Famous film locations in Buckinghamshire
PUBLISHED: 11:57 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:21 10 May 2017
We take a look at the Buckinghamshire locations that have featured in films
In David Lean’s 1945 classic, Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, the supposed town centre of Milford in Kent is actually Beaconsfield. In fact bits of ‘Milford’ were also filmed in Carnforth, Lancashire, some 230 miles away.
For Hot Fuzz, a 2007 police caper, Forty Green’s The Royal Standard of England pub is used for a dramatic scene as ‘The Crown’, and seven years later it was back on the big screen as Eddie Redmayne, playing Stephen Hawking, had a drink in ‘The Cambridge’ during The Theory of Everything. The Royal Saracens Head in Beaconsfield Old Town features in 1965’s Thunderball, while Hall Barn estate becomes the home of Lord Lindsay (Nigel Havers) in 1981 Oscar winner Chariots of Fire.
It might seem that the Georgian style Hedsor House mansion and its grounds are rarely off our screens. The credits here include appearing in Spooks, as The White House in The Special Relationship and then Downing Street in the Day of the Triffids. It’s even the place George Clooney gets kidnapped in the Nespresso ad. Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet film makes the most of the setting, while the action comedy Mordecai saw the likes of Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow filming there.
In Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head, the wonderful home becomes ‘Chateau Neuf’, where Kenneth Williams lives as Citizen Camembert. But it’s been put to better use than that, including as the setting for a Moriarty scene in 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The French Rococo Room is used in Bond film Never Say Never Again.
Chalfont St Giles is well known for doubling as ‘Walmington-on-Sea’ in Dad’s Army. In Chalfont St Peter a health farm visited by Bond in 1965’s Thunderball is actually Chalfont Park House.
The luxury hotel once home to the Astor family stands in beautiful National Trust grounds with amazing views, so it’s easy to see why directors would want to shoot there. But we start with an unusual choice – it doubles as the home of Sir Rodney Ffing – Sid James – in Carry On – Don’t Lose Your Head. It’s a send up of the Scarlet Pimpernel tale with Sir Rodney transforming into the Black Fingernail.
But Cliveden’s film ‘back catalogue’ is better known for its appearance as Buckingham Palace in The Beatles’ Help! and as the supposed Grand Hotel, Piccadilly Circus in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Then there’s a ‘cameo’ in Chaplin, another Downey Jr film, where it is the setting for a riverside audition, and interior use in 1971 for The Ruling Class, a satire starring Peter O’Toole and Alistair Sim.
When you need a Tudor manor house it’s hard to beat Dorney Court, a favourite pick of both TV and big screen location searchers. It was the choice for an incompetent robbery in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and as the home of Sir Walter Raleigh’s home in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, not long after doubling as the Earl of Arundel’s pile in Elizabeth. On television, you might have spotted Dorney in Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, 24: Live Another Day, Pride and Prejudice and many others.
Dorney Lake, used for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, had a role before that in The Social Network (2010), the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook. The Lake becomes ‘Henley Royal Regatta’ in the film.
Both the interior and exterior of Mentmore Towers near Cheddington has been used over the years. It manages to be the Wayne family home in 2005’s Batman Begins, the mansion used for an orgy in Eyes Wide Shut, and a restaurant in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Perhaps Mentmore’s strangest appearance is as a Cairo museum on antiquities on 1999’s The Mummy.
The picturesque Chilterns village is a regular choice for filmmakers. Screen credits include the 1996 version of 101 Dalmatians and a less joyful appearance in 1985’s Dance with Stranger, telling the story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain in 1955. It was also an eerie, apparently deserted, village in 1998’s big screen version of The Avengers.
The National Trust property in Middle Claydon has appeared as Donwell Abbey in Emma (1996), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor. It’s also been used in the 2015 version of Far From The Madding Crowd.
Anything that needs a bit of woodland for scene setting could well head here from Pinewood and beyond. We’re still wondering how Barbara Windsor managed to hide the shivers for Carry on Camping on a cold damp day here. And there’s no need to head to Sherwood Forest, Burnham Beeches will do, as it did for Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater. And in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when an escape to the woods is required.
First Knight, with Richard Gere and Sean Connery, made in 1995 brought the legends of King Arthur’s Round Table to the Beeches.
