Nothing quite beats that exciting feeling when you see somewhere you have been whilst watching a film. Thankfully for you, if you are making the most of London hotel packages and visiting the city - maybe staying at hotels near Old Street Station - several locations appear frequently in films so you can set yourself up for success in the future and whenever you watch an old film.
This public square in the City of Westminster in Central London is a beloved landmark of the city, erected in 1832 to commemorate the British navy’s victory over the French and the Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars. Since then, it has seen many a passing civilian, horse-drawn carriage, public gathering and street artist. It has also been featured as a set for many films over the years.
FIlm's include 2012’s Skyfall, as the heroic MI6 spy James Bond heads towards the National Gallery to meet Q. There is also the war-is-won victory scene in Captain America: The First Avenger. On the theme of superheroes, you will also recognise the square in Wonder Woman where another victory scene takes place and characters mourn the loss of a comrade. Once you have visited the spot, you will realise just how many films it appears in, even in passing. From Harry Potter to Monty Python, Dr Who to 101 Dalmatians, it has been sprinkled in films throughout history.
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most aesthetic bridges. While London Bridge is arguably the more famous historically, Tower Bridge is people’s go-to landmark when they are picturing iconic London bridge architecture. This suspension bridge that straddles the River Thames has become a symbol of London and once you have visited it and know what it looks like, you will never see the imagery again without thinking fondly of your travels. Especially when it crops up in films - which, inevitably, it regularly does.
Some people’s immediate thoughts might flit to Bridget Jones crossing Tower Bridge in Edge of Reason, while others might be more inclined to think of Lara Croft in a motorcycle car chase over the bridge in Tomb Raider. It is not just older films like Independence Day, but also latest releases like the new Spiderman franchise film, Far From Home. Keep your eyes peeled whenever a new film set in London comes out - it is bound to feature at least a glimpse of this Victorian triumph.
Due to the current construction work being undertaken on Big Ben to restore and improve it, most people know a fair amount about this London landmark. “Big Ben” is the nickname for the Great Bell in the tower at the Palace of Westminster, which until the construction started would chime every hour on the hour. For now, it will chime sporadically on special occasions such as New Year’s or Remembrance Day. This eye-catching, unmissable clock tower is a common feature of many a tourist’s experiences in London, as well as a common feature of many films.
Second star to the right and straight on until morning - the distinct instructions to Neverland using Big Ben as the centre point in Peter Pan. In the same way that Big Ben is this navigational point in Peter Pan, it is similar to its positioning in London, where London unfolds around the Palace of Westminster in the centre. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Thirty Nine Steps features Big Ben heavily, with classic scenes from within the clock tower in the famous clock face race. There is V for Vendetta’s finale scene, another James Bond feature in Spectre and The Avengers. The list goes on and will continue to go on, so it’s worth a visit before you start spotting it in films.
Buckingham Palace is the London-dwelling of the Royal Family, protected by the red-clan guards that have become significant tourism imagery. It is also the administrative headquarters of the monarch as well as a sight to behold in all its gilded glory. It has been a nucleus for British patriarchy, national mourning and celebration throughout history. So it comes as no surprise that it is in numerous films with a British focus - especially those with regal subject matters.
All the obvious ones come to mind - like episodes of The Crown or biopics like The King’s Speech. There are a plethora of historic dramas, such as Victoria & Abdul or The Queen. And then there are, of course, those with a far less royal subject matter, like Jackie Chan’s Shanghai Knights or the animated version in DreamWorks’ Flushed Away. You can know for sure that this incredible British landmark will continue to feature throughout filmmaking, so long as there is a London-based subject matter.
The London Underground train network is expansive and sprawling - an impressive feat of design, technology and transportation services. It is an immaculately mapped out spider-web of tubes and stations, which connects Londoners from north, south, east and west.
Of course, you’ll know all of this if you’re staying near one of the hotels near Old Street Station!
It is highly likely that someone who has got from A to B in London has used one of the multiple underground train lines, be it Central, District or DLR. That means that it is also highly likely that any film based in London would require its characters to use it too.
Picture Daniel Craig as James Bond making his way through a crowded tube at Temple Station, picture Mr Weasley and Harry Potter charging through the turnstiles of Westminster Station in Order of the Phoenix. There is, of course, the hilariously juxtaposed image of Thor, fully armoured at Charing Cross, asking how to get to Greenwich and the unforgettable moment when Gwyneth Paltrow character’s life changes forever on missing her train in Closing Doors.
So when next enjoying the view from your window inside Montcalm Hotels London and exploring the streets of London, take in all the iconic fixtures that are often taken for granted by passers-by. You never know when you are going to be watching something and one of the sights pops into view, triggering that satisfying feeling of recognition. If keeping a constant vigil is a bit too overwhelming a task, then just keep an eye out for these top five locations and you will never find yourself without an ah-ha moment when watching a London-based film.
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