Showstoppers - London
A melting pot of cultures, nationalities and languages, it’s no wonder London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with a predicted 26 million curious travellers set to pass through in 2022 alone. And there’s plenty to keep them occupied; from the impressive House of Parliament with its iconic Big Ben clock tower and Westminster Abby, to the boujis streets of Notting Hill or Knightsbridge, or the 5,000 acres of Royal Parks, there’s an infinite list of attractions and activities.
Now London has been the backdrop for thousands of films and TV shows over the years. If we were to cover off just a smidgen of them, we would be here until Christmas. Instead, we’re going to focus in on some of the recent award-winning TV shows that have been shot here, starting with Top Boy.
Launching in 2011, the BAFTA winning drama has utilised many spots across East and Southeast London. We’ll start with where it all began – the Summerhouse Estate. The estate has had multiple stand-ins over the years. When the series was on Channel 4, exterior scenes in and around the estate were primarily shot on the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle. However, the estate was demolished in 2014, meaning that when the show returned in 2019 it needed a new home. Since then, exterior scenes have been shot on the Samuda Estate on the Isle of Dogs.
Top Boy’s most famous location however is undoubtedly the greasy spoon café where Dushane does business. In real life the café is the Number One Café at 36-38 Well Street, E9. Located in London Fields, the area is a hotbed for creative and media types who flock there for its hipster packed park, pubs and Olympic sized lido (pack your swimmers!). Promising a very reasonably priced bacon butty and cuppa, you can pull in for a pit-stop on your Top Boy tour.
From one BAFTA winning TV show to another – this time Killing Eve. We’re going to start fancy at the spot where Carolyn was relaxing in the very grand ‘Scarfes Bar’ at the Rosewood Hotel, 252 High Holborn, WC1. The hotel is one of the most refined spots in London, ideal for a late-night cocktail (probably just the one as it’s on the pricier side).
This time we’re travelling across town to Lower Clapton where one of the key characters’ funerals took place (no spoilers!). The scene was filmed in a local pub called the Clapton Hart, 231 Lower Clapton Road, E5. It’s a great example of a traditional London boozer, dating back to the 18th Century. With gorgeous high ceilings inside and a huge beer garden out, you can tuck into a menu of pub classics, washed down with a wide range of craft beers or real ales, whether rain or shine.
Finally, if you can muster the energy, you could visit iconic London club Fabric. The scene where Villanelle stabs Bill in Berlin was actually filmed in the 23-year-old nightclub in Farringdon. Known for its vibrating dance floor attached to a whopping 450 bass transducers, it’s not for the faint hearted, but boasts a stonking line up of world class DJs.
Our final TV show tour is for Michaela Coel’s smash hit I May Destroy You. The story of a young woman who must rebuild her life after her drink is spiked, uses some of London’s busiest urban areas as backdrops.
First off, Arabella’s Hackney flat – and whilst we’re not sure of the exact building, we do know it’s just off the Kingsland Road, Dalston, E2 and E8. A bustling artery, it runs all the way from Stoke Newington to Shoreditch and is packed with independent shops, restaurants and bars – ranging from decades-old small businesses to super cool cocktail bars.
Another area bursting at the seams with dining, nightlife and shopping options is Soho. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the capital’s main entertainment districts since the 19th century and is home to Arabella’s agent who is based in a small alley off D’Arblay Street, W1 (look for the grey/blue shutters).
And so, it’s on to our final stop, a mere stone’s throw from the last – and the scene of Arabella in her dark angel Halloween costume – Carnaby Street. Made famous in the swinging sixties, the iconic street buzzes in the background of the scene, glittering with neon lights and late-night drinkers spilling on to the streets. And it’s not just a late-night spot, with a plethora or shopping and dining options (try Kingly Court), it’s no wonder it’s packed with visitors and London locals’ alike day and night.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind guide to London, and it stands you in good stead for your own show stopping adventure. Share your favourite silver screen locations with us on social using #megabusshowstoppers.
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