Mr Bell In Henley – A Midsomer Murder Trail

Henley on Thames is most famous for its Royal Regatta but it’s also seen on TV screens around the world as the fictional market town of Causton in the popular TV drama Midsomer Murders. Fans of the show will recognise many of the filming locations within the town from their appearances in numerous episodes. While I was visiting Henley I followed this short walk around the town to see the locations myself.

I start in the Market Square, Henley’s focal point, hosting a market every Thursday since the middle ages. In the episode Last Year’s Model the square was used and also the Grade II listed Town Hall was given a new role as Causton’s court house. Just off the square at the corner with West Street is the building used as the exterior for the solicitors office in Down Among The Dead Men.

Still in the Market Square is the Argyll Pub, a traditional pub dating from the 17th century. The Argyll was visited by Barnaby and Jones where they met clinical psychiatrist Pru Plunkett in Last Year’s Model. If you go into the pub there is a brass plaque at the bar where the detectives stood.

Just down from the Argyll Pub is Gabriel Machin, a butchers shop since 1861. The shop is renowned for the quality of its produce and has been featured in Rick Stein’s Food Heroes programme. With its traditional facade the shop was the ideal location to become Anton Thorneycrofts butcher in The Magician’s Nephew.

Down on New Street is the Hotel du Vin. Since 1812 this was the Brakspear Brewery but it has now been reimagined into a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant. The building has been used frequently for filming Midsomer Murders.

The River Thames frontage and Henley Bridge have also been used several times for filming. In the episode Dead In The Water the locations and backdrops from Henley Royal Regatta are transformed into the Midsomer Regatta. An opening shot shows the river in all its sunlit glory with Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave playing a cameo role. Barnaby and his wife Joyce also visit the Regatta for a picnic.

Henley’s historic bridge dates from 1786 and connects the counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The keystone figures on the bridge represent the mythical figures of Tamesis and Isis.

The former La Bodega restaurant which in turn used to be the shop for Henley’s Brakspear Brewery was used for filming the episode Down Amongst The Dead Men. It’s where Barnaby buys drinks in the garden with the place being renamed Cafe Vinters for the programme.

Finally the ramshackle antiques shop Tudor House on Duke Street was featured in the episode A Sacred Trust.

There are many other Midsomer locations around the villages and towns that are near Henley but they’re difficult to reach without a car, maybe that’s something for next time I visit.


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