Today I thought it would be fun to revisit the sets and filming locations of the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill.
The Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts flick was a hit, earning over $360 million worldwide, and continues to be a sentimental favorite of audiences more than a decade later.
It also spawned the famous line we all remember from the movie: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
The Filming Locations for the Movie “Notting Hill”
Remember the bright blue door that led to Hugh Grant’s flat in the movie?
That was the real-life home of the movie’s writer Richard Curtis, located at 280 Westbourne Park Road, but the interiors were filmed on a soundstage.
The exteriors were filmed mostly on location in Notting Hill and Portobello Road.
The new owners became tired of all the attention their famous blue door received, however. Tourists were not only flocking to see it but many of them scratched their names and other messages on it.
It was auctioned off for charity, and a nondescript black door now stands in its place.
2017 Update: The current owners reportedly painted it blue again.
When the paparazzi descended on William’s flat, his flatmate Spike posed for them in his underwear.
Inside Hugh Grants Flat in “Notting Hill”
Looking up into the kitchen:
The production designer was Stuart Craig, who is also known for his work on the Harry Potter films.
It was his job to make the sets look real and lived in.
Hugh Grant plays William Thacker, the owner of a travel bookshop who unexpectedly meets Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), a famous movie star, when she visits his store one day.
When they were shooting the movie, Julia Roberts was dating Benjamin Bratt.
She later lived out her own “Notting Hill” storyline when she married cameraman. Danny Moder,
Curtis explained the inspiration for the story:
“I would sometimes wonder what it would be like if I just turned up at my friends’ house, where I used to have dinner once a week, with the most famous person at that time, be it Madonna or whomever. It all sprang from there. How would my friends react? Who would try and be cool? How would you get through dinner? What would they say to you afterwards?”
Playing Will’s unkempt, slacker flatmate was a breakout role for Welsh actor Rhys Ifans.
He told Interview magazine that he “went method” for the role.
“We were filming in Shepardston Studios, and I couldn’t bear the journey all the way from London every day, so I got a tent and I camped in a campsite nearby. Every morning this big limo would come and pick me up at the campsite, to the utter bafflement of the campsite owner. He thought I was some kind of eccentric millionaire.”
Remember the Chagall painting in the kitchen?
Anna gives William the original in the movie.
The producers had a reproduction made for use in the film, but they had to get permission from the painting’s owners, as well as clearance from the British Design and Artists Copyright Society.
They also had to agree to destroy it afterwards because of concerns that the fake might be too convincing.
According to Wikipedia, the real canvas could be worth between $500,000 and $1 million. So, yeah, that was quite a gift she gave him!
Some of the scenes in the movie showing Anna on various red carpets and flashing her famous smile at award shows is real Roberts footage from actual events she attended over the years.
According to Hugh Grant, the movie was inspired by real events:
“This is a story he (the writer Richard Curtis) won’t admit to, but he’s told me in a drunken moment.
“A friend of his, an ordinary, normal guy, was in Harrods one day and met a very famous woman, and ended up taking her back to his flat in Notting Hill—and all kinds of nonsense ensued.
“And they used to meet up, whenever she came to London their affair would reactivate itself—and that was the genesis of his script.
“But he’s so scared of people finding out who this very famous person was that he won’t tell anyone that story.”
William and Anna on the Roof:
William’s Travel Bookstore in “Notting Hill”
According to Vincent House London:
William’s bookshop ‘The Travel Company’ which was a key part of the film, was located in the Nicholls Antique Arcade. It has since been sold on and is now home to a shoe shop ‘Notting Hill, 142 Portobello Road’.
Apparently the real-life travel bookshop that William’s store was based on was located close by in a street just off Portobello Road at 13-15 Blenheim Crescent. Although that’s closed its doors because of rising rental costs in the area, you can still see where it was if you want to get some pictures.
It was located at 13-15 Blenheim Crescent but has since closed.
E! Online reports:
The Travel Book Co. doesn’t actually exist at 142 Portobello Road as it does in the film, but it’s there in spirit. When the film was shot, Nicholls Antique Arcade was in the spot, and it was succeeded by a furniture store called Gong. Now, Notting Hill Gift Shop is there, identifiable by its big blue awning—and a sign reading The Travel Book Shop. Because they know that’s why you’re buying a keychain there.
