George VI, who struggles with a debilitating stammer.
The London Connection: Rush's Harley Street practice should look familiar – it's a Georgian townhouse 33 Portland Place, a popular location used in a number of other films and music videos.
A 1998 British-American romantic drama film written and directed by Peter Howitt and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, while also featuring John Lynch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Virginia McKenna. The film alternates between two parallel universes, based on the two paths the central character's life could take depending on whether she catches a train and causing different outcomes in her life.
The London Connection: The bridge featured is the Albert Bridge between Battersea and Chelsea. The late-night scene when Paltrow and Hannah walk down the street was filmed in Primrose Gardens (formerly Stanley Gardens) in Belsize Park.
There are a number of other films set in London. What's your favourite London-based movie?
Comment below. And when you are ready to start planning your trip to London, reach out.