Written and directed by Paul King (Mighty Boosh), this family adventure features the vocal talents of Ben Whishaw (Skyfall and Spectre) as the eponymous bear.
Arriving in London to search of a new home, the talking bear finds that London is very different from what he had imagined. He is at Paddington Station with only a few marmalade-sandwich-loving pigeons to keep him company. Paddington is spotted by Mr Brown as the family return to London after visiting the Victorian Wool Experience. It is the compassionate Mrs Brown, however, who stops and first speaks to the little bear. Mr Brown is played by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and Mrs Brown performed by Sally Hawkins (Godzilla). The rare bear from darkest Peru is spotted by a museum taxidermist played by Nicole Kidman which results in Paddington’s happiness being potentially short lived.
Non-London film locations used in Paddington
The film Paddington was largely shot around London as that was the main location used in traditional Paddington Bear stories. The London Port where the boat Paddington had stowed away on arrives is actually Tilbury Docks in Essex. You may recognise it as Tilbury Docks has also been used in other productions such as Batman Begins and Alfie. Another featured location used for the filming of Paddington was Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. This stately home has also featured in many films previously, including Sherlock Holmes and The King’s Speech and deserves it’s own blog post.
The production extensively used the facilities at one of Europe’s largest studios, Elstree, shooting at the famous George Lucas Stage and Stage 7. These lots were used for the interior scenes of the Brown family home, which seems to be Tardis one one steps through the font door. My terraced house certainly doesn’t open up to an expansive hallway with an impressive spiral staircase, much is the pity. Part of the feature was also filmed in Costa Rica that doubled as Peru, home of the spectacled bear. But where in London was Paddington filmed I hear you cry. Fear not, that’s coming next.
London film locations for Paddington
Paddington Station (the reason Paddington is so named) is used as a location for the film, but only the interior. The more impressive exterior of Marylebone was used instead. A few scenes were shot in the picturesque Windsor Gardens in Primrose Hill. You will see a brightly illuminated phone box in the film which was added for key story moments.
When Paddington joins the Browns in the taxi to their home in Windsor Gardens the cabbie takes them on a scenic tour of London. From Paddington station they go past St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, through Trafalgar Square in the West End, Past Big Ben at Parliament Square, get a fabulous view of the London Eye from Victoria Embankment, cross the illuminated Tower Bridge, down Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch for a spot of Street Art, around Piccadilly Circus and through Borough Market before entering Windsor Gardens in Primrose Hill, Camden.
The Paddington Movie is really great for showing London at its best. The main location for the taxidermist is The Natural History Museum, a cathedral to natural science. Several rooms are used for the film including the iconic main hallway where an impressive skeleton of a Diplodocus was on display (it’s now a blue whale).
Other film locations venues such as Buckingham Palace, Mr Gruber’s Antiques Shop and The Geographer’s Guild should be familiar places for Londoners but perhaps some of the places during Paddington’s search for the explorer will be less so.
Join me on my Paddington Bear’s London – a virtual tour. Not only will be covering film locations from the first Paddington film but also Paddington 2 too!
Book your tickets now, £15 per household