Friday 22 August 2014

Date Like The Movies

London is a city of culture, history and charm, and has been the setting for a huge number of films of many genres. However, when it comes to romance, London provides that special something – be it a stunning historic backdrop, cosy tearooms or busy streets where two people fall in love. Here at, we thought we’d look at the best London scenes from our favourite romantic flicks:

Love Actually (2003)
This classic rom com, from Richard Curtis, outlining the complex love lives of eight different couples living in London, is always a huge hit. The film opens and closes with real footage from Heathrow Airport and features many London hotspots throughout. At the start of the film, Peter and Juliet, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keira Knightly get married at the Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair, while later Peter’s best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) later declares his undying love with cue cards at the couple’s house at 27 St Luke’s Mews in Notting Hill. Mark’s ‘South Bank’ gallery was an empty house on Great Sutton Street. Selfridges is the department store where Harry, played by Alan Rickman, goes to buy his assistant a present and is served by Rowan Atkinson and almost all the characters attend a nativity play at Elliott School in Putney.
Top Quote: “True love lasts a lifetime.”
Date Idea: Head to one of the regular lunchtime recitals at the Grosvenor Chapel (

One Day (2011)
This adaptation of David Nicholls bestselling novel follows the lives of Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) who meet at Edinburgh University and after becoming firm friends, eventually fall in love. The plot sees the characters in the same day every year and was shot across 50 locations, including London. Landmarks in the film include the Lady Chapel at Westminster Cathedral and the nearby Big Ben, the West End's Sanderson Hotel and the Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead, where Emma swims and the Rio Cinema in Dalston, where Emma goes on a date with boyfriend Ian, played by Rafe Spall.
Favourite Quote: “Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today.”
Date Idea: Sunday matinee film at the Rio (, followed by a follows by a meal at Mexican restaurant Mezcal Cantina, in memory of Emma’s doomed job at the “graveyard of ambition.”

Sliding Doors (1998)
This British-American comedy sees Gwyneth Paltrow playing Helen, who follows two parallel story lines after catching – or missing – the tube one morning. When she makes the train, she falls in love with James, played by John Hannah after learning her boyfriend is cheating on her. When she misses the train, she only finds out about the infidelity much later but fate leads her back to James.
London underground features heavily and it is at London Embankment that Helen misses the tube, although they were shot at Waterloo and Bank stations. There are also scenes from Fulham Broadway and by the Thames, near Hammersmith Bridge.
Favourite Quote: “James: What are you doing Saturday?
Helen: Probably killing myself.
James: Excellent. What time does that finish? Do you like boats?”
Date Idea: Head to Dine On The Tube, an underground supper club at Basement Galley (

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
The film adaptation of Helen Fielding’s book, features Bridget at 30-something Londoner set on self-improvement. Her love life sees her embark on a romance with handsome playboy Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), while eventually landing the gorgeous Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Bridget’s flat is above the Globe Pub in Borough Market and the fictitious Greek restaurant that Mark and Daniel comes to blows is Bedales, a wine shop nearby. Daniel’s Cleaver apartment is on Clink Street a minute or so away and Bridget gets advice from her date at the Maghreb restaurant, which is now Momo on Heddon Street. Bridget has two embarrassing career moments in the film, one at the launch of Kafta’s Motorbike, which was filmed at The ICA on the Mall and later she reports from court outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. However, romance is always on the cards and her romantic kiss with Mark in the snow is outside the Royal Exchange Buildings, near Bank.
Favourite Quote: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
Date Idea: A look around Borough Market ( followed by a wine-tasting evening at Bedales (

Notting Hill (1999)
No list of romantic films set in London would be complete without Notting Hill, another gem of a film from Richard Curtis. The story sees the famous actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) walk into the bookshop of William Thacker (Hugh Grant). After a second chance encounter, they meet again and romance begins to blossom. In the opening scene, William is seen walking down Portobello Road Market and Hugh’s house in on Westbourne Park Road and Bella and Max’s house is on Lansdowne Road, nearby. Opposite the tube station is the Coronet Cinema, where William sees Anna in sci-fi short, Helix and it is in the communal Rosmead Gardens, where Anna and William break into after having too much to  drink at a dinner party. Anna stays at The Ritz in central London, while the press conference for her film takes place at The Savoy.
Favourite Quote: “I’m just a girl, standing in front on a boy, asking him to love her.”
Date Idea: Check out Portobello Road Market ( and map out the film’s main spots.

Have you got other favourite London-based films that you think deserve a mention? Tell us @lovestruck


Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Nice tour. I can't imagine what the guy in the opening shot is going to think when he's a little older, though.

Stefan Jansson said...

I really liked Sliding Doors.

Luis Gomez said...

Great post!

Caroline said...

As always, a most fascinating and fun to read post. Thanks.

Sharon said...

What a fun post this is! I've seen every one of these films except One Day and now I'll I have to go find that one too. I've seen all of the others more than once and some of them many times. There is nothing quite like a good British love story.

John said...

I get stick at home because I won't go to the cinema, but then it would be a sad world if we all liked the same things - but London is still a great city.

William Kendall said...

I would say Four Weddings And A Funeral!

Jack said...

Mo, this is an impressive tour de force. Very cool!!!

(BTW, I took about ten photos of the balloon couple, but the close-ups weren't as good as the full-length photo with the balloons held at a distance.)

Angie said...

Exactly what Sharon Anck said! Great post!

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