With the release of Mary Poppins Returns in the US on December 19th, Visit London explores the magical nanny’s association with the UK capital where it all began
This winter, Mary Poppins Returns will hit the big screen in US cinemas, adding a second chapter to the legendary Disney classic of 1964 and bringing a new all-star cast back to the house where the magic began on Cherry Tree Lane, London.
The UK capital has provided the inspiration to both the original and new Mary Poppins movies, as author P.L. Travers was influenced by her own life in London when writing the novel.
While the original movie was filmed on a Hollywood set, many of the most iconic scenes were set in real life locations from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Bank of England.
Threadneedle Street and Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace, are just a couple of the London locations set to appear in the new movie, which stars London-born superstar Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton. Mary Poppins Returns takes its place on the long list of chart-topping movies set in London, with James Bond, Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald just a few shining examples.
Film/TV locations are a proven driver for international travel, with over half of Americans who have never visited the UK saying that film and TV locations would influence their decision.1
To add a spoonful of sugar to your next vacation to London, Visit London has rounded up the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious events and activities coming up in the capital, which Mary Poppins herself would most definitely approve of (no chimney climbing required!)
- Something is Brewing about to Begin…
London’s West End
… and it’s Mary Poppins on stage! In autumn 2019, Mary Poppins will return to the Prince Edward Theatre, where it first premiered in the West End in 2004 before transferring to Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre and winning the Tony Award for best musical. With music and lyrics by the Sherman brothers and additional material from George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, this perfect show of the ‘practically perfect’ nanny is not one to miss. Tickets will be available from January 2019. Discover more here.
- Feed the Birds
St Paul’s Cathedral
“Early each day to the steps of St. Paul’s” begins the famous song sung by Julie Andrews in the 1964 film. She was referring to St. Paul’s Cathedral – one of London’s most iconic buildings. Visitors too can feed the birds, throwing crumbs to London’s friendliest pigeons and then take the opportunity to explore the awe-inspiring interior and try out the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery. Those with a head for heights can continue their climb right up to the Golden Gallery to enjoy breath-taking panoramic views across London. From way up there, fans will enjoy a similar view to the one shared by Mary, Bert the chimney-sweep and the Banks children when they explored the rooftops of London. Discover more here.
- Get your Dick Van Dyke On
St Mary-le-Bow church and Mary Poppins Tour of London
In the original movie, US actor Dick Van Dyke was renowned for playing Bert the cockney chimney-sweep and Mary Poppins’ companion. Fans of Bert and his new counterpart, lamplighter Jack (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda), may be intrigued to visit London’s historic St. Mary-le-Bow church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is said that anyone born within the sound of its bells is considered a ‘true’ Cockney. “Spit spot!” it’s then time for the Brit Movie Tours ‘Mary Poppins Tour of London’ (launching 2019), a 2 hour walking tour where you can see locations used in the new movie and learn behind the scenes stories of the making of Mary Poppins Returns. The tour is suitable for little legs and prams, the only condition is that you must love to laugh. Discover more here.
- Help the Medicine Go Down…
…with a spoonful of sugar in the form of a delightful Mary Poppins themed Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard. Served on a custom-made tea stand with an umbrella on top and silver booted feet below – with crockery that comes to life with Mary Shephard’s original illustrations of Mary Poppins – the tea will follow the format of a quintessentially British afternoon tea with an unconventional twist. If you wish to add some fizz to the experience, Champagne flutes are decorated with a kite that flies from the glass and guests can choose to add a dash of ‘medicine’, with a choice of three homemade liqueurs. Afternoon tea will be served in the triple-storey atrium of Aqua Shard, boasting panoramic views of the skyline and will be served every day from 1-5pm until 19 July 2019. Discover more here.
- Say Chim Chim Cher-ee to the Rain
Lock & Co. Hatters. And James Smith & Sons Ltd.
It would be fair to say that Mary Poppins always had a touch of the eccentric, yet stylish about her. Now, with her return in the form of much-loved British actress Emily Blunt we expect to see her signature Edwardian look given a modern revamp. For those seeking to put themselves in Mary’s shoes, while also keeping prepared for London’s changeable weather, why not pay a trip to Lock & Co. Hatters – the oldest hat shop in the world - where you are bound to find a merry widow hat perfectly in keeping with the time. Next, pay a trip to James Smith & Sons Umbrellas, which offers a huge range of bespoke umbrellas. They’ll make you look great, even if they can’t guarantee the ability to make you fly. Discover more here and here.
True fans of Mary Poppins are encouraged to carry the Disney magic even further by jumping on the Eurostar to Disneyland Paris (it only takes 4 hours to get there!) where they can meet Mary Poppins and Bert face to face. Discover more here.
Laura Citron, Chief Executive Officer of Visit London said:
“We know that many people love to visit destinations they’ve seen on the big screen, to really feel the movie magic come to life and take a walk in the shoes of their favourite characters."
“From Notting Hill to Paddington Bear, James Bond to Fantastic Beasts, London has long inspired the world’s finest directors with its dynamic culture and creative energy. Fans of Mary Poppins who visit the capital will be able to soak up the vibrant atmosphere on the streets of London where the story was born. Pack your umbrella and start your adventure!”
Notes to Editors
1. Taken from the report ‘Film and TV locations as a driver of tourism’ (2018) sponsored by Visit Britain, based on three questions that were asked to respondents in the GFK-Anholt Nation Brands Index – see slide 7 in report.
Emily Lumsden - Communications Executive
London & Partners Communications Team
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5710
Switch: +44 (0)20 7234 5800