A Cornish scene from ‘About Time’
A Cornish scene from ‘About Time’

 The film

Bumbling English boy Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) falls for American dream girl Mary (Rachel McAdams) and sets about trying to win her heart, helped and sometimes hindered by an eccentric collection of family and friends. So far, so Richard Curtis, although this latest romcom from the creator of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, has an added time-travel twist – think Notting Hill meets Groundhog Day.

On location

If there’s one thing Curtis knows how to do well (apart from posh people swearing), it’s to make Britain look good. The action takes place in Cornwall, where Tim lives in a beautiful rambling house by the sea with his parents (Bill Nighy and Lindsay Duncan), and in London where he moves to train as a lawyer.

In Cornwall, the production was based in St Austell. Though this former clay-mining town has little to detain tourists, it’s the perfect jumping off point for the beautiful Roseland Peninsula, which is home to some of south Cornwall’s finest beaches. Look out for scene-stealing appearances from Vault Beach, a secluded stretch of silver sand near Gorran Haven, and the tiny fishing village of Portloe, whose steep-sided harbour and whitewashed cottages provide a picturesque backdrop for Tim and Mary’s wedding.

Broom Parc is an attractive Georgian villa on a cliff top near Gorran Haven that is run as an intimate B&B. If it looks familiar it’s because it was the location for Channel 4’s popular serialisation of Mary Wesley’s The Camomile Lawn in 1992, but in this production it doubles up as Tim’s idyllic childhood home.

Scenes were also shot in Charlestown – a Georgian harbour village that grew up around the export of copper and china clay. It is now a regular port of call for film crews, thanks to its extraordinary collection of historic ships. Curtis and his cast were spotted dining on more than one occasion at Wreckers a cosy bistro in a converted boat shed.

Back in London, Curtis places the action in Queen’s Park, just up the road from Notting Hill, which he depicted so memorably in his earlier film. Though it lacks the grit and glamour of its high-profile neighbour, Queen’s Park has plenty of chichi spots, including Brondesbury Road, which features in the film. Abbey Road, in St John’s Wood, immortalised by the famous Beatles album cover, also makes a cameo appearance.

Where to stay

The cast and crew stayed at Boscundle Manor near St Austell, a 14-bedroom boutique hotel with spa and pool (doubles from £100) and made regular forays to the nearby Kingswood Restaurant to eat. For traditional Cornish charm and a waterside location, The Lugger, a 17th-century inn in Portloe, is hard to beat (doubles from £130 per night, B&B.

For accommodation in northwest London, www.onefinestay.com has some gorgeous private homes to rent in Queen’s Park and St John’s Wood, with prices from £375 a night for a one-bedroom Victorian flat.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article