Stony Stratford: Things to See and Do

 If you're looking for things to do in Milton Keynes I've recently discovered* Sophie etc, a blog covering just that topic. It focuses on food (she's pointed me towards some GREAT takeaways during lockdown) but also posts now and then about other adventures that are up for grabs in the area.

There's a post (this one, in fact) about all of the fantastic things you can do in Stony Stratford, a gorgeous former market town up in the furthest reaches of north-west Milton Keynes.

Actually, she doesn't quite cover all of the things that are worth seeing, though the one I'm going to tell you about is a bit niche.

If I say the words "Withnail & I" most of you would respond with "huh?" but a number that I still find surprisingly large will say "ohmygodthat'smyfavouritemovieEVER!"** This British Black Comedy sees unemployed actors Withnail and Marwood (played by an unfeasibly young Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann respectively) leave their Camden Town flat and go on holiday (by mistake) to Penrith, Cumbria. Here's the trailer:

It has a massive cult following (if you've never hear of it before, now I've introduced you to it you'll find it cropping up all over the place. Many of your friends are secret fans) and fan pilgrimages to Penrith are not uncommon.

What many people don't realise, though, is that the filming locations for two key scenes are actually in Stony Stratford:

The King Henry

Barman: Time please, gents.
Withnail: Alright. We're going to have to work quickly. [To the barman]: A pair of quadruple whiskies and another pair of pints, please.
Penrith's The King Henry pub is actually Stony's The Crown:

After leaving The King Henry the pair find themselves with the munchies, so they stagger across the road (with Uncle Monty's money, given to them to spend on a decent pair of wellies each) to...

The Penrith Tea Rooms

Miss Blennerhassit: "If you don't leave, we'll call the police."
Withnail: "Balls! We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here and we want them now!"
The Penrith Tea Rooms (you can see part of this scene in the trailer above) are actually a chemist's shop, also in Stony Stratford's Market Square:

You can have a pair of quadruple whiskies and a pair of pints (other drinks are available, as well as food, I think) at the Crown, but if you stumble into the chemist's demanding wine and cake you're likely to be received just as warmly as they are in the movie.

* Full disclosure: Sophie's a colleague, but I don't share things here unless I think they're decent: that relationship is just how I was introduced to the blog!
** Actually it's more likely to be "we've gone on holiday by mistake!", "I'm making time...", "here hare, here," "Monty you terrible [NOPE]!", "GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN!", "Your hair are your aerials...", "what pot?", or any one of the multitude of its infinitely quotable lines.

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