The 11 Best documentaries about London

Aug 1, 2023 | Best Of, Culture

If you’re looking for a deep dive into the history of London, then look no further than these great documentaries about this iconic city. From its glorious past to its ever-evolving present, there are plenty of films that offer a fascinating glimpse into life in one of the world’s biggest cities. From famous landmarks and attractions to hidden gems and secrets, these documentaries explore every corner of London and offer unique stories that will capture the attention of viewers from all walks of life. So whether you’re a fan of history, culture or simply awe-inspiring cinematography, these are some of the best documentaries about London that have ever been made.


London, the heart of Britain and one of the world’s most iconic cities, has been around for centuries and continues to be a major metropolitan hub. From buzzing nightlife to historical landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, London is an ever-evolving city that has something to offer everyone. The area is home to dozens of iconic museums, galleries and theatres, including the British Museum, Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre. Art enthusiasts will be delighted by the sheer range of culture available on their doorstep. The city also has an impressive selection of restaurants, pubs and bars – perfect for a night out with friends or family. For tourists, London offers a plethora of attractions that will keep them entertained for weeks. From the stunning architecture of Westminster Abbey to the views from the London Eye – a giant ferris wheel situated across the River Thames – visitors can experience a range of awe-inspiring sights.


Griff Rhys Jones has a unique and curious journey ahead of him – exploring the hidden secrets located above and underground in six of the world’s greatest cities. He kicks off his adventure by visiting London, the famous old-world metropolis. Through this exploration, Griff discovers oddities and traditions that are exclusive to each city, embedding himself into their culture while learning about their unique personalities. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring Statue of Liberty in New York or the luscious greens of Hyde Park in London, Griff has an exciting adventure ahead! Join him on his journey as he visits six of the world’s most iconic cities – uncovering each destination’s hidden gems and discovering what makes them the greatest in the world. This is an experience like no other, as Griff embarks on a mission to explore the history and culture of New York, London, Rome, Paris, Sydney and Hong Kong. From the bustling streets of Manhattan to the picturesque canals of Venice, get ready for a unique glimpse into some of the world’s most incredible cities – all through Griff Rhys Jones’ eyes. So join him on his journey and uncover the secrets of these great before anyone else.


Claridge’s is one of the most well-known and prestigious hotels in London, if not the world. With over two centuries of existence, it stands as an iconic symbol of discreet glamour for many. But what lies beneath this grand facade? The documentary series provides a revealing glimpse into the daily workings of Claridge’s. From replenishing bedclothes to placing flowers, the staff are constantly on their toes in a flurry of activity. The series celebrates the unique projects and surprises that come with running this legendary hotel while also highlighting the importance of mundane tasks in keeping things afloat. It’s an intimate look into one of London’s most iconic locations.


If you’re one of those people who loves to start their day off with a big, all-encompassing breakfast, then London is the place to be. Home to some of the most delicious and hearty full English breakfasts in the world, there’s no shortage of options for where you can go to satisfy your cravings. Whether it’s eggs Benedict, pancakes, sausages, or bacon and eggs that you’re after – here are some of the best places in London to get your full English breakfast fix. The Breakfast Club is a great spot for a classic full English plate. This beloved restaurant has been serving up delicious breakfasts since 2005 – and it shows. Their “Big Brekkie” plate includes sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns, beans, and toast – all of which is cooked to perfection. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique though – they also serve up an impressive selection of breakfast cocktails.


As the gloomy lockdown fades away, The Langham opens its doors once again and celebrates with a twist on the classic British afternoon tea. In Palm Court, this quintessential experience comes alive thanks to their nostalgic menu of treasured delicacies. Delight in a selection of freshly-baked scones served with clotted cream and preserves alongside a spread of traditional finger sandwiches. Enjoy these treats with an array of exquisite teas, lightly steeped to perfection, and classic cakes like Battenburgs and Victoria sponges. For those seeking a little twist on the classics, they can also indulge in some unique Langham favourites such as Earl Grey panna cotta or banana bread topped with marshmallow meringue. No matter what you choose, The Langham ensures that a memorable afternoon awaits. So gather your friends and family for a delightful return to tradition with this timeless British afternoon tea.


