There’s London after which there’s Richard Curtis’s London. The 62-year-old filmmaker has spun the town into a comfy, romantic oasis in back-to-back cinematic hits — from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” to ”Love Actually.” His newest movie is “Yesterday,” a comedy in regards to the enduring energy of the Beatles.
Mr. Curtis was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and moved to England when he was 11. He credit his outsider perspective for the snow globe model of London that he portrays in movies. “I think in some ways it allows you to relish the place you’ve arrived in,” he stated. “I’m accused of giving a very sunny version of London because I do. I take the good and don’t feel too bad about the bad.”
The screenwriter lives with the author and producer Emma Freud in Notting Hill. The neighborhood has been his residence for 25 years.
Early on in his profession, Mr. Curtis stated he determined to write solely about locations he knew and locations he beloved. The first movie he wrote was set in America and, after a disappointing assembly in Los Angeles, the place executives instructed him his dialogue and jokes have been too British, he flew again to London and determined to scrap the venture altogether. “I came home and said I’m never going to write anything that isn’t set in the streets of which I live. And I’ve very nearly lived up to that.”
What London spots encourage him? Here, Mr. Curtis recommends 5 locations.
1. Abbey Road
If you’re fast to write off Abbey Road as a vacationer lure, Mr. Curtis encourages you to suppose once more. The crossing was featured on the quilt of the Beatles’ 11th album, “Abbey Road,” and runs simply subsequent to Abbey Road Studios, a stately wanting, Georgian constructing the place the band recorded 190 of its 210 songs. Mr. Curtis, who did the music recording for “Four Weddings and A Funeral” contained in the studio, identified that it is without doubt one of the few remaining relics of the Beatles period.
“If you go to Strawberry Fields, there’s just nothing. There’s a red gate and, at the moment, there’s nothing behind it. It’s just a strange bit of land,” he stated. “Abbey Road has the cross road, there’s the beautiful studio with the lovely steps leading up to it. It’s satisfyingly real.”
three Abbey Rd; abbeyroad.com
2. Alfred Hitchcock Ceramics
Since 2001, the Leytonstone Station Tube stop has been the home of a colorful, large-scale tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, who grew up just a short distance away in the East London neighborhood of Leytonstone. Sixteen vibrant mosaics, designed by artists at the Greenwich Mural Workshop, are found at the station, each a homage to the director and his films. Mr. Curtis, who is fond of both Hitchcock and ceramic art, stumbled upon the display when he was on his way to watch his son perform at a nearby music gig.
“I was so taken aback that there was this really wonderful thing, which I think people would pay to see if it was put up in an art gallery,” he said.
His favorite is the “North by Northwest” mosaic, which recreates the famous scene of Cary Grant sprinting from a plane, framed with splashes of bright yellow, blue and red tiles.
Leytonstone Tube Station; tfl.gov.uk
3. Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop
For a decade, this bookshop has sat on a lively stretch of Notting Hill, lined with colorfully painted storefronts. Head inside and you’ll find a moment of quiet in the bright, well-organized store. There are intricately folded book pages hanging from the ceiling, handmade painted cards for sale up front, and a winding staircase that leads to more books and a table for reading.
Mr. Curtis, a neighborhood local, likes to browse on the weekends, usually with one of his four children, ages 15, 17, 22 and 24. “I really encourage the kids to go there and buy books because it does make them better people,” he said.
21 Kensington Park Rd; lutyensrubinstein.co.uk
4. Primrose Hill
Make the small uphill trek to the top of Primrose Hill in northwest London and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning, 360-degree panorama of London. The summit — which stands at 206 feet — was used for duels in the 18th century. These days, visitors lounge on the lantern-lined grass, dogs roam, and a circular lookout point offers sweeping views of the city.
It’s also great for sledding. “It’s the place to go when it snows here. It has the perfect curve to take a 7-year-old child,” Mr. Curtis said. “Primrose Hill, the little village, is also really adorable. There’s a gorgeous bookshop there and a lovely Greek restaurant and an amazing old newsagent. It’s a very satisfying day out.”
Primrose Hill Road; royalparks.org.uk
5. British Film Institute, Southbank
There’s a lot of movie magic packed into this glass-sheathed building nestled along the Thames River. The four-screen cinema offers old and contemporary movies and hosts a series of film and television festivals. It also houses the BFI Mediatheque, a free library of more than 30,000 film and television titles, including rare television broadcasts and British cinema classics.
“Backing onto the river is an entrance to the cinema bit, but if you go down the side, there’s this brilliant common space and a brilliant movie bookstore,” Mr. Curtis said. “The other day I went there and they have these very bold series of T-shirts with just the names of women directors.”
Belvedere Road; whatson.bfi.org.uk
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.