We’ve now been on lockdown in the UK for over a month and we don’t have any clear answers on when life will return to “normal”.
In the absence of the city buzz that defines our lives, the power of films set in the capital takes on a whole new dimension.
If you’ve run out of ideas of what to watch, try one of these classic London movies. Even if you’ve already seen them, rewatch them for a reminder of how great a capital city it is.
1. 28 Days Later
We’ll kick off the list with a film that you definitely don’t want to be watching with the kids or if you’re finding lockdown anxiety-inducing.
But if you can stomach it, there’s something extra spooky about seeing a deserted post-apocalyptic London when it has also been deserted in reality. In fact, if you live in central London and want to entertain yourself during your daily outdoor exercise, you could even have a go at recreating the iconic shots of actor Cillian Murphy looking out from an abandoned Westminster Bridge.
2. About Time
If you’re in the mood for more of a feel-good movie, consider the quintessentially British romantic comedy, About Time. The story follows time traveller Tim through his life from leaving his family home to meeting his wife and becoming a father.
You’ll probably recognise many of the filming locations around London, including Notting Hill, Maida Vale tube station, the National Theatre, and Abbey Road. There are also some enviable scenes of Cornwall if you’re in need of a virtual trip to the beach.
3. Hope and Glory
There has been a lot of talk of people needing to pull together and find their “Blitz spirit” in recent months, with some comparing elements of what we’re going through with the difficulties that families faced during World War II.
Hope and Glory follows a young boy growing up in wartime London. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself or your kids from missing out on life right now, this film acts as a good reminder that previous generations went through a lot worse and came out of it stronger.
Looking for a good family movie to watch with the kids? The 2014 Paddington movie is entertaining and hilarious for all ages and is a lovely bit of escapism, following the young bear’s adventures in London. If you enjoy it and want more, Paddington 2 is arguably even better, scoring an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
5. Sliding Doors
If you’re missing your daily tube commute (or not!) why not entertain yourself by watching Gwyneth Paltrow navigate alternate universes in which her life takes completely different turns depending on whether she catches or misses her train.
There’s lots of London to see in this movie, including several stations, Marylebone Road, and Fitzrovia. Plus some fantastic fantasy London flats. It will take you back to the glory days of the late ’90s before social media, let alone social distancing, really existed.