Before the movie, Notting Hill real estate was fairly affordable.
As you can imagine, after the movie’s success, housing prices shot up.
Richard Curtis himself, the owner of the blue door, cleverly took advantage of the film’s publicity to sell his home afterwards for over £1.3 million. The real estate listing described it as a “grand converted chapel” with its own courtyard garden in back.
Read more about “Notting Hill” locations: Vincent House London and E! Online.
I took these screenshots while watching the movie by Universal Pictures.
Visit my Houses Onscreen page to see the other movies I’ve featured, listed A-Z.
Ooh, one of my favorite movies. I own it and have watched it a dozen times, but if I am channel surfing and it is on I will stop and watch! I always loved the sister’s house, but I see lot’s of potential in the bachelor flat too, it just needs a woman’s touch… and for Spike to move out.
.-= Robin´s last blog ..Summer, don’t go! Is it something I said? =-.
I loved all the interiors of this movie—especially Max and Bella’s place. They’re all very “real” and lived in looking. William’s flat is definitely interesting architecturally, and the rooftop terrace is wonderful, but the interiors arejust a big ol’ man mess and needs some tlc and a little bit of style.
Can’t wait for Spanglish… loved that house too!
.-= Tracy´s last blog ..Tranquility Farm =-.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I loved this movie so much and now I know a lot more about it , thanks to you Julia!!
Greet from Belgian Pearls
.-= Greet´s last blog ..Outbuilding is floored =-.
Hello, I just had to leave you a note because I’ve so enjoyed reading your posts today. You have the most gorgeously beautiful site – best wishes & thank you ..
I think Spike totally made this movie. Posing in his (rather grubby) underwear for paparazzi? Fantastic!
.-= songbirdtiff´s last blog ..Mompreneur- The Peek.a.Boo Image =-.
Spanish Preppy Girl says
I love that film!!!
.-= Spanish Preppy Girl´s last blog ..SEX AND THE CITY 2 UPDATE =-.
Ooh I loved reading this and looking at all the movie shots. That’s one of my all time favorite movies Julia – so romantic and British! I never noticed that geisha cut out before – freaking hysterical. And so interesting about the housing prices before and after the movie! And about the reproduction – I had no idea! Neat-o!
.-= christy´s last blog ..Our Soulful Dining Room REVEAL (finally!) =-.
[email protected] says
Loved this movie. Seriously, I own it on VHS and I’ve considered replacing it on DVD. And who doesn’t dream of living in a cool “flat” like William’s in a charming little neighborhood like Notting Hill? Ahhh, that would be heavenly.
.-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Giveaway Results =-.
Suzann from The Olive Cottage says
LOVE this movie and all of these photos are just delightful.
.-= Suzann from The Olive Cottage´s last blog ..Quote for the Day =-.
Bonnie Mattson says
Julia, I just love this Monday Movie feature on your blog. My favorite is Something’s Gotta Give as far as the home goes (OMGosh), but I do love and also tear up when Anna and William relax on the park bench! Such fun…love those happy endings! Thank you for taking the time!
.-= Bonnie Mattson´s last blog ..Hindsight is 20/20 =-.
Would love to see the “houses” in When Harry Met Sally…..
.-= StuccoHouse´s last blog ..One Inch Short =-.
Jasmine Marie says
One of my fave romantic comedies. Thanks for posting!
Linda @ Lime in the Coconut says
I haven’t seen this one yet! Fun to see the London homes!
.-= Linda @ Lime in the Coconut´s last blog ..About time for an update – being nagged!!! =-.
I loved that movie. It was a cool flat he lived in. I can’t believe the door isn’t still blue! I also love the facade of his book store!
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Athens real estate =-.
Well, I’m going to have to see that movie again! I don’t really remember it. My husband and I watched it together when it first came out, and he thought it was boring. He actually calls the movie “Nothing Hill”, because “nothing happens in that movie”. Maybe he would like it better now. 🙂
.-= beth´s last blog ..Pinata Whacking Fun on Emma’s Birthday =-.
Out of the whole movie I remember those words on the fridge (used to teach :)) and the china hutch at the birthday party–are those egg cups?? Yes, I bet the real interior was not what they needed for the movie. I especially love the book store! Thanks–I always look forward to this!
.-= susan´s last blog ..Metamorphosis Monday….A Tale of Three Doors =-.