London has been an important part of history since its establishment in the year 1600. The city has seen hundreds of years worth of development, growth and change throughout its incredible journey. Famous landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge have stood vigilantly against the changing times to provide a glimpse into what life was once like in this vibrant corner of the United Kingdom. The industrial revolution had a huge impact on London, transforming it into an increasingly modern city with improved infrastructure and more efficient transportation links. By the end of the 19th century, London was established as one of Europe’s major cities, the hubbub of activity attracting people from all over the world for work and pleasure alike. During World War II, London was heavily damaged by German bombings, yet the citizens of this great city managed to pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding. Today, London is a global powerhouse renowned for its innovation and creativity.


For decades, the shadows of Russian oligarchs and companies have been looming large over London’s skyline. While Britain’s politicians have embraced the influx of investment from Russia, critics claim that this money is not all clean; far from it – they describe London as a ‘laundromat’, where vast sums of questionable cash are being cleaned up and put to use. But it took Russia’s aggression against Ukraine for the issue to be pushed into the public eye – what measures have been taken or proposed to tackle this problem, and are they enough? The FT investigates these questions and more as we explore the background of London’s ‘laundromat’. The UK has long been attractive to Russian investors. However, with wealth accrued from controversial sources, many claim that it is now being used to prop up parts of London’s elite economy. The public outcry after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 led to a flurry of investigative reports and sanctions, but the truth remains hidden – exactly how much money has been laundered in Britain?


Rob Bell, Dan Jones and Suzannah Lipscomb are on an incredible mission to uncover the truth behind the 350-year-old Great Fire of London. The trio travel across the city, piecing together evidence from both old and new sources to document this tragic event that turned almost every building within London’s walls into ash. Their journey begins at Pudding Lane, the source of the spark that started it all. From there, they trace the fire’s path as it swept through warehouses by the Thames and eventually engulfed the entire city. Even after all these years, Rob, Dan and Suzannah manage to provide a vivid and detailed account of what happened – hour by hour, street by street – during this devastating event that cost £37 billion in property damage.


The Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic symbols of London, has a history that is shrouded in mystery and legend. It is said to be the embodiment of what makes London so unique: a perfect combination of ancient beauty and modern innovation. For centuries, travelers have marveled at the Tower Bridge’s beautiful Gothic design while crossing its two river banks. But what is the real story behind this legendary bridge? To understand, one needs to go back to the 19th century when London was growing rapidly and a new bridge was desperately needed. In 1876, a competition was launched to design a bridge that would span the River Thames. After considering submissions from over 50 engineers, architect Horace Jones and engineer John Wolfe Barry won the contract with their inventive design. The bridge was to be built in two sections, each supported by two towers that stood 82 meters tall. The Tower Bridge project faced numerous challenges, such as keeping the construction hidden from view and dealing with high tides that threatened to swamp the worksite. Despite these obstacles, the bridge was completed in 1894 after 8 years of hard work.


The Great Fire of London is a story that lives on in infamy, still burning as brightly today as it did over three and a half centuries ago. The chaos began when a small spark lit up the chaotic night sky above Pudding Lane. In no time at all, a bright orange blaze was consuming buildings – and those unlucky enough to be inside them – with reckless abandon. The consequences were devastating, with the flames engulfing much of the City of London for four long days in September 1666. The fire’s sheer magnitude was unparalleled; it had no respect for money or class, burning grand palaces and humble hovels alike. But while a great many people lost their lives and homes, the kindness of strangers also rose from the ashes. In a show of resilience and compassion, Londoners opened their doors to those in need. This act of charity gave hope to many on that dark day and will never be forgotten.


From the historic lanes of Whitechapel to modern-day Mayfair, London’s streets are filled with secrets. Every corner, every cobblestone, and every street sign has a story to tell if you know where to look. Over the centuries, these stories have been lost and forgotten – until now. Embark on a journey through time as we uncover the hidden truths behind London’s streets, and reveal the forgotten legends that make this city so magical. From myths of ancient warriors to tales of modern heroes, we’ll explore all the secrets that have been kept away for far too long. The roads are much more than just pathways from one place to another. Every street has its own history, and we’ll use our imaginations to uncover the stories that have been hidden in plain sight. You’ll discover why certain areas are named after mysterious figures, and explore the unique tales attached to each of the city’s iconic landmarks.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B