4 min.

Discovering a town by visiting the most famous movies’ locations is something we all plan at some point in our life and according to our own taste, but when it comes to London you really get spoiled by the impressive choice you have. Still, it’s Christmas, and to me, this means chocolate cookies, chai tea latte, and Love Actually.

Since 2003 I have a regular appointment with this romantic, oh so British, comedy directed by Richard Curtis, cause you have to admit that once more he put together a fantastic cast and selected unusual London’s corners, perfect for falling in love with.

As for Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, not all locations are noteworthy, and not all are downtown London. Still, I selected those I actually recommend, regardless of the romantic memories related to the film.

A Love Actually London tour

Love Actually and Heathrow airport

The movie re-conquers me every year since the first images and leaves me in tears with the latest, all filmed at the arrivals of the international terminal 4 at Heathrow.

Hugs, smiles, emotion, dreamy looks, and tears of joy characterized both the movie and any arrival of any airport and then how not to agree with the legendary speech by Prime Minister Hugh Grant:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that… When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

If you plan a trip to London, I suggest you book a flight that lands here, also because the terminals are connected to the city by the convenient underground Piccadilly Line, running more or less every 10 minutes.

Somerset House

In the movie, you only get glimpses of Somerset House, but the winter in London would not be the same without its traditional ice-skating rink, also a theatre of wonderful celebrations on New Year’s Eve. It’s right downtown, just a few minutes’ walk from Temple and Covent Garden stations, and last month I treated skaters with some great falls, but I really had fun!

* Not happy, I repeated myself on the skating rink set up at the foot of the Tower of London.

Oxford Street and its surroundings

The surroundings of Oxford Street are theatre to several scenes and above all are an unmissable area for shopping, dreaming in front of posh shop windows, and admiring sparkling Christmas decorations and lights.

Alan Rickman and Emma Thomson, Harry, and Karen in the film meet in beautiful St Christopher’s Place to take care of Christmas gifts at Selfridge’s, a historic department store with a rooftop terrace great bar specializing in oysters and champagne. The scene shot here is memorable, and if you have seen the movie, you know that I’m referring to both amazing and annoying salesman played by Rowan Atkinson!

Not far from here, on South Audley Street, is the Grosvenor Chapel, the small Anglican church where Juliet and Peter get married, with an unforgettable and romantic All You Need Is Love finale that makes you want to get married only with the hope that some friends organize a surprise like this to crown the ceremony.

Gabriel’s Wharf

Another beautiful corner of London seen in the movie is Gabriel’s Wharf and the Thames North Bank. An area in constant turmoil, perfect for quiet walks with a view and shopping in the trendy Oxo Tower and snacks with friends. It’s becoming a usual stop of my stays in town.

Whiteley’s

Another department store filmed several times during the movie is Whiteley’s, in the relatively inexpensive neighborhood of Bayswater. I was there only once and only because I saw it in Love Actually …

Lately, the area is theatre to some citizens’ protests to save the mall threatened by a luxury real estate project that would shave it to the ground.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a must-see district, anytime, and is celebrated in all Richard Curtis’ movies. In this comedy, you can see it twice: during the weird Christmas song recording at the Westway Studios in Ladbroke Grove. During the controversial but perfect love declaration by Mark, on Juliet and Peter’s doorstep in St Lukes Mews.

If you followed me on social networks, you might already know that I visited all the mews between November and December, the secondary streets formerly used as stables, and coaches parking lots for the noble downtown residences. They’re scattered everywhere in the city, but this one becomes the most famous and due to the movie even the most expensive one.

I’ve to say that if I could move to London, I’d like to live in one of these low houses giving the illusion to stay in the English countryside…

Downing Street

The legendary number 10 of Downing Street, home to the British Prime Minister, is right downtown, a few minutes walking from Westminster. However, no scene was filmed here, of course, but in a studio.

Who knows what Churchill would have said by attending Hugh Grant’s wild dance …

P.S. A few years ago, I also looked for the “dodgy end of Wandsworth” mentioned by Natalie when describing the neighborhood where she lives with her family. Still, the truth is that the never-ending road searched door by door by Hugh Grant is actually Poplar Road, in Herne Hill, and I’ve never been there.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email