The Old Royal Naval College regularly features in major film productions. In fact, so many films have been shot at Sir Christopher Wren's riverside masterpiece that Empire magazine called us 'the most popular filming location in the world'. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesLes Misérables and Cinderella are just a few of the blockbusters filmed here recently. 

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Johnny Depp is literally dragged through the Painted Hall in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides' Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is dragged from the Painted Hall. © Disney Enterprises


Top things to see

The Painted Hall

In Indiscreet (1958), one of the earliest films to be shot at the Old Royal Naval College, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman waltz the night away in the Painted Hall. You can recognise the beautifully painted walls and ceilings in many major productions. 

One scene in The Madness of King George (1994) shows the west wall’s paintings during a bell ringing concert, in which Nigel Hawthorne as King George III becomes agitated by the visible impatience of the court while they are watching an obviously boring performance. The west wall was a particularly well-chosen setting for the scene as its paintings depict George I, the great grandfather of King George III, surrounded by his family.

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in a scene from The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in a scene from The Iron Lady (2011) © Pathé


The Grounds

Not only do our grounds offer stunning architecture and some of the best views in London, they have also provided the setting for some of the most memorable scenes in recent cinema. The climactic battle scene in Thor: The Dark World (2013) involved a gigantic spacecraft crashing into lower grand square and the Old Royal Naval College's 18th century buildings have doubled for London, Berlin and Paris.

During the filming of Les Misérables (2012) a gigantic elephant stood in the grounds for several weeks, a recreation of a monument that stood in Napoleonic Paris. The huge barricades that formed the stage for the film’s final singalong were also placed here.

A giant elephant is constructed for the filming of Les Misérables (2012)

A giant elephant is constructed for the filming of Les Misérables (2012)


King William Court

This less well known part of the Old Royal Naval College features spectacular neoclassical architecture by Nicholas Hawksmoor and includes the Benjamin West designed Nelson pediment. To fully appreciate the stunning building and courtyard, take a stroll along the colonnades where scenes from films such as The Duchess (2008) were shot. 

The King William courtyard becomes Victorian London for Sherlock Holmes (2009)

King William Court doubled as Victorian London in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009)


Discover our cinematic with our filming location map.

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Old Royal Naval College Goes to the Movies

Can you spot the Old Royal Naval College in this selection of film trailers?


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Every commercial photograph shoot, television and film production supports our work to conserve the Old Royal Naval College, Sir Christopher Wren's riverside masterpiece.


Banner image credit: Keira Knightley in The Duchess (2008) © Pathé Renn Production SAS, BIM Distribuzione