I thought I would put together a little run-down of some of the most iconic British movies to watch before moving to London. Some of the films are set in London, some are set around parts of the lovely British countryside. Both are equally as important to learn about before moving to London! This list consists of some absolute classics & some others that you may not have heard of. The idea is to give you a quick run-down to give you some British culture in the lead up to moving to London. Here is a list of movies to watch before travelling to London.
1. Notting Hill (1999)
A classic romantic comedy film set in London. Notting Hill is set in one of London’s most lively neighbourhoods. The film brilliantly captures the buzz of Notting Hill, its colourful streets and quirky local markets on the famous Portobello Road. Follow the story of a humble bookseller (played by Hugh Grant) who catches the eye of famous actress (Julia Roberts) in a hilarious and heartfelt comedy. A classic British movie to watch.
2. Love Actually (2003)
If it’s Christmas time, Love Actually is an absolute must-watch British movie. Feel the love in the air with this romantic comedy that beautifully weaves the stories of various Londoners leading up to Christmas. You will see iconic sights such as the River Thames, Trafalgar Square and heartwarming moments at Heathrow Airport. This film is certainly a love letter to the city and its people. If you are like me and love a good British rom-com, this is one to watch before moving to London.3. Harry Potter Movies (2001-2011)
The less I say the better really. If you haven’t watched Harry Potter films, where have you been?! Now is the time. All the movies are a must watch before moving to London. Not all of it is based in London but the franchise is deeply tied in the city. You can see if you can spot locations from the films like King’s Cross Station and Leadenhall Market. Also, if you want to visit Edinburgh with us, we go on a guided walk through the streets of the old town, some of author J.K. Rowling’s inspired locations. Check it out.4. Hot Fuzz (2007)
I’ve added this to the list because it is one of my favourite action comedies. The film is set in a picturesque English village and showcases not just the stunning countryside but also the quirky British characters you may come across in these types of places (dramatised, of course!) While the main action occurs in a fictional village, some locations in the film are in the town of Wells. Hot Fuzz is a hilarious British movie to watch before moving to London.5. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
A British cultural icon navigates the world of love. It’s one we can all relate to and a go-to watch before moving to London. Follow the life of Bridget Jones on her quest to find love. The film takes you through the hustle and bustle of London while exploring the ice of a very relatable and loveable character.6. The King’s Speech (2010)
To really experience the historic grandeur of London through this film set in the 1930s, you must watch The King’s Speech before moving to London. It is centred around the story of King George VI and shows iconic places like Buckingham Palace and Westminster. It beautifully captures the city’s historical essence.
7. About Time (2013)
This romantic film is set in Cornwall, but a lot of it is located around the Maida Vale area of London. So many charming spots, the film is sweet and also a bit of a sad one.8. James Bond – Skyfall (2012)
Britain’s most famous spy, James Bond is a film franchise you must get to know. Many of the James Bond movies are iconic and world renowned. There are countless locations all around the world but with MI6 (equivalent to the CIA) headquarters are in London, there are plenty of meetings in London eg at the National Gallery, chases through the underground tunnels. It’s one of my favourite Bond movies so give it a watch. Let the Skyfaaaall!
9. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
A proper East London comedy, action movie by Guy Richie. A belter for hearing some old cockney accents.
10. Rye Lane (2023)
I thought I’d finish this list with a more recent film that I really enjoyed watching recently. It’s called Rye Lane, it’s really charming and sweet. I won’t give away anything else.
Stay tuned for a follow up blog on British TV shows to watch.