While visiting the Walt Disney World Resort guarantees you a magical experience, there comes a time when you want to explore somewhere new. The good news is that choosing a vacation without visiting a Disney theme park doesn’t mean you will miss out on Disney experiences.
Do you have an upcoming trip to London planned? While there isn’t a Disney Park to visit in the United Kingdom, there are plenty of Disney-related activities and experiences to enjoy when visiting the capital of England. Here, we share the ultimate list of Disney things to see and experience when visiting London. How many will you add to your Disney bucket list for a visit to London?
The flagship and only Disney store in the United Kingdom is on Oxford Street, London. The store covers over 8000 square feet, spread across two floors. In the center of the store is a 28 feet tall castle visible to every Guest as they walk through the doors. Visiting the Disney Store is a magical experience, as animated trees surround you, cartoons play on the walls, and Disney songs play throughout the day. Additionally, Guests can interact with a Disney Princess Magic Mirror and sit in a life-size Cinderella Coach. It’s a perfect photo opportunity.
When planning a visit to the Disney Store in London, it’s worth checking for in-store events. The Disney Store Theatre is perfect for hosting quizzes, animation workshops, and more. Events held in-store are free for anyone to enjoy but plan to get there early as they can be extremely popular. Store openings are a magical time to visit the Disney Store. The flagship store holds an opening ceremony every day. A young Guest is selected every day to help with the opening ceremony. Tinker Bell features in the opening ceremony, sprinkling pixie dust over the castle. You will want to experience this magical experience.
London is full of filming locations that have been featured in Disney movies. Seeking out different filming locations is an excellent way to explore London. Doing so is also a great way to experience London transport, whether using the London underground or buses. Alternatively, rack up the miles and get your steps in by exploring on foot.
Admiral’s Way, Hampstead
Admiral Boom is a character from Mary Poppins (1964). Known to keep watch on the ‘weather’ over 17 Cherry Tree Lane, Admiral Boom also likes to fire cannons from his house. It is believed that Admiral Barton of Admiral’s House inspired PL Travers’ character. Visiting Admiral’s Way will allow you to see Admiral’s House, where filming took place for Mary Poppins. You’ll find it in Hampstead, in the London Borough of Camden.
If you loved the recent Winnie the Pooh film Christopher Robin (2018), you’d want to visit Merrick Square. While you won’t be able to go beyond the cast-iron railings of the private garden, you’ll see the spot where Winnie the Pooh reunites with his old friend, Christopher Robin. You’ll find Merrick Square in Newington, London.
23 Egerton Terrace
If you’re anything like us, you love The Parent Trap (1998), starring Lindsay Lohan. Several parts of the movie were filmed in London. One of the spots is Elizabeth James’ and Annie’s house. 23 Egerton Terrace was the James residence. While you won’t be able to enter the property, you can admire the outside from the street. Egerton Terrace is located in Kensington and Chelsea, just a short walk from Harrods.
The Royal Arcade, Albemarle Street
Another filming location of The Parent Trap is the Royal Arcade on Albemarle Street. You’ll recognize the arcade from the movie when Hallie and Elizabeth are talking about Annie and Hallie’s father, Nicholas Parker. The Royal Arcade connects Old Bond Street with Albemarle Street. It is in the heart of Mayfair, London’s most exclusive shopping district. When walking through the arcade, admire the ornate details, including the ceiling, arches, columns, and curved glass window bays.
Liberty London is a designer department store in Soho. The Tudor building is filled with high-end fashion and luxury homeware. The style of the interior and exterior of the building provided the perfect setting for Cruella (2021). When visiting Liberty London, spend some time admiring the outside of the Tudor building. You’ll also want to take a look inside. Visit the Womenswear section on level 1 to see the Cruella costume exhibition. You’ll get to see three of the costumes from the film.
In addition to filming locations in London, there are plenty of sights to see that have links with The Walt Disney Company and inspire Disney stories. Add the following sights to your travel list when visiting London.
If you’re a fan of Peter Pan (1953), a scene that comes to mind is likely when Peter Pan and Tinker Bell are taking Wendy, Michael, John, and Tinker Bell to Neverland. During their flight, they land on the hands of the giant clock. When visiting Big Ben, you will see the Great Clock of Westminster. Big Ben is the nickname given to the Great Bell of the Clock. You will need to visit Westminster to see Big Ben up close.
St Paul’s Cathedral
While most of Mary Poppins (1964) was filmed on a soundstage, St Paul’s Cathedral in London is a sight to see if you are a fan of the movie. St Paul’s Cathedral is where Mary Poppins, Jane, and Michael pass the Bird Woman. You may find it difficult to resist singing the song while visiting the London icon. ‘Feed the birds, tuppence a bag…’ St Paul’s Cathedral is situated on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London.
If you wish to go inside the Cathedral, you can purchase a ticket to visit during sightseeing hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ticket prices are from £18 per adult to £7 per child. St Paul’s Cathedral is an active place of worship, and all are welcome to attend the daily service for free.
50 Smith Street, Chelsea
Fans of Mary Poppins will want to visit 50 Smith Street, Chelsea. The house features a blue English Heritage plaque, as it was where P. L. Travers lived. In particular, the author wrote Mary Poppins while living in her London home. It was also the location where she negotiated for the rights for her books to be turned into a Walt Disney musical. P. L. Travers was known to have lived and worked at 50 Smith Street between 1946 and 1962.
