18 of the best family movies set in London

It’s hardly surprising that there are so many film set in London, the British capital makes the perfect cinematic backdrop. From animated adventures and live action escapades to period dramas and one very British spy, there are a whole host of family movies set in London for you to enjoy.

The following family-friendly films are some of our favourites. I have given the age ratings for each movie so that you can decide which family film is best suited to you. Now, grab your popcorn and enjoy!

family films set in London
Which movie will you watch first?

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family films set in London
Cruella starring Emma Stone

Cruella (2021)

If you’re wondering how one of Disney’s most dastardly villains became so evil then you need to watch Cruella. The cinematic spectacular is set in London during the punk rock movement of the 1970s and follows aspiring fashion designer Estella Miller (played by Emma Stone) and how she became Cruella de Vil.

Filming took place on some of London’s most famous streets and well-known locations. Keep an eye out for iconic department store Liberty, where Emma gets her first job in fashion, and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

Age rating: PG-13

Family movies set in London
Both of the Paddington movies are based in London

Paddington (2014 & 2017)

My all time favourite movies filmed in London have to be Paddington and Paddington 2. These films are simply delightful and showcase the best of the capital from the Natural History Museum and colourful Notting Hill to Paddington Station and Portobello Road Market. They also tell great stories about the little bear from darkest Peru. Nothing will make you laugh out loud quite as hard as the red sock that ends up in the prison laundry.

Age rating: PG

Family movies set in London
101 Dalmatians starring Glen Close

101 Dalmatians (1996)

The 1996 film 101 Dalmatians is a live action version of the 1961 Walt Disney animated film. This version sees the inimitable Glenn Close play the main character, the glamorous – and villainous – Cruella de Vil. This well-loved tale is brilliantly brought to life by the stars on screen who race to stop Cruella de Vil from turning the litter of Dalmatian pups into a coat.

Age rating: U

family films set in London
Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’ Diary is a romantic comedy film written by Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies and Helen Fielding. It is based on Fielding’s novel of the same name which follows 32-year-old Bridget Jones (played by Renée Zellweger) as she navigates single life in London. She writes down everything that happens in her diary.

Filming took place at Borough Market, The Strand and Clink Street in Southwark. The film also stars Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Age rating: 15

Family movies set in London
Enola Holmes was released in 2020

Enola Holmes (2020)

Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown, tells the tale of the teenage sister of Sherlock Holmes who goes in search of her mother who has disappeared.

It’s a wonderful adventure of a strong-willed and independent young woman who goes against conventional norms of the time. Her mother is played by the always brilliant Helena Bonham Carter. This film was meant to be released on the big screen but was sold to Netflix owing to Covid-19 complications.

Age rating: 12

Family movies set in London
Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins (1964)

I am a huge fan of Mary Poppins Returns, the excellent sequel to the original film that was released in 2018. However, you should really start with the musical fantasy film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (despite the questionable cockney accent). Both Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns feature plenty of wonderful London scenery.

Age rating: U

family films set in London
Love Actually, a Christmas favourite!

Love, Actually (2003)

One of the best movies set in London has to be Love, Actually. Yes, it’s a little cheesy but it’s also brilliant – especially around Christmas time. The stories of the various characters involved take place against a Christmas backdrop, with many scenes shot in London. Locations include Oxford Street, Notting Hill and Downing Street.

The film stars a predominantly British cast including Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson and Hugh Grant who, as the British Prime Minister, does an excellent dance routine.

Age rating: 15

Family movies set in London
Bedknobs and broomsticks

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Similar to Mary Poppins, the excellent Bedknobs and Broomsticks used a mixture of live-action and animation to create a magical film for all the family. The film was based on two novels and featured Angela Lansbury as the witch-in-training. It’s set during World War II and three children are evacuated from the London Blitz and end up on Miss Eglantine Price’s doorstep. The gang then work together using supernatural powers to defeat advancing German troops.

Age rating: U

family films set in London
The movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts

Notting Hill (1999)

Another romantic comedy from screenwriter Richard Curtis is Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant (plus a host of other famous faces. The story follows William Thacker (Hugh Grant), a London bookstore owner, who falls in love with American Actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) and how they try and reconcile their very different lifestyles for love.

Filming locations included Portobello Road, the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill Gate and the Lancaster room at the Savoy Hotel among others.

Age rating: 15

family films set in London
Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run (2007)

Five years after jilting his pregnant fiancé, Libby, at the alter Dennis Doyle tries to win her back. When he discovers that her new boyfriend Whit is running the Nike River Marathon in London, he decides to run the race himself. The film is laugh out loud funny and features some of London’s best sights including Colombia Road, Regent’s Canal in Islington, Spitalfields and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Age Rating: 12A

Family movies set in London
The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1998)

Admittedly only part of the brilliant Parent Trap film is set in London but this remains a firm favourite in our household. This 1998 version is based on the original 1961 movie. It stars Lindsay Lohan as both twins who set about trying to get their parents to fall in love again.

Age rating: U

Family movies set in London
The Downton Abbey Movie

Downton Abbey (2019)

One for older kids and teens is Downton Abbey. Based on the hugely popular television series of the same name, this big screen version continued the storyline from the TV shows. Much of the original cast star in this adaptation too.

The story is set in 1927 and a visit to the Crawley family’s country house by the King and Queen. However, an assassin is on the loose and attempts to kill the monarch. There’s plenty of drama and intrigue and, of course, fantastic period costumes.

Age rating: PG

Family movies set in London
James Bond Skyfall

James Bond (various)

Another franchise best suited to older kids and teens is the James Bond one. There are now 25 movies depicting the adventures of Britain’s best-known secret service agent and most of them (if not all of them) feature London at some point.

A handful of Bond films, however, feature London more heavily. These include Spectre and Skyfall starring Daniel Craig, The World is Not Enough starring Pierce Brosnan, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with George Lazenby and For Your Eyes Only starring Roger Moore.

Age rating: Check movies for specific age rating

Family movies set in London
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (2012)

This smart, kid-friendly and very funny movie is the work of the clever folk at Aardman Animations. During the film, the Pirate Captain, voiced by Hugh Grant, is keen to win the Pirate of the Year award. Cue plenty of high jinks and misadventures – as well as encounters with Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin and a dodo – as he tries to win the title.

Age rating: U

Family movies set in London
Flushed Away

Flushed Away (2006)

The animated film Flushed Away tells the story of Roddy St. James, a high society pet rat who lives in a Kensington Flat. When he suddenly finds himself in London’s sewers he embarks on a series of adventures as he tries to make his way home – and escape a terrifying toad! Younger kids will love it.

Age rating: U

Family movies set in London
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

You’ll see London scenes in most of the Harry Potter films but the first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, boasts some of the best. The interior shots of Gringotts, the wizard bank that Harry visits with Hagrid, were filmed inside Australia House. At King’s Cross station, where students take the train to Hogwarts, you’ll find a replica of Platform 9 ¾. And Leadenhall Market was used as the exterior for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron.

Age rating: PG

Family movies set in London
The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

This fun animated movie reimagines the great British fictional detective Sherlock Holmes as a heroic mouse living in Victorian London.  When the father of a young mouse called Olivia is kidnapped by a bat at her birthday party, she enlists the help of Basil of Baker Street to get him back.

It’s a fun film for a younger audience.

Age rating: U

Family movies set in London
The Great Muppet Caper

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

Muppet fans will love this musical comedy film starring Jim Henson’s loveable puppets. The story follows Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo as they travel to London to investigate a jewellery heist. It’s playful and silly with some very catchy songs.

Age rating: U

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