Why is London Proving to be Such a Popular Filming Location for Famous Films?

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While Hollywood is seen as the home of the silver screen, London has become one of the most popular filming locations in the last decade. From its rich history and diverse culture, the English capital can be seen in many of our favourite blockbusters.

It isn’t just famous landmarks that are featured, an infographic from Ideal Insight recently revealed that the London underground is heavily featured on our screens.

Why Are Popular Films Being Filmed In London? 


From museums and galleries to landmarks and green spaces, London has a lot to offer when it comes to filming locations.

What’s more, the nightlife in London is constant, every night of the week both tourists and locals can be seen enjoying the many bars and restaurants London has to offer. On the flip side, despite being so heavily populated, there are many quieter areas.

This means that London can host various film sets, no matter what tone or period they are wanting to portray. Alongside this, the cast and crew are given fantastic locations to enjoy their time off, no matter what their preference is.


It can be costly to fly film crew around the world and can quickly lead to films going over budget. London is the home to thousands of experienced and talented crew members, alongside actors who are available for short-term work, such as film extras.

Not only does this bring costs down, but London crew members are famous for their exceptional attitude towards their craft and bringing a movie location to the city means that filmmakers have access to some of the best in the world without having to pay for flight and accommodation expenses.


Camera, lighting and other essentials are incredibly costly. Skimping out on the best equipment can lead to a poor quality film and even the best scripts and actors can not save a movie from poor reviews if the right tools haven’t been used.

With such large numbers of films being produced in England’s capital, hire companies for these items are plentiful.

Not only does this reduce the cost of having to purchase these items, but with them being so readily available, transport costs are reduced and many items can be delivered within a matter of hours.

Should anything malfunction, engineers can be on-set within minutes in many locations of London, reducing downtime and ensuring filming remains to schedule.

Tax Incentives

Even films with the biggest budget need to watch the pennies. The city of London offers a tax incentive to all filmmakers, something that isn’t on offer anywhere else in the world. Filmmakers can see anything from 20%-25%of their entire budget returned to them should they film in London. With the movie industry spending millions for each production, this is a substantial sum.

On top of this, the UK offers a percentage refund for the cash paid to talent, both cast and crew.

Popular London Filming Locations

Tube Stations

Anybody who has visited London in their lifetime would have made use of the London underground. It is iconic and any film wanting to feature London in the modern world would want to make use of the platforms.

Films that have featured the underground include:

  • Paddington (2014)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
  • Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
  • V for Vendetta (2005)
  • Rogue One (2016)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Atonement (2007)
  • Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Doctor Who (1986)


One of the most picturesque areas of London, many films have taken place here including:

  • Nottinghill (1999)
  • Paddington (2014)
  • Paddington 2 (2017)
  • The Italian Job (1969)

St Paul’s Cathedral

From modern to period pieces, the famous cathedral provides an amazing backdrop for many films:

  • Mission: Impossible -Fallout (2018)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009)
  • Run, Fat Boy, Run (200&
  • Doomsday (2008)

Tower Bridge

The bridge located near The Tower of London has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, including:

  • Killing Eve (2018-2022)
  • Mission: Impossible (1996)
  • Trainspotting (1996)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
  • London Has Fallen (2016)
  • The Elephant Man (1980)
  • The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Borough Market

The famous food market provides an ideal filming location, not just for the market itself, but it’s the ease of access and uncommon market roof, ideal for a rainy London:

  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
  • 101 Dalmatians (1996)
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
  • What a Girl Wants (2003)
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

Westminster Bridge

The bridge is an icon for the London skyline and is featured in the following:

  • Doctor Who (2005-)
  • 28 Days Later (2002)
  • Skyfall (2012)
  • Spectre (2015)
  • Die Another Day (2002)
  • Get Him To The Greek (2010)
  • Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
  • Wimbledon (2004)

Despite the long list above, these films and TV shows are simply a fraction of the productions that have taken place in London. While New York still takes the top spot for movie locations, London isn’t far behind.

It will be interesting to see how the filming industry reacts once the pandemic is over, with such huge financial benefits to moving a film to London, perhaps we will see a switch over the next few years and London could take the spot as the movie capital of the world.

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