Happy Valentine’s Day! For some that means all the clichés: card, flowers, chocolates, a romantic dinner with 23 other couples in a candlelit restaurant.
For others it’s an excuse to Bridget Jones or watching Four Weddings and a Funeral for the 103rd time. We know which way we’d rather spend the evening.
That’s why we were tickled by a marketing campaign by those imaginative folk at Premier Inn. As an alternative to the dinner and roses option, they’ve suggested a whistle-stop tour of rom-com locations in London.
The best thing about this plan? You don’t need a lover or to do it on Valentine’s Day at all. We reckon Bridget would get her mates together and pose for embarrassing selfies in front of Notting Hill’s most famous front door, possibly after a fortifying glass of wine or three.
Shakespeare in Love – The Rose Theatre, Bankside
All the way back in 1998, we were treated to the multi-Oscar winner, Shakespeare in Love. Young Will (Joseph Fiennes) is struggling to write a play called Romeo and Ethel until he falls in love with Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow), an aristocrat who defies convention to pursue a career in acting.
The Rose Theatre in the film, where we see some of the most romantic and passionate scenes, was a purpose-built film set. The real Rose Theatre, which was built before The Globe Theatre, was where Shakespeare would have premiered his earliest plays. It was rediscovered in the 1950s during building work on London’s South Bank and you can now visit the historic remains of The Rose, which are just around the corner from the Globe and host a variety of performances.
For more information: roseplayhouse.org.uk
Notting Hill – William Thacker’s blue front door
Will Thacker (aka Hugh Grant’s hapless bookshop owner) lives at 280 Westbourne Park Road and many scenes in the 1999 rom-com Notting Hill feature his blue front door (the big one on the right). Our favourite has to be his eccentric flatmate Spike (Rhys Ifans) posing in his pants in front of the press photographers after they discover famous actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) has stayed over.
The home behind the blue door was once owned by the film’s screenwriter Richard Curtis. By the time the film came out, it had new owners who decided to paint the iconic door black because of the film’s popularity. Since then, the home changed hands again and it’s been painted blue once more.
Four Weddings and a Funeral – Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich
It was 1994 when Four Weddings was released. That’s over two decades ago!
The Old Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich is where we see wedding number two, between Bernard and Lydia. The Old Royal Naval College has actually featured in a plethora of other films such as Les Miserables, The Madness of King George, Tomb Raider, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Duchess and lots more. It’s absolutely stunning and definitely worth a visit.
For more information: ornc.org/chapel
Bridget Jones’ Diary – Bridget’s flat, London Bridge
Head down to gourmet Borough Market and, on your way, look out for The Globe on Bedale Street. Above this pub is where Bridget’s fabulous little flat was, where she famously made blue soup and where Mr Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) told Bridget (lucky Renée Zellweger) he loved her for the first time.
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