Each one of us, while watching Mary Poppins and listening to its marvelous soundtrack, has dreamed at least once of visiting the wonderful places that provide the backdrop for the dreamy events of the famous and beloved film.
From the Banks’ house, located on the now famous 17 Cherry Tree Lane, to the park where Mary, Jane, and Michael meet our beloved Bert (how can one not love Dick Van Dyke, who, at over 90 years old, continues to post videos and photos while dancing and singing???), and even to St. Paul’s Cathedral – today, I will take you with me to the very places that inspired those seen in the movie.
I say “inspired” because, for those who don’t know, Mary Poppins was entirely filmed in the Burbank studios in California. Therefore, everything you see in the film is a movie set constructed on a soundstage. However, these reconstructions draw inspiration from real locations found in our old, enchanting English capital, and as such, they can be visited!
17 Cherry Tree Lane – Kensington and Chelsea
The first stop that every respectable Mary Poppins fan wants to make is undoubtedly the home of Mr. and Mrs. Banks and their beloved children, Jane and Michael, located on 17 Cherry Tree Lane, where Bert leads us at the beginning of the film. In reality, Cherry Tree Lane does not exist, nor does the house that appears in the film, as mentioned earlier, it was recreated in a soundstage. However, according to the stories and what can be seen, Disney artists drew inspiration from picturesque London buildings, abundant in the Kensington and Chelsea area and Kensington Square.
This area of London, also known as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, was designated by the British Crown as a Royal Borough, a title usually given to neighborhoods that have been the birthplace of members of the British royal family (in the case of Kensington, it was Queen Victoria). The name Kensington derives from the ancient village that once stood there.
Undoubtedly, it is one of the most exclusive and luxurious areas of the city, and in addition to still being home to one of the most well-known and prestigious palaces of the royal family, Kensington Palace, it is also the location of many other famous places in the capital, such as the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Notting Hill area, and Portobello Road (the latter being the protagonist of another beloved Disney film), and much more. Kensington Square, in particular, is the oldest square in London, built in 1692, and some houses constructed there, similar to the one in the film, have been classified as historical buildings to be preserved for their historical-architectural significance.
In the Chelsea area, specifically at No. 50 Smith Street, you can find the house of the writer P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins literary saga, from which our dear Disney film is derived! That very house, where Travers also conducted negotiations for the film with Uncle Walt, has been commemorated today with the English Heritage Blue Plaque, an award given to commemorate a link between a place and a person or a famous historical event of the past.
In short, even though 17 Cherry Tree Lane does not exist, it is abundantly present in many places in that area of London, and if you are a true fan, you absolutely must pay a visit!
A Lovely Stroll with Mary and Bert in Regent’s Park
“”Oh it’s a jolly ‘oliday with Mary”
…sings Bert in what is undoubtedly the most famous and beloved scene of the entire film.
That scene begins at the entrance of a park, with the charming chimney sweep, played by Dick Van Dyke, busy drawing pictures. Then, the scene magically shifts inside one of those pictures, and there we have the beautiful songs “Jolly Holiday” first and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” afterward.
The inspiration for those splendid scenes, in this case, can be found in one of London’s most renowned parks, Regent’s Park, one of the eight Royal Parks, located in the Westminster area.
The name “Regent’s Park” is derived from the Prince Regent, also known as the Playboy Prince, who later became King George IV. Regent’s Park, also known as “the jewel in the crown,” covers a whopping 197 hectares and was developed, as we know it today, by the architect and urban planner John Nash, under the orders of the aforementioned Prince Regent. Countless activities await you inside the park – from sports to a stroll, enjoying open-air theater performances, or visiting the London Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world.
In short, there’s no room for boredom, but one thing is more than certain – as you wander along the park’s splendid avenues or even just at the entrance, you’ll immediately savor the delightful atmosphere of a lovely day in the company of our dear Mary!
Admiral Boom’s House
If, on the other hand, you are fervent fans of the lovable Admiral Boom, you must pay a visit to Hampstead, where it seems there is a house that some say served as inspiration for Travers’ novels and indeed bears some resemblance to the one recreated in the Disney film.
This is the Admiral House, a building also considered a historical-architectural heritage, constructed back in the 1700s by a certain Charles Keys. The house was used, among other things, as a Masonic lodge in the first half of the 18th century until 1775 it became the residence of Lieutenant Fountain North, who renamed it “The Grove.”
According to accounts, it was he who added the crow’s nest on the roof of the house, from which he enjoyed firing cannon shots to celebrate naval victories and royal birthdays, which is said to have inspired Travers’ famous character, Admiral Boom.
A Day at the Bank of England with Mr. Banks
Another iconic building that appears in the film, although also recreated, is the imposing edifice of the Bank of England, the workplace of Mr. George Banks. The Bank of England was founded way back in 1694 to raise funds for the Nine Years’ War against France and is the central bank of the United Kingdom.
Feeding the Birds in Front of Saint Paul’s Cathedral
One of the scenes that always filled me with nostalgia as a child (and still does) is the one where Mary Poppins sings and the little old lady appears on the steps of a church, feeding the birds. The church in the background is the majestic Saint Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic and imposing historical buildings that you absolutely must visit. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1660 and completed in the distant year 1711, it features a Baroque style, and its enormous dome, second in size only to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, is undoubtedly one of the symbols of the London skyline, standing prominently in the recognizable sky.
The exterior staircases in front of the main facade are the very same ones where the aforementioned lady feeds the birds in the movie.
In this cathedral, weddings and funerals of various members of the royal family have been celebrated, and it is the resting place of Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. If you want to enjoy a magnificent view of the city and its splendid rooftops, just like Mary, Bert, and the kids do, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the cathedral and climb its tall and majestic dome!
With this, we have reached the end of this little journey through the most iconic places of Mary Poppins. Do any other places from the film come to your mind that we forgot to mention? If so, which ones? And, most importantly, which of these places have you visited or would you like to visit?
Let us know by commenting on our social channels!