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.