London is one of the world’s most alluring holiday destinations, drawing visitors to a diverse range of attractions from all over the world.
Naturally, this metropolis has been the backdrop for many iconic movies over the years, so much so that you could say London itself has co-starred in countless feature films!
Lending itself particularly well to romantic comedies, if you’re considering a romantic break here, why not take in some of these well-known movie locations?
Built to commemorate the millennium, the iconic Ferris Wheel is a must-visit for anyone wishing to absorb the capital’s atmosphere. The 32 air-conditioned passenger capsules give remarkable views over London.
The film Wimbledon, which focused on a relationship between two prospective tennis stars, had one intimate scene that was filmed in one of the capsules. The wheel’s exterior has also appeared as a backdrop in a range of films, from Run Fatboy Run to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
But as you wait for the Eye to complete its revolution you can easily gaze over the world-renowned skyline and try to recall all the times you’ve seen this same view projected onto the vast screen at your local cinema.
This affluent and cosmopolitan sector of West London was where screenwriter Richard Curtis chose for his film Notting Hill.
Aside from the streets and buildings, you’ll recognize from the romcom starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, there is much more to explore here. Portobello Road market offers a variety of stalls and is the UK’s largest antique fair. You and your partner can dazzle your palate with tempting gin flavors in the Ginstitute.
Situated in the heart of London in the City of Westminster, this public square is one of the city’s main tourist draws. From Nelson’s Column, guarded by four seven-ton sculpted bronze lions, to the fountains, this is a location where you can feel truly immersed in the city’s hustle and bustle. The square has featured in many films, from the slapstick of St Trinian’s to the tongue-in-cheek horror of An American Werewolf in London.
The world premiere of the very last Harry Potter film, The Deathly Hallows Part II, was held here in July 2011. The red carpet that was unfurled measured 1.2 kilometers in length. Despite the torrential rainstorm that battered central London at that time, fans camped out for a choice spot next to the carpet for up to three days beforehand.
The benefit of visiting Trafalgar Square is that you are already within the vortex of a hundred and one other places to continue your romantic date. There are concerts held in the evening at the nearby St Martin in the Fields, art galleries, and museums, theaters, and restaurants, as well as official walking tours and ghost bus tours.
The Globe Tavern
Another iconic romantic comedy set in the capital is Bridget Jones’s Diary, the warm-hearted tale of one hapless singleton’s struggle to find true love.
This popular pub provides the external shots of Bridget’s flat, featured in the climactic scene where Mark Darcy embraces the eponymous heroine in the snow. The Globe Tavern has gained an excellent reputation for the refreshments on offer, with a wide selection of wines to wash down your pub lunch.
Old Royal Naval College
Situated on the south bank of the River Thames in Greenwich, this historic landmark may not seem an obvious choice as a film set to visit. Formerly an 18th-century hospital for mariners, it is a wonderful building that has welcomed film crews on numerous occasions, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Les Miserables.
The interior is a perfect location for romance, as you stroll along corridors and gaze at magnificently ceiling paintings, or marvel at the classic architecture. Ceiling tours allow visitors to receive an intimate look at the work being undertaken by conservation artists to restore the ceilings to their previous grandeur.
Kings Cross Station
Okay, a film about boarding school pupils running around pointing their little magic wands at baddies and demons might not seem terribly romantic, but few can doubt fantasy writer J K Rowling’s ability to tell stories that have captivated kids and adults alike the world over.
If you’re looking for a bit of escapism on your London date, pop into King’s Cross station’s platforms four and five, which doubled as Platform 9 3/4 in the various films. The Harry Potter shop here is a thoroughly entertaining diversion from more obviously romantic locations.
Dans Le Noir
Although the version used in another Richard Curtis romcom About Time was a filmset, the restaurant it famously depicted is real enough, situated in Clerkenwell, EC1R.
Surely the ultimate venue of choice for blind dates – just like Tim and Mary in the film – the gimmick is that you are entirely in the dark while being served a sumptuous array of dishes, brought to your table by visually impaired waiters. If you’ve hooked up with someone you were introduced to on a typical British dating site, then it’ll definitely be an exciting experience as you have to rely on your senses and conversational wit to get to know one another.
Thursdays after 8 pm you can move on to the Otra Vista where you’ll even pick up sign language while you enjoy cocktails and uninhibited dancing.
London’s underground railway system has been central to the action when many a movie has dipped below the bustling streets. About Time and Love Actually, both feature scenes where the lead actors share a moment, clutching the supports while their carriages twist and turn through the tube system’s dark tunnels.
In the drama Sliding Doors, the tube system actually plays a critical role, as variations in the film’s parallel structures hinge on Gwyneth Paltrow’s character catching a particular train on time. Or not.
Where high-octane blockbusters are concerned, Charing Cross station was used in The Bourne Ultimatum, while there is a nail-biting chase through an underground train in Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond.
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