A beautiful park with woodland and lake right next door to Pinewood… it’s obvious what’s going to happen. For Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 it was home to an army training camp, in Goldfinger the site of a supposedly Swiss car chase, and even doubled as the site of Fort Knox in Kentucky. Black Park has been a jungle in 2001’s The Mummy Returns, provided a creepy setting in The Devil Rides Out and The Witchfinder General (both 1968) and the location of a hut in Harry Potter. In The Princess Bride, 1987, Black Park Lake is used.
The big claim to fame here is for 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral starring Hugh Grant, but there’s a little trickery involved.
Carrie, played by Andie MacDowell, and Grant as Charles, first get together at an inn called The Lucky Boatman. The exterior used is The Kings Arms, while the interior is from The Crown hotel just along the High Street, where you can still stay in the four poster room used in the film.
The beautiful grounds provide the perfect backdrop for The Music Lovers, Ken Russell’s 1970 story of Tchaikovsky, with a performance of Swan Lake there. It’s also a Russian estate in X¬Men: First Class. Other ‘credits’ include Dead Man’s Folly; White Hunter, Black Heart; and 2008’s The Duchess.
In The King’s Speech we see King George VI rehearsing a broadcast to the nation. Actor Colin Firth is not in Buckingham Palace but The Gold Room at Halton House, now the Officers Mess at RAF Halton, where filming took place in 2009. Halton House has also appeared in The World Is Not Enough, The Queen, ‘Judge John Deed, Evita, An Ideal Husband, The Duchess and Miss Marple.
Being just down the road from the then Denham Film Studios, the village has enjoyed many appearances in classic movies. They range from Blithe Spirit in 1945 to becoming the village home of Miss Marple in Murder Ahoy, a 1964 Agatha Christie adaption. For Carry On Matron (1972) Denham provided the home of about to give birth movie star Jane Darling.
The pretty village’s windmill provides the home of inventor Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Quite splendidly, a drive down a lane to a French beach in the film takes the car through next door Cadmore End. Turville became ‘Bramley End in Went The Day Well?, a wartime thriller, and is the site of a dubious deal in 2009’s An Education.
The new town had a starring role in 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as Metropolis, where the railway station becomes the UN building. Clark Kent’s newspaper, The Daily Planet, is now apparently in Avebury Boulevard. The film makes full use of MK’s plaza for scenes.
The cult 1987 Richard E Grant film Withnail and I, still has a big following, but there’s no point in them heading north to find scenes supposedly in Penrith. They were filmed in Market Square, Stony Stratford, some 240 miles away.
The school’s had parts in some big movies, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where it becomes the centrepiece of a Berlin rally. It hosts funeral scenes in both 2010’s The Wolfman and 1999’s The World is Not Enough, as well as appearing at the start of 2007 fantasy Stardust, as the Royal Academy Observatory.
Just four miles from Pinewood, it’s no real secret that stars of the big screen are sometimes seen here enjoying the facilities at the stunning Stoke Park country club, hotel and spa. But then for many it’s a familiar setting – numerous movie scenes have been filmed here over the years, including some classics.
Perhaps the best known remains 1964’s Goldfinger where the golfing duel between Bond (Sean Connery) and the villain takes place. Another Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, was also filmed there. Beyond Connery demonstrating his golfing prowess, there’s the fantastic scene where Oddjob, Goldfinger’s manservant, severs the head of a statue with his steel-rimmed bowler hat. For those who prefer rom-coms, the favourite is likely to be the mini-break ‘enjoyed’ by Hugh Grant and Renée Zellweger in Stoke Park’s gorgeous The Pennsylvania Suite or the rowing scenes filmed on the pretty lake there.
Stoke Park’s tennis courts starred in 2004’s Wimbledon (as well as Guy Ritchie’s later RockNRolla), and the hotel was a major player in numerous scenes for Layer Cake with Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller. The same year saw Matthew Vaughn’s Bride & Prejudice, a Bollywood reworking of Jane Austen’s classic novel, featuring shots throughout the grounds. The estate is also used in Madonna’s film, W.E., which looks at the romance of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson through the eyes of a troubled modern day New Yorker, and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor.