A Screen Buff’s Location Guide To The Chilterns

Four Movie Locations You Should Visit…

If a nuclear bomb were to drop on London tomorrow the chances of the Chilterns being saved from destruction would be rather slim.

After all, along with the destruction of hundreds of square miles of beautiful countryside, we’d also lose the rich cinematic history that goes with the area (as well as the possibility of any more films being made in the area. Then again, in a post-apocalyptic Britain, that perhaps wouldn’t be the biggest tragedy at hand).

Thankfully nuclear war seems to be a way off yet and with the advent of the Nuclear Event Detector we’re more likely than ever before to be prepared for it, although the countryside will still suffer the same dismal fate.

We digress.

For the last 60 years, the Chilterns have been used as a location for numerous productions on both big and small screens. Here’s a quick run down of just a few of the locations that you can visit on your next trip to the area:

Berkhamstead

Son of Rambow (2007)

Although director Garth Jennings has arguably moved on to bigger and better things in the shape of the Sing animated movies, he made his first feature in and around the Chilterns, whilst using the nearby settlement of Berkhamstead as a stand-in for the 1980s council estates in his coming of age tale, Son of Rambow.


West Wycombe House

Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

The Chilterns is well known for its plethora of country homes, so its unsurprising that many of these are often used as filming locations for period dramas, none of which have made more of a splash in recent years than the award winning Downton Abbey. West Wycombe House served as the home of Downton mainstay Lady Rosamund and was the home of real-life aristocrats the Dashwoods for more than 300 years.


Turville

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007) and Midsomer Murders (1997-)

Any fan of ITV’s Midsomer Murders will find the idyllic environs of Turville instantly familiar, it’s been featured in countless episodes of the classic murder mystery series. The village also provided the location for the fictional village of Dibley, where Dawn French’s cheery Geraldine Granger would be constantly struggling with her weird and wonderful congregation. Baron Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also hovers menacingly over the village in the 1968 children’s classic.


Hambledon

101 Dalmatians (1996) and The Avengers (1998)

Widely regarded as one of the prettiest villages in the Chilterns, Hambledon has resisted the pull of modernity to such an extent that, if it weren’t for the modern vehicles driving through it, you would feel as if you’d travelled back in time. Such is the authenticity of this places that it has been frequently used as a location to depict the English countryside at its most idyllic – notably in Disney’s live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians.

These locations just scratch the surface of the locations in the Chilterns that have been used in works of TV and Film. If you’re a film buff planning on taking a trip to see us soon, you might want to think about coinciding your trip with one of the special showings put on by Vintage Cinema. This company projects new and classic films in particularly fitting locales, think: Night at the Museum at The Natural History Musuem in Tring or The Goonies in the eerie Hell-Fire Caves.

3 Quintessentially British Villages to Visit

Spend a long weekend in a comfortable Chilterns village…

Other than being a perfect destination to explore the great outdoors from the Chilterns are also famed for their chocolate-box villages.

For many city-dwellers the prospect of escaping the hustle of their metropolis’ for the weekend is always tempting, however some urbanites may worry that they won’t be able to find restaurants or hotels to match the standard set by their urban establishments. City folk can rest easy though as, thanks to the Chilterns’ close proximity with London (just an hour away by train), many top chefs and businessmen have set up shop in the relative peace of the countryside, raising the bar for hospitality across the area.

If you’re thinking about trialling life in the Chilterns then why not stop off at one of our many stunning villages for the night and grab a bite to eat while you’re at it?

Hambleden

There are fewer villages in the UK that have received as much attention as Hambleden. Used as a shooting location for major movie productions and television series, the village made headlines a over a decade ago when the estate was sold for a reported £38 million. You might think that no single village could ever be worth that much money, but one visit will be enough to convince you otherwise.

Where to Stay? Recently renovated under the watchful eye of famed architect Ptolemy Dean, The Stag and Huntmsen encapsulates the very best of British pub culture whilst adding a dash of upper-class decency to the whole affair. The handful of rooms on offer are stylish yet suitably old-school and as there are no other places to stay in the village you’ll feel like you’re very much a part of an exclusive set.

Where to Eat? Hambleden is a small village, so unless you want to travel further afield you may as well stay put and grab a plate of posh grub at The Stag. Although you could accuse the chef of pandering to the tastes of meat-lovers, the sheer variety of well-presented classics on the menu is enough to make anyone’s mouth water – regardless of dietary requirements.

Stonor

You don’t get much more secluded that the village of Stonor. Named for the stately home that has been the home of the Stonor family for over 850 years, this village has always existed as a part of the family’s estate. There are no pubs or inns on the land but you can still stay in the general vicinity and grant yourself a glimpse into what life as a tenant of the family might have been like – excellent for fans of Downton Abbey.

Where to Stay? White Pond Farm is made up of three buildings. Two historical cottages have been sympathetically converted, preserving original features whilst opening up the previously pokey spaces. The Farmhouse wing dates back to the 17th Century and is perfect for a family of four to spend a long weekend in.

Where to Eat? A 45-minute walk away from White Pond Farm is The Five Horseshoes, a well put together boozer that serves a great selection meaty mains with just a few token veggie dishes. Sunday Roast are exceptional and the ale is pretty decent too.

Skirmett

It might not have the most attractive of names, but Skirmett is by far one of the prettiest hamlets in the Chilterns area. Not much goes on this part of the world which suits the handful of residents and visitors just fine. Like many of the settlements in the area, the majority of the buildings are built with flint which are incredibly easy on the eyes. Whilst it may be a pretty quiet place to settle down for the weekend, you’re guaranteed to get a peaceful night’s sleep here.

