The British Film industry is an unassuming one. It’s sometimes hard to think of films which Britain has actually made. However, did you know that parts of the US hit series 24 was actually filmed in the small city of Southampton, UK? Despite being set in the US. You would be surprised by the scale and number of productions which have actually taken place on UK soil.
London is no exception. There are so many film locations which have gone under the radar for a long time. We’re here to let you know about a few of them. Here are our top famous movie backdrops in London and where to find them.
221B Baker Street – Sherlock
The home of Sherlock Holmes. A pretty famous building which a lot of people from all around come to see. Whilst not technically a movie, we’re going to let this one count seeing as how Sherlock is loved by so many people (we hope there’s another season!). The house itself is really pretty dull and uninteresting. Other than looking around from outside, you can’t do much. You can take some pictures though.
If you’re interested in knowing where Sherlock and Watson’s rooms were meant to be. Sherlock’s was meant to be on the second floor, up 17 flights of steps, and looking out over the rear of the house. Watson’s room was meant to be on the floor above, also looking out over the rear garden. Of course, they were not real people, but finding places imaginarily people have been is kind of the point of this adventure, right?
Just down the street, you’ll find the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Located between 237 and 241 Baker Street, the museum is home to many exhibits and memorabilia regarding Sherlock Holmes.
The Harry Potter Stop at Platform 9¾ – Harry Potter
Who could create a list of famous movie backdrops in London without mentioning the Harry Potter Stop? Located in London’s King Cross Station, this is undoubtedly one of the most famous movie backdrops in London. After all, who hasn’t at least heard of Harry Potter?
You’re able to run right up to the area on the platform where the wizards and witches enter their magical transport station, and you can even hold onto the trolley as though you were a young wizard yourself, starting your big journey to Hogwarts. Suitable for all ages – even those of us who are getting a bit older.
Just around the corner, you’ll also find a small Ollivander’s wand shop – just like from the movie – where you can get your hands on all sorts of magical merchandise. Keep your eyes out for Voldemort though, he’s lurking in there somewhere.
London Parliament – 28 Days Later
Let’s take things up a notch and move into movies which are a little scarier. The streets outside the Parliament building in London mark one of Horror’s most iconic scenes from the movie 28 Days Later. As Cillian Murphy’s character – Jim – wanders the streets of London after waking up from a coma. The streets are covered with nothing but waste and the occasional food. We’re left to see the aftermath of a zombie virus which has devastated the country.
If you were to head there today though, it is much, much busier. The streets are almost always covered with more people than make moving around easy. Just over the water, the London Eye stands tall, which is great for seeing the London Skyline from above – also very busy.
Westminster Bridge – Spectre (and Many Other James Bond Films)
Many James Bond films have had at least one scene on the iconic Westminster bridge. In fact, during the film The World is Not Enough, there was even a speedboat race down the Thames – with the speedsters racing past what is now the O2 Arena.
We’ve put down Spectre because it’s the most recent James Bond film – and the most recent to feature the Westminster Bridge. Centrally located, it’s a great place to start any tour around famous movie backdrops in London. It’s also next to the London Parliament buildings and Big Ben – as well as many other iconic film locations.
Wandsworth Prison – A Clockwork Orange
One of the greatest films of all time – at least, that’s what several film critics say. This Stanley Kubrick 1971 thriller and comment on society, has become a cult classic. The scene in which Alex is imprisoned after committing several crimes was actually shot in a real-life prison. As the camera hovered above to show us where he was going to be punished, we were shown the iconic aerial shot.
The prison is one of the largest in the UK, and although you can’t actually go inside it – it is, after all, a prison – you can take a look from the outside, knowing that it’s home to some of the UK’s worst offenders.
Notting Hill – Notting Hill
Ok, there have been several high-octane films there. What about if you’re looking for famous movie backdrops in London for movies which are somewhat more romantic?
Notting Hill is one of the most romantic movies to come out of the UK. Staring 90’s heartthrob Hugh Grant and the impeccably beautiful Julia Roberts, Notting Hill is the location of pretty much the whole movie. Julia Roberts – a film star – meets a small an unassuming bookshop owner who doesn’t know who she is – Hugh Grant. The two immediately fall for each other, and they try to navigate the pressures of her being part of the film industry and a famous actress, and him being a relative nobody. A truly romantic film and Notting Hill is the perfect setting with its small townhouse streets and ‘typically’ London look.
Admiralty Arch – Children of Men
Located near to Trafalgar Square, the Admiralty Arch is shown in Children of Men as the main character – Clive Owen – travels to the government buildings to talk to officials. In the film, it is a huge gate keeping people out of the government “offices”, in real life, it’s an iconic landmark built by King Edward the VII in memory of his mother –back in 1912.
The building previously held government offices. However, in 2011, the government sold a lease on the building for a private developer to turn it into an upscale hotel, restaurant, and an apartment building. Luckily, that means that you can go and visit it yourself, and feel as though you’ve been sucked into the apocalyptic world of Children of Men.
Discover Films Everywhere
London has more iconic film locations than you can imagine. It’s great to explore them and see what you can uncover – and you don’t just have to stay in London. There’s a whole world out there.