The World’s End, 2013
- Simon Pegg
- Nick Frost
- Rosamund Pike
- Martin Freeman
- Eddie Marsan
- Paddy Considine
- Pierce Brosnan
- David Bradley
- Bill Nighy
- Rafe Spall
visit the film locations
Visit: Enjoy Hertfordshire
Letchworth Garden City: rail, from London King’s Cross
Welwyn Garden City: rail, from London King’s Cross
The World’s End location: ultimate destination, ‘The World’s End’ pub: Gardeners Arms, Wilbury Hills Road, Letchworth Garden City
The Cornetto Trilogy comes to a gloriously apocalyptic conclusion with The World’s End, as Gary King (Simon Pegg) gathers together four of his pals to relive the pub crawl to end all pub crawls.
You won’t be able to recreate the legendary Golden Mile crawl. It’s not so much that there is no ‘Newton Haven’ (you can find most of the locations in two Hertfordshire towns north of London) but that not all the ‘pubs’ are pubs. One is a restaurant, one a vacant shop, one a cinema and one is even a railway station.
By way of compensation, two unacknowledged pubs are sneaked in to provide interior scenes.
The World’s End location: the roundabout at ‘Newton Haven’: Sollershott Circus, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City
Ironically, for a film based around a pub crawl, the main location is Letchworth Garden City, north of Stevenage. The first ‘garden city’ created by the idealistic New Towns movement in 1909, the community was launched with a policy forbidding the sale of alcohol on public premises. Although a couple of pre-existing pubs were allowed to continue trading, it wasn’t until 1958 that licenses were granted to new businesses. To this day, the town centre has few more than half-a-dozen pubs. Which might explain why several of the film’s premises had to be faked.
Among a distinctly unenthusiastic crew, the least willing to revisit his laddish past is Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), who’s settled into a conventional office job for law firm ‘Beckingham Davies Knightley’ in the Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, Bankside, alongside Tate Modern, London SE1. In real life, the innovative tower is the HQ of magazine publishing empire, IPC Media.
There’s no arguing with Gary and Andy, along with Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Steven (Paddy Considine) find themselves at High Wycombe Railway Station in Buckinghamshire patiently waiting for their predictably tardy organiser.
The World’s End location: yes, it’s true – this is the UK’s first roundabout: the Sollershott Circus, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City
Heading to ‘Newton Haven’ in ‘The Beast’, the roundabout they encounter on arrival (and on departure, too) claiming to be the first of its kind in the UK, is – surprisingly – the real deal. It’s Sollershott Circus, on Broadway, south of Letchworth Garden City at the six-road junction with Sollershott and Spring Road.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 1 – ‘The First Post’: The Peartree, Hollybush Lane, Welwyn Garden City
Having established Letchworth Garden City as the fictitious ‘Newton Haven’, the first four stops on the ‘Mile’ can all be found in Welwyn Garden City, 12 miles to the south.
All of the pub names, invented for the film, are cryptic pointers to the plot, so it’s natural that the evening starts out at ‘The First Post’. This turns out to be The Peartree, Hollybush Lane at Woodhall Lane, southeast of Welwyn Garden City. And that really is the pub’s interior, gamely allowing itself to be dissed as bland.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 2 – ‘The Old Familiar ’: The Doctor’s Tonic, Church Road, Welwyn Garden City
The gag is that it’s the same interior used for the second pub, ‘The Old Familiar’, the exterior of which is The Doctors Tonic, Church Road, between Parkway and Longcroft Lane, a lively bar (with live music) closer to the centre of Welwyn Garden City. This is where Oliver’s sister, and Steve’s secret crush, Sam (Rosamund Pike) turns up.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 3 ‘The Famous Cock’: The Cork, Welwyn Garden City
Staying in the centre of town, pub number three, ‘The Famous Cock’, haunt of Mad Basil (David Bradley), retailer of dark conspiracy theories, is The Cork, a former bank at 9 Howardsgate. Since the younger Gary had been barred for life, the stay at the ‘Cock’ isn’t too long.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 4 – ‘The Cross Hands’: The Parkway Bar, Parkway, Welwyn Garden City
It’s quickly off to pub number four, ‘The Cross Hands’. This is the Parkway Bar on Parkway, which is indeed just around the corner from The Cork. Although the Parkway’s real bar is used, you won’t be surprised to hear that the gents’ toilet, in which the evening starts to go disturbingly awry, was recreated in the studio.
