Is Grantchester a real village in England?

Crime drama series, Grantchester, is shot in an actual village of the same name which is located in Cambridgeshire in the East of England.

Overview

In March 2022, the seventh season of Grantchester kicked off. The crime drama series has been part of PBS’ programming since 2014, and the series premise reads, “A Cambridgeshire clergyman finds himself investigating a series of mysterious wrongdoings in his small village of Grantchester.”

The popular series is one of the very few shows shot on the actual location from which the name of the show is derived.

The practice is not common, as there are many shows with names of fictional places that fans end up believing are real, because of how well the show creates the world of the story.

Who remembers Reverend Sidney Chambers?

Before Reverend Will Davenport worked with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating from the fourth season of the show, who took over from his predecessor, Grantchester was helmed by original title character, Reverend Sidney Chambers, who worked as the detective who solved Grantchester’s crimes.

However, the actor in the title role, James Norton, left the show in season four, during the second episode. Norton left the show for what he stated as a “combination of things.”

However, he believed that Reverend Chambers immigrating with the American minister’s daughter, Violet Todd, was a natural exit for his beloved character.

Is Grantchester a real village in England?

While Grantchester might have changed its title character, it did not change the setting of the story. The show is shot in the village that is the namesake of the show, Grantchester.

The actual village is located in Cambridgeshire in the East of England, with an estimated total population of 600 residents.

The show’s location manager, David Halstead, confirmed this when he stated, “It’s a small, very pretty, quiet little village, probably about 300 houses and a church. It doesn’t even have a shop, actually.”

He goes onto add, “It did have four pubs—down to three now—and its own gin distillery, which has come in handy!” The location choice was due to the fact that not much needed to be changed in the village to make it look like it was set in the 1950s.

Below are some of the most popular locations used in the show and where they are located in and around the village.

The Church of St Andrew and St Mary

One of the commonly used shooting locations in the show is the Church of St Andrew and St Mary. The scenes are shot in the actual church sanctuary and churchyard. The history of the church dates back to the fourteenth and fifteenth century.

According to David Halstead, since the launching of the show, the church has become popular amongst tourists who are spoiled to a cut-out of Reverend Will Davenport and Detective Inspector Geordie Keating when they walk into the church.

The Old Vicarage house

Similarly to other locations, the vicar’s house, mostly shot as exteriors of the house, are shot at The Old Vicarage.

The house is next to the Church of St Andrew and St Mary. However, Halstead confirmed that the interior shots of the house were not shot inside the actual house.

He explained, “The interior, anything past the door, is shot in an old building on a farm site in a little village called Lemsford, about an hour’s drive from Grantchester.”

He continued, stating, “We’ve rented it on an annual basis. …The shape of it is very similar to the proper vicarage. And the fact that it’s ours, we’ve left it dressed for six or seven years.”

Using Cambridge as a location

While most of the action is shot in Grantchester, the show also shoots some of its scenes in Cambridge. This is because the town, similarly to Grantchester, reportedly needs little to no dressing to make it look like it is set in the 1950s.

Explaining the process of preparing the town for shooting, David Halstead explained, “I mean there are great streets in Cambridge that you can make feel like the 1950s in minutes. We use King’s Parade quite regularly. Also, Trinity Lane and Senate House Passage.”

Final thoughts

March 2022 marked the beginning of the seventh season. The real-life village of Grantchester, located in Cambridgeshire, will continue to receive tourists seeking to walk the same grounds that Reverend Davenport and Detective Inspector Keating walk.

While most of the show is shot in Grantchester, it also uses Cambridge as a site on which to shoot some of its scenes. In Cambridge, however, tourists should be aware of cyclists, as David Halstead claims they were a menace during production, and they believe they own the roads of the student-saturated area.