16 filming locations in London that you can visit for free [UPDATED for 2017!]

From Sherlock season four to The King’s Speech and Black Books, here are 16 of the best London film locations that won’t cost you a penny to visit.

1. Inception

Inception filming location: Flaxman Gallery at the Art Museum, UCL, Bloomsbury
Picture credits: Warner Bros / Gnesener1900 on Wikimedia Commons

Where: Flaxman Gallery at UCL Art Museum, Gower Street

What: The gallery where Miles (Michael Caine) introduces Cobb (Leonardo Dicaprio) to Ariadne (Ellen Page)

The Flaxman Gallery at the UCL campus in Bloomsbury is open to the public Monday to Friday 1pm-5pm during term time. Find out more about the museum at the UCL website.

Also at UCL, the lecture theatre in ‘Paris’ where Cobb visits Miles in a previous scene is actually the university’s Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre in the Wilkins Building, Gower Street.

Nearest Tube: Euston Square

2. Sherlock season four

Sherlock The Lying Detective filming location, London: Byng Place, Bloomsbury
Picture credits: BBC / A Peace of London

Where: Byng Place, Bloomsbury

What: Square where Sherlock eats chips with Faith in season four, episode two

Church of Christ the King in Bloomsbury (and two of the three phone boxes that sit alongside it) is clearly visible in this shot from The Lying Detective. The bus stop where Sherlock talks to Faith about her note must have been added for filming, since there’s no bus stop down this way (or buses, for that matter).

Also featured in series four are Vauxhall Bridge, Borough Market, the London Aquarium, the MI6 Building, Ofcom in Riverside House, the South Bank Centre, Jubilee Gardens, Golden Jubilee Bridge and Festival Hall.

Find out more about the quiet spots of Bloomsbury here.

Nearest Tube: Euston Square or Russell Square

3. Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides & others

Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides filming location: Old Royal Naval College, London
Picture credits: Disney Enterprises Inc / Nick Bramhall on Flickr

Where: Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

What: Hall where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is dragged by guards

The dramatic landscape and buildings of the ORNC are a perfect backdrop for drama on the big screen, as proven by the number of films shot here.

As well as this scene in Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides, the Painted Hall has also featured in The Iron Lady (standing in for Paris again) and the ORNC grounds have appeared in Les Misérables, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Octopussy, Sense and Sensibility, The Madness Of King George, Four Weddings And A Funeral, Finding Neverland and The Queen among others (find a full list at the ORNC website).

The Painted Hall at ORNC features in my list of beautiful places in London (without the crowds) here.

Nearest Tube: Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich / Greenwich

4. Sherlock season two

Sherlock 'Reichenbach Falls' location at St Barts Hospital
Picture credits: BBC / A Peace of London

Where: St Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE

What: The car park and roof of St Bart’s, where Watson (Martin Freeman) watches Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) jump to his ‘death’ in season two, episode three

This infamous scene in The Reichenbach Fall was filmed on location at the actual St Bart’s in West Smithfield; follow the signs to Henry VIII Gate and you’ll be there. Alas, this corner of the hospital is now covered in graffiti, thanks to Sherlock fans who flocked here after the episode was first aired, which is a shame considering that the building was built several hundred years before Sherlock Holmes was a glint in Conan Doyle’s eye.

If you can’t resist running round the car park shouting “Sherlock!!” a la John Watson, just watch out for cars/buses.

Nearest Tube: St Paul’s or Farringdon

5. The King’s Speech

King's Speech filming location: Avenue Gardens, Regent's Park, London
Picture credits: Momentum Pictures / A Peace of London

Where: Avenue Gardens, Regent’s Park

What: Gardens where Prince Albert (Colin Firth) and Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) speak – you can see a quick glimpse of the scene about 1m 25secs into the trailer.

