Allow me, if you will, to take you on a whistle-stop tour of London places as seen in films and TV — some of these sights are less known than others, but they’re all connected as locations for filming, and therefore (for me at least) have inherent interest.
Let’s assume you arrive at Kings Cross (31 million people pass through every year, so it’s a decent probability). You’d be remiss to pass up the opportunity to visit Platform 9 3/4 (and the shop) from Harry Potter whilst you’re there. Grab a bottle of water from Pret or you’ll get a headache.
From Kings Cross we’ll head out to the far East – Greenwich in this case (don’t worry, these become lesser-known as we go along).
The Royal Naval College in Greenwich is a stunning site that features in loads of films, including; The Kings speech, Les Miserables, The Queen, The Duchess, Gulliver’s Travels, Children of Men, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Thor: The Dark World, The Crown, Dark Knight Rises, Pirates of the Carribean, Sherlock, Skyfall…
Let’s head back West and we’ll stop off at Borough now – there’s plenty around here: Bridget Jones’ flat above the Globe on Bedale Street, not the mention Borough Market (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 24: Live Another Day, Paddington). The Tate Modern is just down the road too (Children of Men). Let’s get a bit lesser known, shall we…
Head down the road (on foot is fine) to Trinity Street, SE1 – this is a beautiful location (my stomping ground) – I bumped into Tom Hardy filming here for BBC’s Taboo. Go to the Roebuck (pub) at the end of the street; no film reference here, just a great pub.
From here we’ll head to Kennington to another pub – The Black Prince (SE11), which is home to the Secret Service in the Kingsman. On the same street, “The Jolly Gardeners” is the pub called “The Drowning Trout” in Snatch. Within 100 meters is Cleaver Square, which probably is in some films (none that I could find), but is a nice peaceful place to spend a moment in the middle of London — John Major had a house here amongst other people. The Prince of Wales, tucked into the corner of the square, is another good pub. If you come here in summer you’ll see the locals playing boules like they think they’re in France or something. This is turning into a fun trip eh?
You can walk from here to Vauxhall which has the real-life Mi6 building that was blown up in Skyfall. It’s a pretty busy area so you’ll want to get away quickly, but get a quick peek of Parliament across the Thames now. Mmm lovely, but you said ‘lesser-known’… If you get a Santander Cycle (don’t be lazy now) you can cycle down the river (Thames) past Battersea Power Station and Battersea Park – further down here is the beautiful St Mary’s Church on Battersea Church Street as seen in Alfie.
Go back across the river and head up towards Hyde Park. Stop at Launceston Place, Kensington, a ridiculous postcard of a street where the super-rich live, and The Big Sleep was filmed. Whilst we’re in Kensington, take a quick stop at Brompton Cemetery on Fulham Road — as seen in Goldeneye, Jack and Sarah, Johnny English.
Finally, we’re going to head further out of town to a couple of really not very well known – or particularly well liked – bits of London. Head to Brent Cross Shopping centre, go to floor 4 of the car park and cast your mind back to the scene in Tomorrow Never Dies when James Bond has a remote control BMW car chase. Not glamorous, but also not well-known.
The end of our travels takes us out to Brunel University in Uxbridge (just about considered West London) — it’s at the end of the Picadilly and Metropolitan line. The university is home to several brutalist concrete structures that were used for the filming location of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. It ain’t pretty but it is interesting.
That’s the end of my tour, and I’ve left you inebriated in what some might consider the armpit of London, but at least you’ve seen some of the lesser-known sights!
Disclaimer: most of these sights I have seen for myself on foot as I run around London. A couple of them I’ve read about but never visited (like Brent Cross shopping centre, I mean, why would you?)