Notting Hill (1999)
If the love story between gawky and dapper small-time bookshop owner William Thacker (Hugh Grant) and A-List Hollywood star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) makes you hyperventilate, then it’s high time you (re-)visit Notting Hill. The heart of the film is the colourful Portobello Road Market, complete with landmarks such as the famous blue door, Coronet Cinema, Rosmead Gardens and Japanese restaurant Nobu, where the couple go out to eat. Get your fix with an outdoor screening at Holland Park Opera, courtesy of Luna Cinema.
What A Girl Wants (2003)
If your idea of a summer frolic is laughing at upper-class London folk, seeing a fashion show at Greenwich College and going on a motorbike ride through iconic London, you can take inspiration from this girl power flick. What A Girl Wants is about freewheeling New York teen Daphne (Amanda Bynes), who flies herself to London to find her long-lost dad, Sir Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth). As a bonus, it is also your royal invitation to watch Colin Firth dance in tight leather trousers and listen to Kelly Preston’s cover of Celine Dion’s Because You Loved Me.
Imagine Me & You (2005)
Fly your rainbow flag this summer with a heated romance between not-so-straight bride-to-be Rachel (Piper Perabo) and her lesbian florist crush Luce (Lena Headey). Romance is in the air in London’s Primrose Hill neighbourhood as Imagine Me & You does justice to the area’s pretty quarters. And if you like your movies with a whiff of trivia, know that ‘Flowered Up’ used to be a pottery shop belonging to leading potter and gay rights campaigner Emmanuel Cooper.
Run, Fatboy, Run (2007)
‘Fatboy’ Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg) is a great source of inspiration for our summer ambitions, even if they’re far removed from finishing a Nike River Run in order to win back the fiancée, running around Hackney or working as a security guard in Spitalfields. By all means, go and enjoy an ‘English breakfast with extra English breakfast’ at FleaPit on Columbia Road. Run, Fatboy, Run is a cinematic tour de force of the city’s most popular locations, all under the watchful London Eye, which sees Dennis run late into the starry night.
Made in Dagenham (2010)
Fresh out of Ford’s factory in Dagenham comes the true story of Made in Dagenham, an upbeat Brit flick about 187 women machinists who stage a three-week strike in a fight for Equal Pay. Accompany feisty factory girls Sally Hawkins, Jaime Winstone, Geraldine James and Rosamund Pike through historical locations such as the Civic Centre and Farmhouse Pub in Dagenham, and Newington Green’s Working Men’s Club and give ‘em a big up as they take their fight to Parliament Square in central London.
Summer is all about adrenaline — and in the 23rd film in the Bond series, Skyfall, the rush starts a meeting between Bond (Daniel Craig) and his aide Q (Ben Whishaw) at the National Portrait Gallery. When he returns from Shanghai, Bond goes on a mad chase after Silva (Tiago Rodriguez), which sees him journey all over London; on the Tube, around the Old Vic Tunnels and at the Virgin Active pool at Four Seasons Hotel in Canary Wharf. You’ll want to don your best suit for this one!
You don’t need to own an Azagury outfit to enjoy the summer if you choose to spend it in the bittersweet company of Diana. The film features ‘The Queen of Hearts’ (Naomi Watts) as she seeks true happiness during the final two years of her life. Kick off your shoes and step into her Kensington Palace apartment, tag along on a jog in Kensington Gardens, visit the Royal Opera House and meet with Hasnat Khan in Primrose Hill. ‘Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden’. We ‘will meet you there’.
Gone Too Far! (2013)
Peckham is where it’s at this summer, as the area is the setting for Bola Agbaje’s Gone Too Far! This dramedy shows a day in the life of London boy Yemi (Malachi Kirby), who’s meeting his older brother Iku (OC Ukeje) from Nigeria for the first time. Drawing on the director’s Nigerian background and Peckham upbringing, this witty and hilarious movie features places such as Peckham Library and The Bussey Building. It certainly paints a picture of an area which has come a long way from Only Fools and Horses or Desmond’s.
Driving Lessons (2006)
This summer, you might want to get your Driving Lessons and travel to that magic yet complicated land called adolescence. Jeremy Brock’s semi-autobiographical tale is the perfect road trip companion, showing the leafy and bike-friendly areas of Hampstead and Highgate. Thumbs up also to that pretty Georgian house in Greenwich where eccentric actress Evie (Julie Walters) lives. She manages to save a shy, poetry-writing 17-year-old Ben (Rupert Grint) from his controlling mum via a drive up to the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
London, Mon Amour (Mes amis, mes amours) (2008)
They say London is the 6th biggest French city, so you can rely on this cute French flick, London, Mon Amour, to show you why. It focuses on Mathias (Vincent Lindon) and Antoine (Pascal Elbé), two divorced expats living in South Kensington’s French quarter. They’re charming and funny, and they develop quite the bromance while learning about fatherhood. Mais oui, the French London shown here will ultimately make you pine for a walk in the sun around all the chic boutiques and brasseries on ‘Frog Alley’.