Where Was Top Boy Filmed? Tracing the Gang’s Footprints
Updated On: September 15, 2023
The hit series “Top Boy’” comes to an end with its final season on Netflix. The British crime thriller Top Boy focuses on a group of young men who are involved in the drug trade and gang culture of East London. The show has a reputation for being tough, stirring, and not pulling any punches when it comes to depicting the seedy underbelly of the drug trade.
The Top Boy’s Real Deal
One of the many secrets to Top Boy’s authenticity and reliability lies in its clever utilisation of real-world locations. The show is actually filmed in and around London, which helps ensure that it reflects what it’s like for people living around here. For example, the crew could use a real estate agent’s office to film a scene in a lawyer’s office, or they could turn an abandoned warehouse into the perfect setting for a scene in a shady crack house.
Utilising real-world locations enhances the viewer’s experience by instilling a profound sense of realism and immersion. The authenticity of the show is enhanced when you witness the characters strolling along the very same streets that you frequently walk down. Knowing that the events on screen may actually happen in your neighbourhood adds to the show’s ability to keep you on the edge of your seat with their intensity and tension.
Familiar Filming Locations From Top Boy
Londoners would easily recognise multiple locations from the series; however, if you are not familiar with those places, let us introduce you to the most prominent filming locations from Top Boy:
The London Borough of Hackney
Hackney is the hip and happening part of East London. This place is famous for its artsy crowd, funky shops, yummy food, and a whole lot of interesting stories. Hackney is like a superstar in the world of filming! It’s been a top choice for lots of films and TV shows, like Netflix’s period drama Bridgerton, the thrilling Killing Eve, and Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. The London Borough of Hackney is home to various filming locations of Top Boy, such as:
The De Beauvoir Estate — Summerhouse Estate
The Summerhouse Estate is a made-up East London residence inspired by the real-life Heygate and De Beauvoir estates. The estate is home to the Summerhouse Gang, a group of drug dealers who operate in the neighbourhood. The Summerhouse Estate is characterised by poverty and crime, yet it is also a place where community and resilience thrive.
As seen in Seasons 1 and 2, the Heygate Estate was the original gaff for the Summerhouse Estate. However, it was knocked down in 2014 to make way for a fresh project. The De Beauvoir Estate has been used ever since for exterior shots.
The De Beauvoir Estate was constructed in the late 1960s on what used to be an industrial territory on the northern side of the Regent’s Canal. The estate is made up of five towering blocks and a bunch of winding low-rise blocks of maisonettes.
Nestled in the heart of East London, Dalston is a stunning neighbourhood that was once a forgotten area plagued by crime and neglect. However, it has undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a vibrant and sought-after haven for the young and the creatively inclined.
The neighbourhood is really rocking with a music scene that’s off the charts, retail options that are one-of-a-kind, and dining choices that cater to every taste under the sun. Believe it or not, Dalston is home to the most tantalising Turkish cuisine in all of London!
“London Fields” refers to one huge park in east London and the surrounding area. London Fields Park is a whopping 31-acre park nestled in the heart of Hackney, just a stone’s throw away from Mare Street and Hackney Museum. The park is one of the best spots in east London, winning the Green Flag award in 2008—a prestigious accolade bestowed upon the finest green spaces in the country.
It’s a real gem of a spot to chillax, perfect for picnicking, strolling with your furry friend, mingling with pals, and simply basking in the amazing outdoors. It is also a fantastic hotspot for little ones to kick it on the pitch, fitness enthusiasts to break a sweat, yogis to find their zen, young runners to hit the ground running, and a plethora of other engaging activities to keep everyone on their toes.
Not so far away, there is Broadway Market, a lovely, long, straight street lined with terraced houses with a charming village atmosphere, stretching from the beautiful London Fields Park all the way to the Regents Canal. Broadway Market is bursting with delightful cafes, delis, and a wide array of goodness, including organic grocers, trattorias, and an abundance of coffee shops.
Another prominent spot in London Fields is the lido. London Fields Lido is a fantastic place to hang out and enjoy a refreshing swim. It’s a well-known institution in London and definitely one of the city’s most popular pool destinations. The lido features a lovely 50-metre outdoor swimming pool, as well as a sun terrace and a cosy little cafe, making it especially perfect for summer parties, although you should be aware that it can get busy on hot days. Since it is heated during the winter season, the Lido is open year-round, from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.
When watching Top Boy, you will be able to see Haggerston Park, Haggerston Market, the Haggerston Baths, and Haggerston School. Haggerston is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood in East London with a rich history and culture. It is home to a mix of old and new, from the historic Geffrye Museum to the astonishing Columbia Road flower market. This part of London has been inhabited since before the Norman Conquest.
One of the most eye-catching things about Haggerston is its street art, which really paints the town red. The neighbourhood is like an open art museum with vivid graffiti and mind-boggling stencils, it’s a visual treat at every turn. Haggerston also features several privately owned art galleries and studios, making it an excellent destination for anyone interested in modern and contemporary art.
