In theaters this month, the heartfelt romance Last Chance Harvey stars Oscar® winners Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. The film shows off the city’s mix of history and modern edge while introducing movie-goers to new locales. We give you the scoop on London’s hidden gems like Maida Vale, a neighborhood with Venice-like canals and Belsize Park, an elegant area where you’ll see the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin out for a stroll.


- Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson star in this heartfelt romance in theaters January

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Think you know a thing or two about London? The upcoming film Last Chance Harvey, written and directed by British filmmaker Joel Hopkins, gives movie-goers a fresh peek into this well-known city, opening nationwide in January (limited in New York and Los Angeles on December 25, 2008). Both nominated for Golden Globes® for their performances, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson play two middle-aged, listless individuals who find themselves falling in love with each other and with London. As they get to know each other, their inner spirits brighten when they wander through London’s seductive streets and funky neighborhoods, urging travelers to visit and discover London’s different neighborhoods for themselves.

Last Chance Harvey depicts London’s mix of history and modern edge while showing movie-goers new locales. Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman, “Rain Man”) travels to London for his daughter’s weekend wedding, but must be back at work early Monday morning for a meeting. After his daughter chooses her stepfather to walk her down the aisle, Harvey heads to the airport – but misses his plane – then runs into Kate (Emma Thompson, “Sense and Sensibility”) as he drowns his sorrows at the airport bar. The two find their romantic spirits lifted as they explore such stunning locations as Belsize Park, Maida Vale, Somerset House and the newly re-opened Grosvenor House Hotel. Visitors can find more information about following in the footsteps of the characters in London by visiting VisitBritain’s film tourism site,

A born-and-bred Londoner, Emma Thompson describes London as “a very romantic city. It’s full of incredible nooks and crannies and views and vistas. I actually get quite homesick for London, so coming back [to film] was a pleasure. The picture is a bit of a valentine to the city.”

Like Harvey (Hoffman) and Kate (Thompson), travelers can take impromptu walking tours of London, which can lead to London’s East End. This area, used extensively in the film, is also well-known for its outdoor markets. Boasting Spitalfields, a covered market since 1638, and Petticoat Market, operating since 1750 and hosting over a thousand stalls on Sundays, makes it a perfect area to get outdoors and enjoy the energy of the East End. This area also boasts some of London’s best curry houses.

While in the East End, walk along the South Bank of the River Thames and see some of London’s most breathtaking sights. Along the southern side of the river, the South Bank is an eclectic area home to some of London’s most iconic attractions, including the London Eye, OXO Tower and London Aquarium. Also on the South Bank is the Tate Modern. Open since 2000, the Tate is filled with international modern and contemporary art, and entrance is free. The tough part is choosing where to start — with art reflecting ‘Poetry and Dream’ on the 3rd floor or “States of Flux” on the 5th?

Last Chance Harvey’s wedding scene was shot in the Grosvenor House Hotel’s gorgeous ballroom and its forecourt sets the perfect tone for the film’s farewell scene. This hotel dates back to 1929, but after a thorough renovation, the Grosvenor House Hotel has re-opened and demonstrates that this quintessentially British Hotel knows how to combine its historic past with five-star modern luxuries. The Grosvenor House Hotel remains a top choice for royalty, celebrities and business leaders looking for welcoming luxury.

London’s River Thames is well-known, but who knew London had its own Little Venice? The area of Maida Vale, in West London, with its Venice-like canals complete with colourful houseboats provided the film with one of many romantic settings. Visitors will enjoy canal tours that float you eastward past Regent’s Park, the London Zoo, and Camden Town. Hop off the canal at Camden Town, a great spot for visitors looking to dig into London’s hip, funky side. Boasting open markets with alternative fashion and record shops with the latest Goth and rock music, Camden is an exciting area with an edgy feel.

Belsize Park, also used in the film, is located in northwest London. This elegant area, known for the celebrities that call it home, is full of shops, restaurants, and pubs. Keep an eye out for famous residents Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in the area’s chic restaurants such as the newly opened Asian fusion establishment XO. Belsize Park has its fair share of history as well, and is home to the Keats House Museum, where poet John Keats lived from 1818 to 1820, set to reopen in January after an internal refurbishment. Visitors to Belsize Park can explore a large underground air raid shelter used by the public during WWII air raids, or simply enjoy the stunning views over London from nearby Primrose Hill Park.

Too stately and impressive to be considered hidden, Somerset House is nevertheless a London gem. The stunning courtyard provided Last Chance Harvey’s characters with the perfect setting to sit back and take in the vibrant London atmosphere. The dancing fountains in its courtyard and an open-air ice rink in the winter months, as well as the impressive and stately architecture of this neo-classical palace should be on every traveller’s list. Additionally, the world-renowned collections and special exhibitions of The Courtauld Gallery are permanently housed inside Somerset. There are also plenty of opportunities to grab a bite to eat at Somerset House, including the Admiralty Restaurant, open for lunch and dinner.

For more details on Overture Films’ motion picture release LAST CHANCE HARVEY visit

Overture Films ( develops, produces, acquires, and distributes feature length, theatrical motion pictures worldwide. The studio is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Capital Group (NASDAQ: LCAPA, LCAPB), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation. Its affiliated companies, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz Entertainment, make the films available domestically to viewers via home video, premium television, internet and other outlets.




Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".