Is there a more feel-good festive film set in London? Richard Curtis's 2003 Christmas classic explores love and relationships in the city and shines the spotlight on some of its prettiest spots. Many of Curtis's films including Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral are set in west London but this cheery movie uses film locations across the city. Wear your heart on your sleeve and put your best foot forward on this Love Actually film tour of London.
Opening and Closing Scenes: Heathrow Airport
The film's opening and closing scenes take place at Britain's busiest airport, Heathrow. It's hard not to feel warm and fuzzy when waiting for someone at the arrivals gate, especially when reciting the opening quote from the Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant: "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that… When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
Intro Sequence: Somerset House
Somerset House features in the film's intro sequence. Each year between November and January, the 18th-century courtyard on the north bank of the Thames transforms into a beautiful ice rink. The festive backdrop provides a popular spot for first dates and for Londoners wanting to get into the Christmas spirit. The courtyard features a giant tree, an apres ski lodge and a Fortnum & Mason shopping arcade.
Peter and Juliet's Wedding Venue: Grosvenor Chapel
Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet's (Keira Knightley) wedding ceremony takes place at Grosvenor Chapel, a pretty Anglican church on South Audley Street in Mayfair that dates back to the 1730s. The couple walk down the aisle to All You Need is Love by The Beatles and the ceremony is filmed by best man, Mark. Grosvenor Church is located between Oxford Street and Hyde Park. Time a trip to see a recital by the choir.
Harry and Karen's Christmas Shopping Trip: St Christopher's Place/Selfridges
Harry (Alan Rickman) meets up with his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) in St Christopher's Place before going Christmas shopping in Selfridge's department store. Lined with boutique stores and home to a central square of restaurants and pubs, St Christopher's Place is tucked behind Oxford Street and makes a pleasant pit stop away from the crowd-packed high street stores. Harry then buys a necklace for his colleague, Mia (Heike Makatsch) at Selfridge's, which is extravagantly wrapped by salesman, Rufus (Rowan Atkinson). Founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the department store dates back to 1909 and features a brilliant food hall, a rooftop restaurant, a champagne and oyster bar and impressive Christmas window displays.
Mark Declares His Love for Juliet: St Lukes Mews, Notting Hill
One of the film's most iconic scenes takes place in Notting Hill, where Mark declares his love for Juliet outside the couple's house (number 27) on St Lukes Mews. He holds up a series of cue cards while Christmas carols are played on a stereo. The pink-colored house is just one of the cute properties that line the gorgeous mews street close to Portobello Road market.
Daniel and His Stepson's Heart to Heart: Gabriel's Wharf, South Bank
Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) have a heart to heart on a bench at Gabriel's Wharf on the South Bank. During the tear-jerking scene, Daniel discovers that his son is (actually) in love. Gabriel's Wharf is a redeveloped wharf on the banks of the Thames close to the Oxo Tower. It's full of independent boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. The bench is located outside the Riviera restaurant.