A Rom’s Com’s Lover’s Guide to London

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Notting Hill

Every person who is partial to a good old-fashioned Rom-Com will be familiar with London to a certain degree, as so many scenes from famously romantic films have been filmed (or seem to have been filmed but possibly done on set instead) in London. For a Valentine’s Day treat – to be possibly followed by Indian High Tea or a glass of bubbly at the hotel bar – act like the lovers of your favourite films this Valentine’s Day, and check out the locations from these six romantic comedies.

Notting Hill (1999)

If you are staying in accommodation in Kensington London, hop on the number 70 bus from stop GT from Natural History Museum Cromwell Road and ride all the way to Notting Hill’s famous Portobello Road. Here, you find yourself in the heart of Notting Hill, and home to one of the world’s most beloved rom-coms, Notting Hill, starring superstar Julia Roberts (Anna) and bookstore owner Hugh Grant (Will), acting early enough in their careers that it remains a total thrill to watch them now. Portobello Road is where Notting Hill opens, with Will bustling through the busy market, while Japanese restaurant Nobu is where Will and Anna go on a date. Not to mention, 142 Portobello Road is the fictional location of Will’s bookshop but has been turned into an actual one after the film’s success, so go buy a travel book to ensure that once you have finished this rom-com tour, you have plenty more to do!

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

The pattern seems to be developing already – which is that of Hugh Grant in London based rom-coms. However, instead of the somewhat nerdy and nervous Will of Notting Hill, he plays the devilishly rogue bad-boy (Daniel) in Bridget Jones’s Diary, starring Rene Zelwegger as the hopelessly-single and ever-embarrassing Bridget. Bridget and Daniel work in Central London at a publishing house – as is evident by her hustle across Tower Bridge in her black mini skirt to get to work on time. The famous fight scene in the fountain between Mark Darcey (Bridget’s knight in shining armour, played by Colin Firth) and Daniel starts outside Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery and finishes grandly in the fountain in Kensington Gardens, making that an easy location to visit for those staying in Hotels in Kensington London.

Love, Actually (2003)

Yes, indeed – another London rom-com starring Hugh Grant at the Prime Minister of England, who would have guessed it? Love Actually is a best-loved Christmas film but also a world-class rom-com that dopey-eyed romantics at heart will be watching for a while to come. Selfridges is the famous department store in which the late Alan Rickman (Harry) buys his assistant a beautiful necklace, instead of his lovely wife Emma, played by Emma Thompson. 10 Downing Street is of course the political residence of Grant as Prime Minister, which members of the public can’t visit but it is always an interesting exterior to admire. Grosvenor Chapel is where Peter and Juliet (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kiera Knightly) are married, and The Queen’s Walk with a view of Tower Bridge is where the young Thomas Brodie-Sangster confesses his burning love for his classmate. While love is all around this February, so are Love, Actually film locations in London. Get hunting!

About Time (2013)

Given that this is a slightly newer rom-com, it does not, in fact, star Hugh Grant – but that is not to say that this isn’t one of the best rom-coms set in London to date, featuring time travelling, love, loss and the side-splitting laughs characteristic of the genre. Mary (Rachel Adams) and Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) both live in London. Tim lives in Queen’s Park, while Mary lives in Notting Hill and the two meet for the first time in the restaurant Dans Le Noir? which is a restaurant in Soho in the film, but in Clerkenwell in real life. Tim goes to see his roommate Harry’s play at The Old Vic in Waterloo.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

A classic London rom-com often forgotten about, given that it centers around fierce female friendship as well as familial loyalty and sports, is the classic Bend It Like Beckham, starring Parminder Nagra (Jesminda or “Jess”), and Kiera Knightly (Juliette or “Jules”). Jess is the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs living in London, and while all she wants is to be a footballer who can bend the ball like footballer David Beckham (who happens to live with his family in Notting Hill, too), her family would far prefer if she were to find a husband and learn to cook like is customary. Instead, she bends the rules and joins a local women’s football team, which is filmed on the Hounslow Harriers practice pitch. Jess sneaks away to buy new football boots on Soho’s Carnaby Street. The wedding scenes at the end of the film are in the Sikh temple in Notting Hill.

Last Christmas (2019)

Last, but certainly not least, is the recent Christmas-time release, Last Christmas starring Emilia Clarke as Kate. Kate is a Londoner who dresses as an elf in a London department store over the festive season. Famous places that are recognisable in the film include Cecil Court, Oxford Street and Covent Garden. The whole film centres around London, meaning they are in and out of a whole range of places, with Kate and her lover skating in Somerset House, shopping on Brick Lane and strolling through the snowy Phoenix Gardens. Not to mention, the featured St Mary’s Hospital – but we will hold off on spoilers in case you have yet to watch this latest yuletide rom-com.

So, if you spend your evenings snuggled up with popcorn and a rom-com on the telly usually, and don’t fancy doing that when making the most of Special Offers London Hotels, then this tour will allow you to merge that passion with an outdoor tour of the city. This guide enables you to see all the scenes from the screen in their natural habitat, with people going about their everyday business.

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