Mary Poppins Statue, Leicester Square
Leicester Square is a top tourist destination in London. It’s part of the West End, where you will find theatres, restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment venues. Located in Leicester Square is an impressive statue. As part of the Scenes in the Square, there is a bronze statue of Mary Poppins featuring her carpet bag and umbrella. She is practically perfect in every way!
If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are several parks to enjoy in London. One park that may be of interest is Regent’s Park. Regent’s Park has plenty of tree-lined pathways and gardens to explore. As you explore, they may even be vaguely familiar because they inspired the Jolly Holiday scene in Mary Poppins. As you’re exploring Regent’s Park, don’t be surprised if you can’t help but sing the catchy Sherman Brothers song!
Peter Pan Statue, Kensington Gardens
Another park in London that you will want to visit is Kensington Gardens. Kensington Gardens covers 265 acres, offering ample green space to relax. However, you’ll want to visit mainly to see the Peter Pan Statue. The bronze statue sees J. M. Barrie’s fictional character surrounded by mice, rabbits, squirrels, and fairies. It is also known that Kensington Gardens inspired J. M. Barrie in his creation of Peter Pan. The Peter Pan statue is near the Italian Gardens and Serpentine North Gallery. The Lancaster Gate tube station provides the most accessible access.
Disney Street & Disney Place
Two dead-end streets in London share the same name as Walt Disney. Disney Street and Disney Place are known to have been visited by Walt Disney and his wife, Lilian, in the mid-1960s, after sharing the same name.
Portobello Road Market
Another Disney movie connected to London is Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971). Like Mary Poppins, most of Bedknobs & Broomsticks was filmed on a soundstage. However, Portobello Road Market in London inspired part of the film. You may also be familiar with the Sherman Brothers’ song, Portobello Road, from the film. Spend as little or as long as you like exploring the Portobello Road Market; you may find some treasures as they did in the movie.
Belgrave Square, London
While 17 Cherry Tree Lane isn’t a street in London, Belgrave Square is thought to have inspired the Banks family home in Mary Poppins. It is an impressive 19th-century square with grand terrace houses surrounding a large private garden. Belgrave Square is located in Belgravia, London.
St James’ Park
One final park that you should visit in London is St James Park. The picturesque park is where Pongo and Perdita first fall in love in the live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996). St James Park covers almost 57 acres and is a beautiful place to visit.
Filming locations and sightseeing aren’t the only Disney-related things to enjoy in London. How does an afternoon or evening at the theatre sound? Or maybe you’re considering a spot of afternoon tea? You’ll want to add these experiences to your Disney bucket list!
The Lion King Musical
After 24 successful years of running, The Lyceum Theatre in London is home to The Lion King Musical. Prepare to laugh, cry, sing along, and be amazed by the show’s beauty. It’s no wonder it’s had such a successful run in the West End. Performances take place Tuesday through Sunday every week, with a selection of afternoon and evening performances. Tickets are available to book online or purchase from the Box Office.
Frozen the Musical
If you love Frozen (2013), you’ll appreciate Frozen the Musical. Enjoy a magical telling of the beloved Disney movie with all your favorite songs and new additions too. Frozen the Musical occupies the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Make sure you arrive ahead of showtime to have time to admire the beautiful dresses that are showcased in the theatre lobby. Book your tickets online before you visit.
NEWSIES: The Musical
Disney’s NEWSIES is a Broadway musical in London at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Prepare to be transported to the streets of New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Enjoy gravity-defying stunts and extraordinary choreography that tells the story of teenage newspaper sellers who dream of a brighter future. Please book your tickets online now to get to see the show before it leaves London in 2023.
Peter Pan Afternoon Tea
The Aqua Shard is the place to enjoy a magical afternoon tea inspired by Peter Pan and his adventures in Neverland. Enjoy savory and sweet treats that are served on a custom-made tea stand inspired by Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Each item served in the afternoon tea is designed after one of the characters from J. M. Barrie’s stories. You can also expect quintessentially British warm scones served with apricot marmalade and coconut clotted cream. Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard is available for £61 per person. Book online ahead of your visit to secure your experience.
The Tea Terrace
The House of Fraser on Oxford Street is home to a quintessentially British tea room called The Tea Terrace. The menu features traditional breakfast and lunch items. You can also enjoy afternoon tea at The Tea Terrace. But you may be wondering why this is linked to Disney. The Tea Terrace features giant Cinderella carriages available to sit in to enjoy your dining experience. Dining in a carriage offers the perfect princess experience. Guests pay a usage fee per person to dine from a carriage. Carriages are available to book online before visiting The Tea Terrace.
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
You’ll want to visit the Sanderson Hotel in London for an Alice in Wonderland (1951) inspired experience. The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is available from £48 per person. Enjoy whimsical sweets and savories that are inspired by the Disney characters from Wonderland. A selection of teas is also available, providing you with a tea party that the Mad Hatter would approve of. Book online to secure a time for tea ahead of your visit.
How many of these experiences do you hope to have when visiting London? Can you complete them all? If you combine a visit to London with a trip to Disneyland Paris, these experiences will surely help build excitement ahead of your Disney vacation in France.