Awards Season, one of my favourite times of the year, is finally coming to an end and it’s inspired me to post some of my fave film locations I’ve visited in and around London. Because if there is one talent I have, it’s spotting real-life locations in movies and shows, and lucky for me, London is one of the best open-air filming locations in the world.
Charing Cross Ghost Station
Seeing a scene set on the Underground? Chances are it was filmed on the ghost platforms at Charing Cross Station. And we don’t mean they’re haunted, but this is the term for abandoned platforms on the Tube. While films like Creeper, Skyfall and Morbius have all used the place, one of the most well-known scenes that were shot here is Thor: The Dark World, where Thor gets transported to in the middle of a fight at Charing Cross tube station and asks a commuter for directions to Greenwich. You can only access it during special tours. Historic scenes are also often done at nearby Aldwych Station.
A building that seems to be built for backdrops is Freemasons Hall, and once you’ve visited it will be clear why! The building is a versatile filming spot that can be used for many scenes, including those set in the past, future, and even fantasy worlds. The list of films that have been shot here is long and includes popular titles such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Assassin’s Creed.
Another one that’s used a lot for filming is Senate House. Designed by Charles Holden and opened in 1937, the Senate House serves as the Art Deco hub of administration for the University of London and a filming location for a lot of shows and movies. From the Batman Trilogy to Killing Eve and The Crown, film and TV makers seem to be big fans of what the interiors and exteriors can offer here.
Moving on to the nearby Lincoln’s Inn, this complex dates back to 1422 and is the oldest and largest among the four Inns of Court. It’s another location that can be transferred into anything: the diverse architecture, picturesque gardens, timeless squares and grand halls make it a perfect filming location. Plus, the fact it’s mostly private means they don’t have to worry too much about passersby. Wonder Woman, Downton Abbey and the Sandman have scenes filmed at the complex. One of my favorite London’s libraries also doubles as Lucien’s Library.
The streets of Soho have been recently featured in One Night In Soho, the Sherlock Holmes TV series and most recently See How They Run. During the second lockdown, a number of iconic locations in London’s West End were used as filming locations for the movie including the theatre where the play from the movie is still shown to this day.
Richmond has been featured in National Treasure, The Sandman and Finding Neverland. But Ted Lasso is really making use of the borough: the exterior of Ted’s flat, his local pub, and the Green are all located in the same area of Richmond. However, the AFC Richmond’s fictional home ground in the series is actually Selhurst Park stadium, which is home to Crystal Palace club in South Norwood and on the street I lived when I first moved to London.
Somerset House’s square is a popular filming location and its exterior features in numerous films and TV shows and often doubles for other locations. In GoldenEye it stood in for St Petersburg, in Sleepy Hollow it doubled for Manhattan and in X-Men: First Class it portrayed Geneva in Switzerland.
Osterley Park House
Osterley Park House has been used as a filming spot for shows and movies since the 1940s and you might have seen it in Young Victoria, Mansfield Park or Alan Partridge. But I mainly recognised it as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan filmed quite a few scenes there including in the gorgeous Entrance Hall.
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace, the former residence of King Henry VIII, has been a popular place for the shooting, with its magnificent architecture serving as a stunning backdrop in various TV shows and movies including The Favourite, The Great, and Bridgerton. You can see the different nooks and crannies of the palace in almost every scene that features Queen Charlotte. I can also imagine it’s going to be featuring on the spin-off Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.