The list, London.
This is not your typical list of tired, old, beaten up travel books. No. This is the list… a must-watch, must-read, must-follow rundown of London. These people, movies and books will inspire your London adventure — even if your mode of transportation is ‘armchair’.
It would be borderline sacrilegious to even consider a visit to London without watching a Hugh Grant film (after all, he’s just a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to complete her British education and watch him on the big screen). Here are the Hugh-highlights!
This Richard Curtis Christmas film is a gift that keeps on giving, all year round. Starring everyone from Alan Rickman to Colin Firth, and Keira Knightley to Emma Thompson, there are more iconic moments than you can poke a stick at. This is the movie equivalent of a warm hug… or maybe it’s just the possibility of a world where Hugh Grant could be Prime Minister that makes us feel toasty inside…
Bridget Jones’s Diary.
He’s been a Prime Minister, a bookstore owner, and everything in between, but my favourite Hugh Grant is his portrayal of dirty rotten scoundrel, Daniel Cleaver. With its blue soup, awkward speeches and miniature gherkins, Bridget Jones’s Diary is one of the most iconic chick flicks of all time. It’s safe to say there’s a little bit (or a lot) of Bridget Jones in all of us.
Is there anything more endearing than Grant’s stuttering bookstore owner William Thacker and Julia Roberts’ American actress Anna Scott? No, there is not. The film was a blockbuster in 1999, has probably done more for tourism in West London and — you guessed it — Notting Hill than anything else.
Four Weddings and a Funeral.
You will definitely not be sick of Hugh Grant after watching that trifecta of films. So watch Four Weddings and a Funeral. Created by the high priest of romantic comedies, Richard Curtis, it’s where the Hugh-train started and the perfect conclusion to your Hugh-marathon.
Through Disney’s idyllic lens, London became a technicolour wonderland, with dancing chimney sweeps, friendly ladies who can talk to birds, and just a spoonful of sugar. The real London is certainly a bit grittier, but it’s fun to think that the glossy cityscape of Mary Poppins exists somewhere — if only in our imaginations.
Mary Poppins Returns.
We are also enamoured with the more recent Mary Poppins Returns. The naysayers said a new film version would never work… but it does. The music is brassier. There are nice references to the original. The kids are a little less twee. The storyline is sort of about housing debt (relatable) and there’s Meryl Streep. Most importantly, Mary Poppins is Emily Blunt. Spit spot people, spit spot!
In pop culture at the moment, there’s nobody taking the world by storm quite as much as Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Her Emmy award-winning series follows dry-witted ‘Fleabag’ as she navigates life and love in London while trying to cope with tragedy. It’ll have you in stitches one minute, and wiping away tears the next.
Also from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and like Fleabag, you wonder if it can possibly live up to the hype surrounding it. Well, it does. Killing Eve is rich with comedy, tragedy and thrills. Come for the insane chemistry between the main characters… stay for Villanelle’s unbelievable outfits.
She’s lived a life, our Liz. Consider The Crown the television equivalent of reading a history textbook on the British royal family — just with more drama and better clothing. The series chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times.
by Zadie Smith.
Zadie Smith’s breakout novel is set in northwest London, and is perhaps the most well-known, and well-read portrayal of life in a diverse, migrant community in contemporary London.
Everything I Know About Love
by Dolly Alderton.
Dolly Alderton’s memoir reads a bit like a modern Bridget Jones’s diary — albeit the nonfiction version. It’s a book about bad dates and wild nights out in London — the housemates she kept and the boroughs she lived in. And in spite of the title, it’s more an ode to female friendship than it is a guide to romantic love.
The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene.
London is accurately moody in this dramatic novel set in London around the time of the Second World War. Immerse yourself in the time-period, as well as the tortuous love triangle of Maurice, Sarah and Henry.
The Harry Potter series
by JK Rowling.
It would be criminal to mention literature relating to London and not recommend the Harry Potter books — potentially the country’s (if not the world’s) most iconic series. Read the books, watch the movies, then fantasise about visiting Kings Cross station and hopping aboard the Hogwart Express.
Love is a bi-annual style magazine founded by fashion journalist and stylist Katie Grand in 2009. Come for the mindblowing fashion and photoshoots; stay for the incredible longreads.
One of the four key Vogue editions across the world, British Vogue entered a groundbreaking new era when Edward Enninful took over as editor-in-chief. It’s the perfect monthly taste of British style, culture and beauty.
This bi-monthly mag has built its reputation on being a consistent source of inspiration in fashion culture since the 1980s. A publication that constantly reinvents itself, the mag encourages creativity above all else, and is chock-full of editorial content that will surprise and inspire you.
Riposte is dedicated to bold and creative women from the spheres of music, film, art, food, architecture, graphic design and literature (i.e. pretty much everything that is good in the world).
Featuring inspirational, international women, The Gentlewoman pairs ambitious journalism with a sartorial perspective on personal style. The biannual magazine — a sister publication to Fantastic Man — explores the way women actually look, think and dress.
The journalist, Elle UK and Man Repeller contributing editor, and co-host of pop culture podcast The High Low, Pandora Sykes has a feed full of style inspiration, dreamy interiors and spot-on book recommendations.
Snaps of the English countryside, beautiful literature and delicious food are the bread and butter of author, Sunday Times columnist and the other half of The High Low podcast, Dolly Alderton.
For an Aussie perspective on living in London – and all of the things to do, wear and eat while you’re there – follow journalist and podcast host of After Work Drinks, Isabelle Truman.
Run by Janetti, an American writer and producer, this account — dedicated to Prince George memes — will provide you with hours of entertainment (and even more laughter).
If you weren’t already convinced that you needed to pay London a visit, this account — with image after image of all the beauty the city has to offer — will have you booking a flight in no time.
Take a peek at this account that inspires serious food envy – the ultimate insider guide to dining out on a budget in London, for £8 or less.