For movie buffs the world over, London’s been something of a pilgrimage site for decades now, thanks to it playing host to so many scenes in so many memorable movies down through the years. Yes, everything from the Harry Potter movie saga to the James Bond film series has made this most significant of world cities enormously recognisable for its various nooks and crannies being used as cinematic backdrops.
But just where might you find the most iconic of them in the UK capital should you be spending a short-break in the city (and, ideally, staying at hotel London accommodation that’s relatively central)? Well, here are some you simply can’t miss…
Harry Potter’s Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station
Where it kicked-off every movie for Harry, Ron and Hermione, King’s Cross Station is nowadays rightly home to a genuine ‘entrance’ to the magical platform that swerves the iconic Hogwarts Express. Perfect for that fabulous photo op/ selfir moment, which’ll doubtless become one of your most treasured London souvenirs in years to come, it’s accompanied by a charming gift shop for picking up unmissable Potter goodies for yourself and everyone back home.
The setting for the smash-hit romcom that borrowed its name, West London’s Notting Hill district is famed for its Portobello Road – home to the legendary daily market and the road on which the film’s Hugh Grant character lived and operated a bookshop behind a blue door (and outside of which he spilt a drink over Julia Roberts’ Hollywood superstar character, thus beginning the movie’s romance). Full of the likes of antique stores, charismatic little cafés and quaint, pastel-coloured homes, Notting Hill’s Portobello Road and its vicinity is unmissable, all right (and very easy to reach from hotels near Paddington station). There’s even a blue plaque on the outside wall of the shop that doubled as the bookshop in the film – for better or worse, in the real world it sells shoes.
The MI6 building at Vauxhall Cross
Memorably the home of the British Secret Service (aka MI6) in the world of the modern James Bond movies – just as it has been in real life since it opened in the 1990s – this iconic and imposing yellow and green ‘Lego brick’-like building on the banks of the Thames was, factiously at least, destroyed by explosion in the 2012 007 adventure Skyfall and then permanently demolished in its follow-up, 2015’s Spectre. Happily, in the real world it’s suffered no such issues and can be viewed from Vauxhall Bridge or even relatively up close – in fact, there’s space just in front to enjoy a sandwich or two for lunch, if the mood takes you (fittingly, its area does feel suitably spartan and a little eerie; very espionage-y!).
The South Bank
Hugh Grant, again, made the South Bank recognisable the world over thanks to its backdrop to the scene in which his character struggles to express his feelings to that of Andie MacDowell in that other huge Brit romcom smash of the ’90s, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Home to multiple firmly family-friendly attractions visited every day of the year, the South Bank also boasts, of course, the BFI (British Film Institute) cinemas, which was where Grant’s character was supposed to be spending the day with his brother – it was then known as the National Film Theatre.