Julia, I’m not sure if I “got” this movie but I cried all the same. The blue door is fab.
.-= Puna´s last blog ..A Hooked on Memory Mosaic =-.
My first trip to London I made sure that I got to Portobello Road with its famous Antique/Flea Market, which was hideously crowded. The Notting Hill area is just a fabulous place to wander the shops and gawk ( maybe I should say “peep”) at the architecture. Very close to Kensington Palace and Hyde Park as well. This makes me want to go to London again! Thanks Julia.
.-= Janet´s last blog .. =-.
first time I have visited this site. I loved it. Thanks
Your film spot is one of my favourite Monday rituals. It’s pure non-alcoholic, non-calorific indulgence. 🙂
I get so envious of the street market in Notting Hill every time I see it. When I lived in a big town in Greece, we had street markets that were in a different street every day of the week. It was so much healthier than supermarket to freezer shopping.
But my absolute favourite bit is the enclosed park at the end. Sigh….
.-= janice´s last blog ..The House of the Thousand Horrormoans =-.
Mom in High Heels says
One of my favorite scenes from a movie EVER comes from Notting Hill. It’s the scene where he’s walking down the street and the seasons are changing. LOVE IT. I’m sad the blue door is no longer blue. Why wouldn’t they paint it blue?
.-= Mom in High Heels´s last blog ..Thinking about moving =-.
Paula Grace says
I love his movies! I also love the shade of blue of the door. Do you know what it is? BTW ~ I tagged you in my post for tomorrow. I hope you stop by ti visit 🙂
Paula Grace ~
.-= Paula Grace´s last blog ..Norman E. Borlaug = GREATNESS =-.
Morning T says
I love that blue door and that tiny flat. It’s fun to look at but would probably get tiresome living there, running up all of those stairs.
Great movie, great post.
Awesome pics…great movie!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Destination Roll, Custom Words on Canvas – Geezees Giveaway 4 days left =-.
Janet Doherty says
I love London and the different styles of homes….something about it all I just can’t wait to see again one day soon.
.-= Janet Doherty´s last blog ..I have…. =-.
Amanda @ Serenity Now says
I. Love. Hugh Grant. Just…love him….
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..You’ve Got Mail =-.
What a cheery street to live on! I love it! I would love to visit this street should a London trip come up?! Thanks for this fun post. Now I have to put Notting Hill on my Net Flix list…it will be fun to watch it again.It’s been a while! 🙂 Thanks Julia!!
.-= Melissa´s last blog ..Pool Weekend! =-.
so so funny …. I have NEVER seen the movie (but now I want to!) Just got back from London and Notting Hill and Portobello Road …. didn’t even know about the blue door. Just found your blog and will be back again.
Wow, I was totally convinced that the interior shots were a real house; it felt like a very authentic guy place.
.-= Struggler´s last blog ..No wonder we have nothing to wear =-.
I absolutely love that movie!!! Great post and love the still shots! The scene in the end on the bench is my favorite as well. My hubby teases me, lovingly, because I always cry when I see it…and I’ve seen it 20, 30 times. Pathetic, I know.
Just watched the movie for the first time. Very cute movie. I would like to know what is that book that he is reading at the end of the movie while they are on the park bench. Just can’t make it out. Thanks.
Does anyone know exactly WHY the houses on Portobello Road are painted all those bright colors?
I just watched Hugh Grant in “About a Boy” over the halloween weekend and I like his bachelor pad in that movie. Is it a real apartment/house or just a movie set? I like everything about it from the silver furnishings of kitchen gadgets, doorbell, tech stuff, TV and specially the bare floor. Any thoughts?
THanks, i luv ur blog.
Julia-I am a sucker for any Hugh Grant movie! I suspect he is a scoundrel in real life :). I think I prefer the interior of the movie set–much more character even if it does look like a fraternity house! I love the sideboard with china at Max and Isabella’s and, of course, the book store. Thank you for all these details! I hope you are working on “The Proposal”–I am dying to see that house. Hopeyou have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
.-= susan´s last blog ..Stuffing or Dressing? =-.
The book Will is reading at the end of the movie is Captain Corellis Mandalin!
soundtrack of my life ….
Julie Parker says
I just saw someone selling the life sized Geisha Girl cut out on eBay ( item number 230454156897) how wierd would it be to have that in your hall like William had?