London’s Hidden Gems
London’s packed with places you’ve seen on the big screen. The iconic images of Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are perhaps those most represented on the silver screen. But did you know the biggest film star of the whole city is actually tucked away in the leafy suburban town of Borehamwood and Elstree? It’s a little known fact, but here’s a few reasons why taking a trip to London’s little hidden gem might be just be the best way to spend your trip in London.
You might not recognise it though – the 100-year-old Elstree Film Studios isn’t where famous films are shot, it’s where they’re made! Yup, name anything from Eastenders to Indiana Jones and you can guarantee it’s been produced at Elstree.
There aren’t public tours of the studio – but if you want your five minutes of (mini) fame, join the audiences for hit British TV shows such as Big Brother and Dancing on Ice. Check Applause Store for more info.
Elstree and Borehamwood (originally two towns, but now known as one) is only a 20-minute train ride from the mainline station to King’s Cross and a five-mile drive from Luton airport. But thanks to the abundance of green spaces, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside.
Visit the wild and beautiful Moat Mount, the largest woodland in the borough, or the fountain-filled Aberford Park – a new café is a great spot for a cup of tea. Aldenham Country Park also offers 100 acres of parkland, trees and nature trails for the kids to explore.
For those with good appetites, Borehamwood and Elstree is a dream. Pop to Orli Bagel Bakery, just minutes’ walk from the rail station, for the freshest, best and softest bagels in London!
When it comes to evening activities, Elstree and Borehamwood also has plenty to keep you occupied. You may not have heard of the US-based chain Buca di Beppo but it fittingly brings a bit of Hollywood pizazz to an area with such close ties to the film industry. The glamorous restaurant on Centennial Avenue offers family style Italian food, a great outdoor terrace and three movie-themed private dining rooms.
Movies are also a big feature of Zanzibar on the High Street, although Elstree studios probably had little to do with the films which play out on the flat screen TVs in this lively Indian restaurant. Bollywood movies and a delicious range of food are what you’ll find in the well-appointed eatery.
If you have worked up a thirst during your stay in Elstree and Borehamwood then head to The Waggon and Horses, a stunning 15th century inn complete with a thatched roof, original rafters and many other original features. With a selection of excellent beers, and a fine wine list, it is well worth the effort of visiting.
When your evening is finished you’ll want to have accommodation that offers value and a dependable level of comfort. There are a affordable hotels in this London borough which can put you within easy reach of the studio and its surrounding attractions to make the most of your trip.
About the author: Iain Aitchison is a travel and culture enthusiast based in the UK. He has spent the best part of the last 18 months travelling whenever possible, and writing about his experiences of travel in the UK and Europe.
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