- Friday, 03 August 2012
Never mind ‘whodunnit’ - more like where is it!
Mature Times sent me to a sleepy and idyllic corner of England to find the true locations for television phenomena, Midsomer Murders.
Would I be another casualty, as I discovered the warped and twisted fictional county, based on books by Caroline Graham, with an average of 3 murders per episode?
You either love it, or hate it – the detective series has been running for 14 years with multiple homicides behind the lacy curtains of half timbered cottages.
The stories with a sting or ‘twist’ in the tail featured John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby and now a new leading man, Neil Dudgeon as Tom’s cousin.
I set off for the day to discover the filming locations with other intrepid travellers, ably assisted by the very knowledgeable John from Absolute Touring. The various destinations are strewn over the three counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire all within the picturesque rolling escarpments of the Chilterns.
Setting off from Oxford, I discovered that the perfect Midsomer village has a green, church, a pub – or two all bursting with characters and perfect cute cottages.
We found all of these, and more, on a wonderful day exploring the charming villages in South Oxfordshire.
We visited the fictional Causton, based on Wallingford, with many episodes shot on the famous bridge. And explored Dorchester on Thames with its beautiful Abbey and Ewelme, a hidden village with outstanding 15th Century buildings.
Then we stopped for a pub lunch in Henley - the bustling home of the world’s most prestigious rowing event and used in many episodes.
“Great so much to see – beautiful villages, so well kept up – just like I imagined from the programme” exclaimed Colleen, one of our many overseas visitors, who love the programme and its quintessential English settings.
I didn't realise that the programme is sold to 230 countries and has many ardent followers.
In South Oxfordshire there are now two excellent self-drive itineraries and dedicated tours with informed enthusiastic guides exploring off the beaten track.
I travelled with Absolute Touring having visited some wonderful countryside and the hidden stunning locations.
No murders but, with imagination, you could easily write the next episode. There is a certain comfort – which is very English – to a good murder, where the acceptable calm rural idyll world is always reassuringly restored.
Visit the new website www.visitmidsomer.com to find out more.
Absolute Touring http://www.absolutetouring.co.uk/
by Rowena Cooper - travel writer
Winners of our Midsomer Murders competition - 11 June 2012