Where to Stay? The Frog At Skirmett is the village’s only pub. Well kept but not too smart for its own good, the relaxed charm of this pub with rooms makes for a great base camp for a long weekend. Three pleasant rooms offer a non-fussy alternative to a hotel and includes a bang-up breakfast to boot.

Where to Eat? Although you might be able to pick up a decent meal at The Frog, if you fancy a change of scenery then you can hop over to the nearby Bull & Butcher for a great value lunch or dinner. Mains cost around £12-15 and are generous in their size.

Outdoor Activities For All The Family

Get ready to get muddy on your next trip to the Chilterns!

Whilst the Chilterns is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend break, there’s more than enough to satisfy the appetites of outdoor enthusiasts too.

By all means, come to the Chilterns to relax in an indulgent five-star hotel or take a load off at one of our many excellent pubs – but why not earn your pub lunch first?

Now you should be warned that these activities are more than likely to get you a little muddy. You’ll find that there won’t be too many laundromats in the Chilterns area, as setting up a cleaning business in the area has proven to be a challenge that not many entrepreneurs are up for taking on. So, before you jump headfirst into an activity it’s best to make sure that you’ve got a spare set of clothes at the ready and that wherever your staying has some sort of laundry facility.

These outdoor activities might get you muddy, but they’re also guaranteed to get your heart beating and build an appetite:

Chilterns Walking Festival

Each year the volunteers behind the Chilterns Walking Festival offer visitors the opportunity to take part in a wide programme of hikes and guided tours. You can either make some new friends by joining up with a group of walkers or set off by yourself on one of over 200 planned routes.

Discover the filming locations of the iconic Midsomer Murders in the Henley area or find your way onto a trail that takes you past one of our iconic chalk streams.

Go Ape

Coniferous and broadleaved trees make up the woodland near Wendover, you’ll have plenty time to admire the foliage whilst you’re tackling the high ropes, climbing walls and scrambling nets that Go Ape have to offer at one of their largest locations in the UK.

This is the only Go Ape site in the UK to offer an ‘Extreme’ route, so for those looking to live dangerously this might just be the ticket. With platforms reaching up to dizzying 13.5 metres and a total length of 685 metres, this is a great way to get a grips with lush woodland that the Chilterns has to offer.

Aston Hill Bike Park

A post shared by Sushant (@super_sush) on

It should be noted that a handful of the routes at this acclaimed mountain bike park might be a little too gnarly for young ones, but considering that it only costs £7 to work up your courage for a whole day you might be surprised by the hairy down-hill routes that your kids are taking on by the end of the day.

You will need to bring all the necessary equipment with you that means mountain bikes and helmets.It’s worth thinking about bringing body armour too if you really fancy pushing your limits on one of the more extreme routes.

Chiltern Society Volunteering

Although you might only be visiting for a few days, there’s no reason why can’t try and make the Chilterns a better place whilst you’re here. The Chiltern Society are always looking for volunteers to lend a hand with litter picking, maintaining the box and repairing fences.

Doing outdoors DIY is not exactly what most people would consider a fun way of spending their spare time, but it’s a great way to give back and also meet some like minded people!

5 Must-Visit Gastro Pubs in the Chilterns

There’s nothing quite like a wholesome pub lunch or dinner and we reckon that our gastro pubs’ grub is the best in the country.

Whether you’re in the frosty depths of Winter looking for a safe refuge, or if you’re simply looking to take a load off during a day’s hiking, these gastro pubs all serve some of the best local ales as well as offering classy yet down-to-earth food that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The Hand and Flowers

Credit: @Adamdegg

Opened in 2005 by renowned chef Tom Kerridge, this was the first pub to be awarded two Michelin stars and the team here has continued to build on this reputation with an approachable (yet pricey) menu of carefully refined pub classics. Despite the plaudits and acclaim, The Hand and Flowers is first and foremost a pub in the most traditional of moulds. During the summer you’re more than welcome to drop in for a pint and there’s even a Set Lunch on offer for those wishing to get a more affordable taste of the Michelin-star standard on offer.


The Jolly Cricketers

Credit: @Amanda Lillitou

One of the most celebrated pubs in the Chilterns – The Jolly Cricketers is a real treat for any lover of the game itself or a just a well poured pint. The food (served Monday to Sunday) is of a high standard but the prices are notably affordable. Awarded the Bib Gourmand in 2012, the Michelin inspectors singled out The Jolly Cricketers as a favourite noting it as ‘offering good food at moderate prices’.


The Sir Charles Napier

Credit: @Shahrooz

Named after the distinguished British officer of the same name (you would have seen a statue of him if you’ve visited London’s Trafalgar Square) this gastro pub is known for its quirky use of sculpture and wonderfully landscaped garden. Although you might have a bit of difficulty finding this charming spot, armed with a top of the range satnav you should be able to stumble across it alright.


The Crown Inn

Credit: @CrownSydenham

Dating back to the 17th Century, The Crown Inn encapsulates everything that you’d expect from a traditional English pub. Hand-carved wooden beams, roaring fireplaces and excellent ales all contribute to the spirit of old world charm that is at it’s strongest during the Autumn months. Stop by for food and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by both the value and the quality on offer. Mains start at around £12 whilst a pint of the excellent Rebbelion Beer Co. ale will only set you back around £4.


The Alford Arms

Credit: @The Alford Arms

One thing you can expect from a visit to The Alford Arms is an abundance of smiling faces, along with some truly excellent pub grub. The food here aims to comfort you whilst surprising you at the same time, that’s why you’ll find such varied items on the menus as Salt and Szechuan pepper squid sitting next to a char-grilled thyme and garlic pork chop. Prices are very reasonable, considering the quality of service on offer and you can guarantee a great pint in a a stunning location as well.