Four Weddings And A Funeral | 1994
Although it seems to wander all around the British isles, from Somerset to Scotland, the template for the whole genre of British rom-coms was filmed entirely in London and the surrounding Home Counties of the southeast.
Wedding No. 1 (Angus and Laura, at ‘St John’s Church, Stoke Clandon, Somerset’) is not in the West Country at all, but at St Michael’s Church in the village of Betchworth, a couple of miles to the west of Reigate, Surrey (rail: Betchworth, closed Sundays, from London Victoria).
The reception, with the sheep, is Goldington’s, a private home set in 52 acres of rolling Hertfordshire countryside. You can see the Georgian mansion just off New Road, Church End between Chorleywood and the village of Sarratt, north from the A404, Hertfordshire (tube: Metropolitan Line; rail: Chorleywood, from London Marylebone).
The black and white Tudor exterior of ‘The Lucky Boatman’, where Charles and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) first get it together after the reception, is the half-timbered Kings Arms, 30 High Street, Amersham (tube: Metropolitan Line) in Buckinghamshire. A the time of filming it was only a bar, but it has since reopened as a hotel. You can see the pub also in the 1963 Miss Marple mystery Murder at the Gallop.
The interior is the Crown Hotel, a few doors along, 16 High Street, Amersham, where you’ll find the very four-poster from the film in Room 101. The legendary surge in bookings at the Crown, after the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral, is one of the great film location success stories. The Crown has recently had a stylish makeover, by Ilse Crawford, updating its traditional decor. But, fear not, Room 101 – and the four-poster – remain intact.
Wedding No. 2 (Bernard and Lydia at the Catholic ‘St Mary of the Fields, Cripplegate, EC2’) was filmed in the (Anglican) Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10. The chapel is open to the public (rail: Greenwich, from London Charing Cross).
The Old Royal Naval College itself is a screen veteran, recently standing in for ‘Paris’ in Les Misérables, as well as being seen in the likes of The Madness Of King George, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The Duchess, Young Victoria, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella and many other productions.
The second reception (‘The Holbein Place’) was staged at Luton Hoo, then a stately home, a couple of miles south of Luton, 30 miles north of London off the M1, Bedfordshire, it’s now the Luton Hoo, Hotel, Golf and Spa. The 1767 Robert Adam house was, until recently, open to the public, and housed a fascinating collection memorabilia of the Romanovs (the Russian royal family). A frequent movie location, it’s been seen in Pink Panther sequel A Shot In the Dark, Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut, rogue Bond movie Never Say Never Again and biopic Wilde.
The restaurant, in which Carrie catalogues her sexual track record, was the Dome in Wellington Street, Covent Garden (it’s now the Cafe Rouge).
Charles hares off to meet his brother at the entrance to the old National Film Theatre, now the BFI Southbank on the South Bank (tube: Waterloo, Northern and Bakerloo Lines) – showcase for the British Film Institute. It’s on the terrace of the South Bank that Charles explains to Carrie about David Cassidy and the Partridge Family.
Carrie tries on wedding dresses at what is actually interior design service Albrissi, 1 Sloane Square – at the start of Cliveden Place by Sloane Square.
Wedding No. 3, with Carrie marrying the ‘stiff in the skirt’ at the chapel of ‘Glenthrist Castle, Perthshire’, was filmed in Albury Park Mansion, just southeast of Guildford, which has been converted into private luxury apartments.
The kilt-swirling interior of the castle is the Victorian Gothic house, home of Sir James Scott, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Rotherfield Park, East Tisted on the A32 south of Alton, Hampshire. Again, this is not open to the public.
A lot of people seemed to think that the funeral of Gareth (Simon Callow) took place in South Wales, all looming steelworks and the ‘Severn Bridge’, but it’s actually Essex. The church is the tiny St Clement, West Thurrock, Essex.
This ‘redundant’ church – stranded in the wastes of an industrial estate – was restored by soap giants Procter and Gamble (whose giant formless grey cube overshadows it) in 1987 as part of the company’s 150th anniversary. It’s a nature reserve and pretty fiddly to get to.
From West Thurrock (a couple of miles west of Grays railway station), take the Stoneness Road south from London Road, turn east into Hedley Avenue and south again into St Clement’s Road where the tiny church is tucked away between the titanic industrial monsters. The spectacular bridge in the background is the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the Thames alongside the Dartford Tunnel.
OK, trivia fans. What links this location with a major location from Back To The Future?
Non-wedding No. 4, at ‘St Julian’s’, the church where Charles has second thoughts, is Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, hidden away behind its Tudor gatehouse (tube: Farringdon or Barbican, Circle Line).
The interior can also be seen in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, where it stands in for ‘Nottingham Cathedral’; in Neil Jordan’s The End Of The Affair; Shakespeare in Love; The Other Boleyn Girl; Amazing Grace; as the site of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Elizabeth: The Golden Age; as ‘St Paul’s Cathedral’ in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 Sherlock Holmes and the hideout of the more militant protesters in Sarah Gavron's 2015 Suffragette.