To get there,  start at Regent’s Park or Great Portland Street tube stations and walk towards the Outer Circle on Park Square East/West to explore the regal and very wonderful Avenue Gardens straight ahead of you. The location for the scene you can see in the trailer (above) is on the far left of the gardens, near the white seating shelter.

Nearest Tube: Regent’s Park or Great Portland Street

More information: www.royalparks.org.uk

6. Sherlock Holmes

Where: The catacombs of Brompton Cemetery

What: Burial site of Lord Blackwood

This scene in the first film of Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster series was filmed at Brompton Cemetery in west London, just outside the suitably spooky catacombs that line the avenue. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jnr) and John Watson (Jude Law) come here to investigate after Blackwood is ‘resurrected’.

Learn more about the history of Brompton Cemetery, including details about the notable people who are actually buried there.

Nearest station: West Brompton / Fulham Broadway

7. Shaun Of The Dead

Picture credits: Universal Pictures / Google Maps
Picture credits: Universal Pictures / Google Maps

Where: Weston Park Grocery, 96 Weston Park, Crouch End

What: The shop where Shaun buys Cornettos

‘The Winchester’ might be long gone, but you can still buy a Cornetto at the corner shop where Shaun starts to notice the zombie carnage spreading towards the start of the film.

As with all the shops in this list, if you’re going to pay a visit, buy something for their trouble and ask permission before taking any pictures.

Nearest station: Hornsey

8. Love Actually

Love Actually bench scene ('total agony') in Gabriels Wharf, London
Picture credit: Universal Pictures / A Peace of London

Where: Gabriel’s Wharf (outside The Wharf restaurant), 56 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP

What: The bench on which Daniel (Liam Neeson) and Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) talk about the ‘total agony of being in love’. The actual bench is the third one to the left of the curved gate (straight ahead of you when you stand outside the restaurant).

St Paul’s Cathedral was presumably ‘moved’ in post-production, since it seems a lot closer to the camera in this scene than it does in real-life (above right), yet you can clearly see the restaurant and other buildings behind it when you watch the clip.

When you’re done here, hop on the Jubilee line to Bond Street, where you’ll find another of the film’s free filming locations: Selfridges. The scene where Harry (Alan Rickman) tries to buy a necklace from Rowan Atkinson’s eccentric shop assistant character was filmed here.

Other locations are Grosvenor Chapel in South Audley Street, Mayfair, which is where Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) wedding was filmed, and , of course, Heathrow Airport, where the film opens and closes to accompany Hugh Grant’s voiceover.

Nearest Tube: Westminster

9. Mr Selfridge

Mr Selfridge filming location: Royal College of Organists, 26 Kensington Gore, London
Picture credits: ITV / A Peace of London

Where: 26 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2ET

What: Exterior Shots of Harry Selfridge’s house

This ornate 19th-century building is currently being leased by the Royal College of Organists but leads a double life as a stand-in for Mr Selfridge’s (Jeremy Piven) home. The real-life Harry Selfridge lived in Arlington Street near Green Park.

While you’re in the area, pop around the corner to see Queen Alexandra’s House, used in The X Files and Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (see #7, below).

Nearest Tube: South Kensington, High Street Kensington or Knightsbridge

10. Black Books

Black Books TV film location: Collinge & Clarke, Leigh Steet, London
Picture credits: Channel 4 / sneugle. on Flickr

Where: Collinge & Clark bookshop, 13 Leigh Street, London WC1H 9EW

What: Exterior shots of the Black Books shop

This filming location is actually a bookshop, and it is actually black, although I’m sure the staff are much friendlier than in the TV series. And it’s much more organised inside than Bernard’s store. If you do go in, be nice and buy something – they sell rare and specialist books and there are bargains to be had in the basement, too.

