There’s nowhere quite like it at Christmas. London is a city that fully embraces holiday décor and transforms into one of the most magical Christmas towns in the UK. Steeped in rich history and iconic landmarks, the UK’s capital city is often the inspiration and setting for many books and films. Now, combine that quintessential charm and heritage with beautiful Christmas displays, an abundance of twinkling lights and huge Christmas trees, and you get the perfect location for a Christmas movie.
So, if like many this year, you’re missing the annual Christmas markets, trips to the panto and the general festive buzz around the capital and want your Christmas fix of London, then take a look at these top Christmas films set in London:
Love Actually, 2003
The ultimate Christmas film. This romantic comedy was written and directed by British screenwriter, Richard Curtis. Set in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the film follows ten separate stories of love, many of which interlink as the story progresses. Mostly filmed on location in London; cobbled mews, Somerset House, Selfridge’s, 10 Downing Street, Queen’s Walk and Wandsworth serve as the backdrop for this uplifting film.
Bridget Jones’ Diary, 2001
One of the most renowned films set in London, Bridget Jones’ Diary is a Christmas classic featuring Hugh Grant, Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth. Bookended by festive scenes, the story follows Bridget (Renée Zellweger) and her love life (or lack of it), over the course of a year. Borough Market, Bridget’s apartment above The Globe Tavern and many other places are recognisable London locations throughout the film.
A Christmas Carol, 2009
A film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous story, this animated movie follows Scrooge as he is awakened on Christmas Eve and haunted by spirits who show him his own miserable existence. Jim Carrey plays many of the roles, including Scrooge and all three of the ghosts. Big Ben and other iconic London landmarks can be seen throughout this heart-warming animated production.
Last Christmas, 2019
Based on the song of the exact same name, Last Christmas follows the story of a disillusioned Londoner called Kate (Emilia Clarke) who works in an all-year-round Christmas store. Kate forms a relationship with a mysterious man named Tom (Henry Golding) who brings out the best in her, but is it too good to be true? Watch the capital city transform into a Christmas wonderland and spot Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Thames Embankment and Covent Gardens, among other locations.
About a Boy, 2002
Not the most traditional of Christmas films, About A Boy is a romantic comedy based on Nick Hornby’s novel. Set in central London, the film tells the story of a rich and child-free man named Will (Hugh Grant) who’s never worked a day in his life and lives off the annual royalties from his dad’s Christmas song. Will finds himself unwillingly attached and befriended by a 12-year-old boy who ultimately helps him find a deeper meaning in life. Most of the film is set in Islington but Oxford Street, London Zoo and Queen Mary’s Gardens also feature in the film.
The Holiday, 2006
Filmed on location in both California and the English countryside, the story follows two women, one in London (Kate Winslet) and one in Los Angeles (Cameron Diaz). Facing an unhappy festive season, they decide to swap houses over the holidays, where they each meet a local man and end up falling in love. The English component is set in the pretty village of Shere, in the Guildford district of Surrey, in South-West London and features one of the quaintest English cottages.