Musement shares ten films set in London to help satisfy any urges to visit the city.
From Mary Poppins to Harry Potter to Paddington Bear, London is one of those cities that has likely been ingrained in your mind since childhood. Whether you’d been there or not doesn’t matter—it’s easy to feel like you know the British capital enough to long to return time and again, thanks a good part to the big screen.
You may choose to return every December by dint of one of the best favorite Christmas movies ever made, even if you’re lucky enough to have actually spent time there.
With travel is limited to our armchairs and sofas these days, we’re willing to bet that plenty of you have a hankering for the English capital. So, here—in no particular order—are 10 of the best movies set in London.
1. Mary Poppins, 1964
Magical nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) literally seems to descend straight from heaven to the Banks family on the fictional Cherry Tree Lane to help establish some order in the slightly detached family. A combination of animation and live-action, this childhood favorite that never gets old—it’s impossible to see the dome of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and not think of Feed the Birds. The 2018 sequel starring Emily Blunt is also set in London
2. My Fair Lady, 1964
From selling flowers in Covent Garden to high society, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) goes from rags to riches when professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) takes her under his wing to teach her “proper English.” And of course, sparks fly along the way.
3. Harry Potter, 2001 – 2011
It’s safe to say that London features prominently all eight of the big-screen adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books series. Except to see familiar sites such as Piccadilly Circus, Millennium Bridge, Kings Cross Station and more as the titular wizard and friends aim to defeat Voldemort. Die-hard fans can even visit the studios located just outside the city.
4. James Bond, 1962 – present
The world’s most famous spy has appeared on the big screen since 1962, portrayed by a series of talented actors. A British secret service agent, 007 works for Mi6 so he’s always likely to make an appearance in London—keep your eyes peeled for iconic sights and landmarks like Whitehall Raod and the National Gallery.
5. Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001
Renee Zellweger stole our hearts, and those of Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), as the quirky singleton in this modern-day Pride and Prejudice. Southwark, Borough Market, the Tate Modern Restaurant, the Royal Courts, the Shad Thames walkways and more all make an appearance. For even more London, binge on the film and its two sequels: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’s Baby.
6. Closer, 2004
Mike Nichols directed this London-set tale of love and infidelity starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen. See sites from the city as the four characters navigate through life and difficult matters of the heart. See quintessential London cityscapes and places such as Postman’s Park, the riverside area near Waterloo Bridge, and the London Sea Life Aquarium.
7. Notting Hill, 1999
Speaking of Julia Roberts, she and Hugh Grant star as movie star Anna Scott and Travel Book Shop owner Willia Thacker in this irresistible romantic comedy. From Portobello Road to the Savoy to Kenwood House to Nobu to the Ritz to the film’s colorful namesake neighborhood, there’s plenty of London to hold you over until you can travel again.
8. Love Actually, 2003
Though it’s the ultimate Christmas movie for some, Love, Actuallyis a treat year-round. Writer and director Richard Curtis (who also penned the screenplay for Notting Hill) directs an all-star ensemble cast of characters as they deal with different aspects of love. Cobbled mews, Somerset House, Selfridge’s, 10 Downing Street itself, Queen’s Walk, the “dodgy end” of Wandsworth serve as the backdrop for this uplifting film.
9. Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994
Long before the Hulu series, there was this lovely British film. In keeping with the Richard Curtis theme, Four Weddings and a Funeral tells the story of Charles (Hugh Grant), a 20-something Londoner, searching for love. Expect lots of Southbank, the King’s Arms, Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great (a shooting location for many films) and more.
10. The King’s Speech, 2010
Colin Firth stars as Prince Albert IV, the future King George IV (father of Her Majesty the Queen), as he works with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, to overcome his stutter. Though the film takes some liberties with history, it’s excellent—and so is the scenery!