Looking for something new to watch while remaining patriotic to our great capital city? Check out our pick of 15 brilliant films and TV shows filmed in London
Lead image: The Split (BBC/Sister Pictures)
1 The Crown
It doesn’t get more patriotic than The Crown! As the home of Buckingham Palace, London is an important location for the British royal family, so of course The Crown, the Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, was shot in the capital. Season 3 filming locations for the show, which began in 2016, include the Royal College of Physicians, Lancaster House and the Old Royal Naval College.
The Crown is available on Netflix
If you like your crime dramas and you’re a passionate Londoner, you’ll love Luther! Starring Idris Elba, this TV series, which aired from 2010 to 2019, is shot in various locations around central, north, west and east London, including the Barbican Estate, Elephant and Castle, Shoreditch and London Docklands. It’s hard to get through an episode without smugly exclaiming, ‘Oh I know exactly where that is!’.
Watch Luther on Netflix and BBC iPlayer
3 The Spilt
This absolutely cracking drama series about a family of brilliant female divorce lawyers (oh sorry, family lawyers, as they prefer to be called) features some beautiful shots of London. Follow the drama as three high-flying female lawyers (played by Nicola Walker, Annabel Scholey and Deborah Findlay) help their clients navigate choppy waters, while trying to steady their own ships… Series 2 has some glorious footage of the South Bank, the Millennium Bridge over the Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral and Dulwich College.
Watch The Spilt on BBC iPlayer
For a film titled Notting Hill, it’s hardly surprising that this hit romantic comedy from 1999 was filmed in, well, Notting Hill. While Shepperton Studios was another key filming location, plenty of London spots feature in key scenes. Tourists still flock to Portobello Road Market to get a selfie in front of that famous blue door. And of course, there’s the famous Travel Book Shop, located at 142 Portobello Road in the film, but it was inspired by the Notting Hill Bookshop, which is located at 13 Blenheim Crescent.
5 Harry Potter
Potterheads, get excited: every single movie in the Harry Potter film series, which began in 2001 and ended in 2011, has scenes shot in London. For example, Borough Market and Leadenhall Market near Fenchurch Street serve as filming locations for the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub on Diagon Alley, while King’s Cross railway station is used for the station students use to take the train to Hogwarts.
This brilliant police-thriller TV series featuring Keeley Hawes as Julia Montague and Richard Madden as PS David Budd was first shown in 2018, banking the largest viewing figures for a new BBC drama in the multi-channel era, along with the biggest BBC viewing figures since 2008. Bodyguard is largely shot on location in the capital, including the Whittington Estate for Budd’s flat and Battersea for Montague’s.
Watch Bodyguard on Netflix
This rather wonderful science-fiction comedy-horror film from 2011 focuses on a teenage gang who must defend themselves from alien invaders on a south London council estate. It’s directed by Joe Cornish, who was born and bred in Stockwell, so unsurprisingly south London pops up quite a lot, with scenes shot in Elephant and Castle, Brixton and Oval tube station, although Islington takes a star turn too. Oh and you get to see Peckham lad John Boyega of Star Wars fame being quite brilliant.
Watch Attack the Block on Amazon Prime
8 Love Actually
Missing Christmas? This 2003 festive-themed romantic comedy, predominantly filmed on location in London, explores different aspects of love via 10 stories featuring a broad range of people (many of whom are shown to be connected as the stories progress). With a stellar cast including Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Rowan Atkinson and Keira Knightley, there are plenty of reasons to give this one another viewing.
Love Actually is available on Amazon Prime until 31 March
9 Doctor Who
London is a paradise for Whovians, with numerous locations in the capital used in the sci-fi television show. Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London and even Buckingham Palace are just some of the places that serve as filming locations in the programme, which first aired on the BBC in 1963.
Watch Doctor Who on Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Classic Doctor Who is available to stream on BritBox
10 The James Bond films
James Bond films, which began in 1962, have been shot all over the world, including London. Locations in the capital feature heavily in the 2012 movie Skyfall and the 2015 flick Spectre, with London also used to shoot films like GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough. Of course, we’re all eagerly anticipating the new Bond film, No Time to Die, the release of which has been put on hold thanks to this rather inconvenient global pandemic, but when it finally hits the big screen in November, there are scenes filmed in Whitehall and Hammersmith to look forward to.
Buy or rent Bond films from YouTube Movies
Love it or hate it, reality TV is BIG. If you haven’t seen Made in Chelsea yet, the BAFTA award-winning, structured-reality show is currently airing on All 4. The programme first aired in 2011, following the lives of affluent young people in Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge. It made stars of the likes of Spencer Matthews, Hugo Taylor, Millie Mackintosh, Jamie Laing, Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo, Binky Felstead and Oliver Proudlock
Made in Chelsea is available to watch on All 4
The Emmy Award-winning Sherlock is a crime TV series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories and set in the present day. Though mainly shot in Cardiff, the show, which first aired in 2010, boasts plenty of London filming locations too, including North Gower Street (used to film exterior shots of 221B Baker Street).
Watch Sherlock on Netflix and BBC iPlayer
13 Bend It Like Beckham
London features heavily in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, which tells the story of Jess (played by Parminder Nagra), a girl who wants to play football despite the views of her parents. Jess’ home is located in Sutton Square in Heston, west London, and the aspiring footballer trains with Joe in Southall. Plus, you get to see a young Keira Knightley go bra shopping with her mother in painful scenes most of us gals can probably relate to…
14 Shaun of the Dead
If you’re a north Londoner, you might recognise some of the filming locations in Shaun of the Dead. Many exterior shots for this 2004 horror comedy and cult classic — which stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as pals who must contend with a zombie uprising — were filmed in and around Crouch End, Highgate, Finsbury Park and East Finchley. The scenes filmed in and around the famous Winchester Tavern pub, however, were shot in New Cross.
A list of London-shot TV shows and films wouldn’t be complete without a nod to one of Britain’s best soaps. The set might actually be located at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire (with much of the location work shot in nearby Watford), but scenes for the programme, which first aired in 1985, have also been filmed in the capital. And here’s a little fun ‘Enders trivia for you – the fictional borough of Walford blends Walthamstow (where Tony Holland, a series creator, was born) and Stratford. Plus, Walford’s E20 postcode was adopted by the Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City. It doesn’t get more London than that…
Catch up with EastEnders on BBC iPlayer or watch episodes on Britbox