Exploring outer-London West
We decided to camp in the small town of Marlow, along the river Thames, some 30 kilometres west of London. Although surrounded by the maze of highways around England’s capital, Marlow is a lovely and serene starting point. The impressive surrounding countryside area has in fact been used to film Ian Fleming’s non-Bond classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Another good reason to visit Marlow is because James Bond went here in 1969 to visit his boss, M.
Another nearby filming site is in Hurley, a small, sleepy town just south of Marlow. It is not exactly a major location, but a small scene was filmed here for From Russia With Love, on July 26th 1963. The scene were 007 is having a countryside picnic with Sylvia Trench (in her last appearance), was filmed here on the southern bank of the Thames, close to the locks.
Some 15 kilometres west of Marlow and Hurley, you can find the even smaller town of Stonor. Be careful when blinking your eyes; you have passed it before you know! When driving on the road leading through town, you will eventually pass the entrance gate to Stonor House, a marvellous countryside estate, quietly located between the hills. This location was used in The Living Daylights
as the MI6 headquarters where Koskov thanks Bond for his successful defection, right before he is kidnapped.
When you have the time, you might want to consider going even more west, all the way to Oxford. The city itself is a joy to visit, and strolling through the narrow streets is a pleasant experience. The old and beautiful colleges are as imposing as you can imagine, and through the years served as filming locations for many films. The introduction of 007 in Tomorrow Never Dies
was also filmed here, at Brasenose College and partially at New College.
Another location, close to Oxford, is the highly popular Waddesdon Manor. Although only used for interior shots, the French-style chateau featured in Kevin McClory's Thunderball remake Never say never again. The SPECTRE meeting was filmed here.
A search for the remains of James Bond’s most notorious encounter leads us to one of the three richest postal codes in England: Stoke Poges. Situated in the heart of Buckinghamshire, the town has beautiful lawns and marvellous houses. Because of the proximity of Pinewood Studios, the EON filmmakers frequently visited this area and filmed scenes here for Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only
and Tomorrow Never Dies. When entering the town, follow the signs “Stoke Park Club” and finally to “Stoke Poges Church”.
This church is in fact St. Giles Church, a medieval church with a more than familiar cemetery. Here, in For Your Eyes Only, Bond visited the grave of his wife, Tracy, who had been shot by Irma Bunt in On Her Majesty’s secret service.
From the church and even better from the path around it, you have a magnificent view of one of 007’s best known filming locations: Stoke Park Club. The posh Clubhouse, a mixture of dazzling white stone, steps and terraces, has a lake in front and imposing trees in the surrounding park and the estate has a recorded history of more than 900 years. When sold to the Crown, in 1581, Queen Elisabeth lived there until 1603, in the original Manor House (part of which can still be seen today).