Who would have thought that such a beautiful English county as Midsomer could have so much crime? The fictional Midsomer is, of course, the supposed setting for Midsomer Murders, a British TV drama focusing on the main character of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, played by John Nettles.
In reality, Midsomer is filmed around four real English counties – Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.
While the fictional Midsomer county town of Causton is represented by Wallingford in Oxfordshire, it is Buckinghamshire in the south east of England that we are going to look at here; a great many scenes are filmed in the county thanks to its proximity to Pinewood Studios.
Buckinghamshire has a great many National Trust properties, gardens, parkland, towns, windmills and historic houses, even a duck decoy. The fictional settings of Midsomer Malow, Magna or many of the other fictional villages in the county of Midsomer, are based on real locations in Buckinghamshire’s Vale of Aylesbury and Chiltern Hills.
Visit Aylesbury itself, the county town of Buckinghamshire, for its markets, the National Trust’s lauded King’s Head pub (now also the Tourist Information Centre) and the Roald Dahl Gallery. Children and adults alike can spend hours riding the glass elevator, playing in the giant peach, crawling along Fantastic Mr Fox’s tunnel and exploring inventions with Mr Willy Wonka. Aylesbury’s Roald Dahl festival is held every July.
The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton, featured on the show, is a day for train enthusiasts and children. Britain’s largest private railway collection displays historic locomotives and offers engine-driving sessions and rides with Thomas the Tank Engine.
You might find the village of Turville in the Chiltern Hills doubly familiar. As well as being the setting for many scenes in Midsomer Murders, it was also the home of the Vicar of Dibley. St Mary the Virgin Church in the middle of the village doubled as St Barnabas in Dibley and is the centrepiece of the village. The windmill overlooking Turville was also used in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Passing through the real-life idyllic villages of Aylesbury and Chiltern Hills with their old-world pubs and cottages, summer fetes and village greens is a great way to spend a day. There’s less crime in real life too!
Aylesbury is served by the A41, with the A413 and A418 roads also running through the town. Rail services run into Aylesbury Railway Station or Aylesbury Vale Parkway station.