On top of its artistic flair, Haggerston is a veritable feast for food enthusiasts. The neighbourhood is a melting pot of culinary delights, with everything from classic British watering holes to hip eateries dishing out flavours from around the world.
Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone
It’s easy to recognise the distinguished façade of Whipps Cross University Hospital. The scenes of Top Boy that were shot at Whipps Cross University Hospital really brought the show to life. The hospital backdrop really drives home the uphill battles the characters endure and sheds light on the ripple effects of violence in the community, all while emphasising the dire need for mental health support.
Walworth Academy in Southwark
Top Boy used Walworth Academy in Southwark for its school scenes in seasons three and four, where we can see Ra’Nell and Gem attending school, interacting with their teachers and classmates, and dealing with the challenges of growing up in a tough neighbourhood. The show’s creators went to great lengths to ensure the utmost realism by involving actual students from the school as extras in these scenes.
The Old Blackfriars Crown Court
In the fourth season, things really hit the fan for Dushane (played by Ashley Walters) during the court scene. Turns out, the Nittys were actually playing both sides as undercover cops. This intense moment was captured in the iconic Old Blackfriars Crown Court, along with some other court scenes. This old court, situated in the heart of Southwark, London, changed hands and was snapped up by private developers in 2019.
Filming Locations Outside the UK
While the United Kingdom worthily hogged most of the filming locations for Top Boy, the crew decided to take their show on a world tour, capturing scenes in their real-world spots. Here’s where Top Boy was filmed outside the UK:
Jamaica is this awesome island in the Caribbean that’s famous for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and super cool culture. It has seen its fair share of camera action, having been featured in films and TV shows like the heart-pounding No Time to Die (2021), the highly-anticipated Bob Marley: One Love (2024), and, of course, Top Boy (season 3—2019). The capital city of the country, Kingston, played host to the scenes where Dushane was laying low.
Paying a visit to Jamaica is an absolute must; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s an experience that you simply can’t afford to miss. If you’re looking for some excitement, you can hit the trails in the Blue Mountains, ride the rapids in the White River, or take the plunge and explore the underwater wonders in the crystal-clear waters off the coast of Jamaica.
It would be shameful to visit Jamaica without checking out the Bob Marley Museum, where you delve into the captivating life and amazing work of the reggae maestro himself. And naturally, no jaunt to Jamaica would be complete without getting a taste of the island’s renowned jerk chicken. To get extra inspiration on what you can do and see in Jamaica, check out Connolly Cove’s posts:
- Jamaica Holiday: Guide to the Top 5 Destinations and Best Things to Do
- The Best Activities and Hotels in Lucea, Jamaica
- Best 15 Things to Do in Jamaica, Land of Reggae
In season four, the show took off to the stunning Mediterranean country of Morocco, specifically to the picturesque city of Chefchaouen. Blue-washed buildings are a signature of the city, earning it the moniker “The Blue City.” The city of Chefchaouen has a long and illustrious history, and it was formerly a key hub for the manufacture of indigo dye.
Besides its eye-catching blue buildings, which are totally Instagram-worthy, Chefchaouen has a plethora of other must-see sights and experiences up its sleeve. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Medina, or old town, is a real labyrinth of skinny streets and winding alleyways. Views of the city are especially impressive from the kasbah, or citadel, which was built in the 15th century. And the waterfalls of Akchour are an absolute favourite for day-trippers.
The list of activities you can do in such a terrific place is endless; however, you may want to try relaxing in a hammam—a traditional Moroccan bathhouse—and enjoy the local cuisine. Connolly Cove has even more ideas and recommendations on how to indulge in the Moroccan experience:
- Morocco’s Best City Breaks: Explore the Cultural Melting Pot
- Fez, Morocco: 13 Interesting Attractions to Visit
- 77 Things to Do in Morocco, Places, Activities, Hidden Gems to Discover & More
In season 4, Sully takes a leap across the pond to Spain to come face to face with Juan, the crooked cop. Those scenes were filmed in the Costa de la Luz, an astonishing region in Andalusia known for its stunning beaches and laid-back vibes. This place is like a treasure chest overflowing with fun activities, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the dazzling spectacle of Flamingo shows.
The name “Costa de la Luz” means “Coast of Light” in Spanish, and it is a fitting reference to the region’s bright, sunny weather. It’s a real hot spot for surfers and hikers. If you would like to learn more about how to plan your trip to Spain, here are some Connolly Cove recommendations:
- Top Things to Do in Spain- Places, Activities- Your Full Guide
- Explore Mallorca, Spain, for an Enjoyable Holiday
- Ibiza: The Ultimate Hub of Nightlife in Spain
Dushane and the whole gang are coming back with the final chapter of their gripping story. The Top Boy fans are promised to see more of London in this last season, alongside a fair share of twists and excitement.