Richard Curtis’s Five Places to Visit in London


There’s London and then there’s Richard Curtis’s London. The 62-year-old filmmaker has spun the city into a cozy, romantic oasis in back-to-back cinematic hits — from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” to ”Love Actually.” His latest film is “Yesterday,” a comedy about the enduring power of the Beatles.

Mr. Curtis was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and moved to England when he was 11. He credits his outsider perspective for the snow globe version of London that he portrays in films. “I think in some ways it allows you to relish the place you’ve arrived in,” he said. “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.”

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CreditTom Jamieson for The New York Times

The screenwriter lives with the writer and producer Emma Freud in Notting Hill. The neighborhood has been his home for 25 years.

Early on in his career, Mr. Curtis said he decided to write only about places he knew and places he loved. The first film he wrote was set in America and, after a disappointing meeting in Los Angeles, where executives told him his dialogue and jokes were too British, he flew back to London and decided to scrap the project 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 inspire him? Here, Mr. Curtis recommends five places.


If you’re quick to write off Abbey Road as a tourist trap, Mr. Curtis encourages you to think again. The crossing was featured on the cover of the Beatles’ 11th album, “Abbey Road,” and runs just next to Abbey Road Studios, a stately looking, Georgian building where the band recorded 190 of its 210 songs. Mr. Curtis, who did the music recording for “Four Weddings and A Funeral” inside the studio, pointed out that it is one of the few remaining relics of the Beatles era.

“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 said. “Abbey Road has the cross road, there’s the beautiful studio with the lovely steps leading up to it. It’s satisfyingly real.”

3 Abbey Rd; abbeyroad.com


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.



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