Nearest Tube: Russell Square or Euston

More information: www.collingeandclark.co.uk

11. Four Weddings and a Funeral & others

Four Weddings and a Funeral - St Bartholemew the Great church
Picture credits: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment / remittance girl on Flickr

Where: St Bartholemew The Great, Smithfield, EC1

What: This east-end church has had screentime in so many films that it might be considered Oscar-worthy. Its impressive portfolio includes Four Weddings and a Funeral (as the church in the fourth wedding), Shakespeare in Love, Amazing Grace, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, Snow White and the Huntsman, Sherlock Holmes (as the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral) and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, as well as the BBC’s Richard II.

The building still functions as a church and visitors are welcome, but if you visit when a service is in progress you won’t be able to go into the main part of the church. More information is available on their website.

Nearest Tube: Barbican

More information: www.greatstbarts.com

12. Sleepy Hollow / GoldenEye / Tomorrow Never Dies

Somerset House, film location for Sleepy Hollow
Picture credits: Paramount Pictures / brianac37 on Flickr

Where: Somerset House

What: St Petersburg square in GoldenEye, the Ministry Of Defence in Tomorrow Never Dies and turn-of-the-century Manhattan in Sleepy Hollow.

Somerset House is quite the multi-talented location: as well as appearing as itself in the opening scenes of Love Actually (with the ice rink) it also plays the part of other buildings in two Bond movies and the Johnny Depp horror Sleepy Hollow.

Nearest Tube: Temple

More information: www.somersethouse.org.uk

13. 28 Days Later

29 Days Later filming location: Westminster Bridge and Big Ben
Picture credits: DNA Films / A Peace of London

Where: Westminster Bridge

What: Shots of Jim’s walk across the deserted bridge

Starting at the London Eye side, walk across the bridge towards Big Ben to recreate the infamous scene of devastation (with a few more tourists in the way, obviously).

Nearest Tube: Westminster

14. Sherlock (all series)

Sherlock filming location: 221B Baker Street in North Gower Street
Picture credits: BBC / givingnot@rocketmail.com on Flickr

Where: 187 North Gower Street, London, NW1 2NJ

What: Exterior shots of 221B Baker Street

Not only can you stand right outside the door where Sherlock and Watson’s adventures played out, but you can also buy a cuppa in Speedy’s Cafe next door, where Watson met with Mycroft in season two’s A Scandal In Belgravia.

There are, of course, many other Sherlock filming locations that are completely free to visit. The brilliant Sherlockology website has a full list.

Nearest Tube: Warren Street, Euston Square or Euston

15. The X Files / Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Where: Queen Alexandra’s House, Bremner Road, Kensington Gore SW7 2QT

What: The location for Mulder’s meeting with the elders and Control’s flat

Overlooking the Albert Hall and just round the corner from Mr Selfridge’s home (see above) is the site of not one but two filming locations. Queen Alexandra’s House is currently used as secure accommodation for women but gave its image to both The X Files and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy movies.

Nearest Tube: South Kensington, High Street Kensington or Knightsbridge

16. Bridget Jones’ Diary

Bridget Jones' Diary filming locations: the Globe pub in Borough Market
Picture credits: Miramax / Pedro Figueiredo on Flickr

Where: The Globe pub, 8 Bedale Street (just off Borough Market), London SE1 9AL

What: Exterior shots of the entrance to Bridget’s flat

The area surrounding this famous filming location has suffered a bit thanks to the building of Borough Viaduct, which now blocks the top of the pub, but the area surrounding the entrance to the flat (where Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver’s fight ends on the table of the restaurant opposite) has thankfully stayed much the same.

Daniel Cleaver’s flat is also just around the corner at Clink Wharf Apartments in Clink Street and the location for the final kiss with Mark Darcy is at the Royal Exchange in Cornhill. Much of the surrounding area was used for scenes in the original movie and the sequel: the excellent movie-locations.com has more details.

Nearest Tube: London Bridge

Images used under Creative Commons license by sneugle., remittance girlbrianac37givingnot@rocketmail.com and Pedro Figueiredo on Flickr.

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