Reasoning that to continue with Golden Mile is the best way not to attract attention, the five head off down ‘Newton Haven’s’ high street, becoming uncomfortably aware of the locals’ odd attitude. This is finally back to Letchworth Garden City, and Leys Avenue, the town’s main shopping street.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 5 – ‘The Good Companions’: 71 Leys Avenue, Letchworth Garden City
And also where the locations begin to get tricksy. Venue number five, ‘The Good Companions’, is a vacant shop at 71 Leys Avenue with pubby set dressing added to its frontage.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 5 – ‘The Good Companions’ – inside: Wenlock Arms, Islington, London
The World’s End location: Pub no. 6 – ‘The Trusty Servant’: The Three Magnets, Leys Avenue, Letchworth Garden City
Although the exterior of number six, ‘The Trusty Servant’, is a real pub – The Three Magnets, 18-20 Leys Avenue, the bar interior where Gary susses out the Rev Green – his one-time dealer – is the Director’s Arms, at the junction of Ripon Way and Cranes Way, in Borehamwood. The town of Borehamwood itself is familiar from plenty of screen appearances, since it’s so close to Elstree Studios and the old Borehamwood Studios.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 7 – ‘The Two-Headed Dog’: The Colonnade, Letchworth Garden City
From The Three Magnets, it’s just across the roundabout to find stop number seven, ‘The Two Headed Dog’, where the initially sceptical Sam encounters creepy twins in the beer garden. This is The Colonnade, Station Road.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 8 – ‘The Mermaid’: Broadway Cinema, Letchworth Garden City
Number eight, ‘The Mermaid’, with its ‘School Disco’ theme is the Broadway Cinema, Eastcheap. Opened in 1936, it’s still very much an independent cinema, so this time the interior was filmed at Chalfont Campus, a former college in Newlands Park, just outside Chalfont St. Giles, in Buckinghamshire.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 9 – ‘The Beehive’: Thai Garden, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
Conveniently, only a few doors away from the Broadway, pub number nine, ‘The Beehive’ is the Thai Garden, 10 Gernon Road, which in the real world is a restaurant. It’s here that their old school teacher, Mr Shepherd (Pierce Brosnan) coolly explains the situation in the most reasonable terms. The remaining ‘musketeers’ don’t find the explanation quite so unproblematic, and the spectacular ruckus that follows was filmed back in the studio.
The World’s End location: lying low in the ‘smoke house’: Howard Garden Social Centre, Norton Way South, Letchworth Garden City
Fleeing ‘The Beehive’, they retire to lie low for a while in their old ‘smoke house’, the club house of the Howard Garden Social Centre Bowling Green, Norton Way South at the foot of Gernon Road. This is where the film briefly references John Carpenter’s The Thing, as each character in turn is obliged to establish authentic humanity.
The World’s End location: Pub No. 10 – ‘The King’s Head ’: The Arena Tavern, Arena Parade, Letchworth Garden City
The escape route now fortuitously leads them through pub number ten, the deserted ‘King’s Head’, where the indefatigable Gary maintains the ‘drink in every pub’ objective by serving himself a pint. Both inside and out, this is the Arena Tavern, 3 Arena Parade, another live music venue, in the heart of Letchworth.
The World’s End location: nearly there – Pub No. 11 – ‘The Hole In The Wall’: Letchworth Garden City Railway Station, Letchworth Garden City
Chased by glowy-eyed ‘blanks’, Gary legs it north up Broadway to pub number eleven, perhaps the most surprising location of all. ĎThe Hole In The Wallí is Letchworth Garden City Railway Station, Station Road. A false wall was built across the station entrance and, if you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand why the pub interior was built at Elstree Studios.
The World’s End location: ultimate destination – Pub No. 12 – ‘The World’s End’ : Gardener’s Arms, Wilbury Hills Road, Letchworth Garden City
The survivors triumphantly make it to their ultimate destination, ‘The World’s End’, which is The Gardener’s Arms, Wilbury Hills Road at Icknield Way. Unlike the other Letchworth locations, which are fairly close together in the town centre, the Gardener’s Arms is about a mile west of the town. And don’t worry – if you’ve managed the Golden Mile, it’s still tihere servng up that well-earned pint.