View North London Film Location Walk in a larger map
Who needs Hollywood when you’ve got all the glitz and glamour of, well, North London? As we all know you can’t take much of a stroll round this neck of the woods without tripping over film locations (we’ve had Peter O’Toole, Judi Dench and Gregory Peck delivering their lines to camera round our way, to name but a few). So, if you have a couple of hours to spare this weekend, take a walking tour of classic North London spots forever immortalised in film.
Start: Hampstead Heath
Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1974)
Many of the scenes in which King Arthur and his rabble are running about in fields and woodlands were filmed up on Hampstead Heath. Potentially even the scenes with those most shrubbery-obsessed of knights, The Knights Who Say Ni.
Notes On A Scandal (2006)
Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett bond and bicker in this modern classic about a young art teacher who has a brief fling with one of her young Irish male pupils. Classic lines include: ‘you don’t realise how beautiful you are, Miss.’
Nevertheless, there’s one scene where Dame Dench herself and Cate Blanchett have a heart-to-heart on a bench overlooking our fair city, and it’s just up on the lower slopes of Parliament Hill, so give your thighs a work-out and climb up there next.
Near the Lido
The Omen (1976)
Also somewhere up on Parliament Hill, is the spot where darling little Damien is taken for a picnic by his unsuspecting parents before he really gets into the full, demonic swing of things. Head south past the Hampstead Heath Lido towards Gospel Oak overground station.
Heathview Apartments, near Gospel Oak station
Venus is a cracker of a local film. Virtually the whole thing was filmed on location, from the Cabin Cafe on Holmes Road, to Peter O’ Toole riding past Koko with a young Jodie Whitaker poking out of the sunroof. Heathview is where Leslie Philips character, the long-suffering Ian, resides.
Cabin Cafe, Holmes Road
And it’s here, in deepest West Kentish Town, that the Richard Griffiths character, with Leslie Philips and a marvellous Peter O’Toole, like to sit and make fun of each other in their curmudgeonly way.
Onwards now, down through Camden to Regents Park where the Open Air Theatre also stars in the movie. But even with these great credentials, the grand finale of the tour simply has to be…
Regents Park / London Zoo
Withnail and I (1987)
If anyone ever tries to tell you that Withnail isn’t one of the greatest films ever made, just shout ‘I demand to have some booze!‘ in their face and storm off. The emotional climax of the film happens beside the fence that separates London Zoo from Regents Park, where our hero delivers his final soliloquy.
Here’s a Friday game if you have a free moment or two. Why not share with your fellow readers other local spots (perhaps even YouTube links?) immortalised on film? We’ll kick things off with one more: Mike Leigh’s quirky Happy-Go-Lucky, shot everywhere from KOKO to Camden High Street and Archway.
Words & Pics (non movie stills): Mark Williams