Doctor Foster filming locations in Hitchin

Hitchin in Hertfordshire has served as the main backdrop to many a scene in the latest series of Doctor Foster, acting as the fictional town of Parminster. Many a Hitchin resident tuned in initially back in 2015 to see what parts of town would be shown, but now we’re just as engrossed as everybody else. With the last episode of this second series being shown tonight where exactly are the key locations?

Doctor Foster filming in the Market Square back in September 2016

Doctor Foster filming in the Market Square back in September 2016

With signs being out up in the centre of town back in September 2016 most of us already had a good idea where they would be, including the local Hitchin Running Club who were politely asked to do a little detour one evening as bright neon green, pink and yellow doesn’t look too good on camera. But for those who missed a few of them here are the key locations.

A lot of the action is filmed around Hitchin’s Market Square. This panorama photo sets the scene and shows a lot of the locations that were used.

Hitchin Market Square panoramic shot

Hitchin Market Square panoramic shot

The key locations in Hitchin

The key locations in Hitchin with Google link

The Market Square and Café Air Coffee Shop

Hitchin’s Market Square serves as the location for characters to grab a coffee before visiting the Courtyard Parminster Community Centre. The Square is a delightful, enclosed location which has various stalls on a Saturday throughout the year, a kids’ bouncy slide and sometimes even an old school merry-go-round too. The Square also hosts the annual Christmas carol service and is considered the main hub of the town. It also leads through to the most picturesque view of the town, looking over to St Mary’s Church.

Neil grabbing a coffee in the square

Neil grabbing a coffee in the square

Kate grabbing a quick coffee too

Kate grabbing a quick coffee too

Hitchin's Café Air coffee shop in the Market Square

Hitchin’s Café Air coffee shop in the Market Square

Doctor Foster with the traffic warden

Doctor Foster with the traffic warden

The road around Hitchin Market Square where the traffic actually goes the other way

The road around Hitchin Market Square where the traffic actually goes in the other direction

The Courtyard Parminster Community Centre café … aka Cooper’s Yard and The Dogs Trust

The orange clad windows actually belong to the Dogs Trust charity shop and the walkway leads up to Kinetic Cycles / Wakelin’s coffee shop rather than opening out into a Courtyard cafe. Maybe some clever “green screen” was going on here.

Doctor Foster striding towards the Parminster Community Café

Doctor Foster striding towards the Parminster Community Café

Hitchin's Dogs Trust leading up to Kinetic Cycles and Wakelin's Coffee

Hitchin’s Dogs Trust leading up to Kinetic Cycles and Wakelin’s Coffee

Strattos nightclub … aka Osinsky’s and Waterstone’s

This nightclub is actually a pool hall, bar and restaurant called Osinsky’s, with its facade outside being the front of Waterstone’s bookstore. In the show Doctor Foster and the teacher are shown walking UP to get out but you actually walk up the stairs to get IN with Osinsky’s bar being on the first floor and not underground. When I was taking the photos below a group of 5 women were amusingly trying to recreate some of the scenes from episode 2.

Doctor Foster going up to leave the nightclub

Doctor Foster going UP to leave the nightclub

Hitchin's Osinsky's bar where you actually go up to go in

Hitchin’s Osinsky’s bar where you actually go up to go IN

Doctor Foster shouting Simon outside the nightclub

Doctor Foster shouting “Simon!” outside the nightclub

Hitchin Market Square looking back towards Osinsky's and Waterstone's

Hitchin Market Square looking back towards Osinsky’s and Waterstone’s

Simon taking that photo of Doctor Foster

Simon taking that photo of Doctor Foster

Hitchin Market Square without Simon, looking towards the Rose & Crown pub

Hitchin Market Square without Simon, looking towards the Rose & Crown pub

The bench … on the top of Windmill Hill

Perhaps the most iconic setting is the bench on the top of Windmill Hill that looks back west over Hitchin, which treats you to some beautiful and far-reaching sunsets in the summer. The hill faces Hermitage Road which is soon becoming one of Hitchin’s coolest streets with the Hermitage bar, the beer shop, Gatefold record coffee shop and Farley’s hairdressers. Look up towards the hill and you will see two wooden benches. The “Doctor Foster” bench is the one on the right

The Doctor Foster bench on top of the hill

The Doctor Foster bench on top of the hill

Sitting on the Doctor Foster bench at the top of Windmill Hill

Sitting on the Doctor Foster bench at the top of Windmill Hill

Find Hermitage Road and look to the top of the grassy hill

Find Hermitage Road and look to the top of the grassy hill. The bench is the one on the right of the two up there.

Hitchin Market and St Mary’s Church

When Kate and her friend are wandering through town they walk adjacent to St Mary’s Church before turning through Hitchin Market. St Mary’s Church is the largest parish church in Hertfordshire and is remarkably big for a town of the size of Hitchin – cited as evidence of how Hitchin prospered from the wool trade.

Kate walking through the market

Kate walking through the market

Hitchin Market and St Mary's Church

Hitchin Market and St Mary’s Church outside Manny’s café

Churchgate Shopping Centre

They then find themselves in the “once” futuristic looking Churchgate Shopping Centre which was built in the 1960s, sadly removing some old buildings which had completed the enclosed feel of the Market Square.

Doctor Foster heading back into the Square

Doctor Foster heading back into the Square

Hitchin Churchgate Shopping Centre and the Market Square

Hitchin Churchgate Shopping Centre and the Market Square

Kate having a chat with her friend's friend

Kate having a chat with her friend’s friend

Further down Hitchin's Churchgate Shopping Centre outside the Persian Rug Shop

Further down Hitchin’s Churchgate Shopping Centre outside the Persian Rug Shop

Hitchin Churchgate Shopping Centre Entrance

The Churchgate Shopping Centre entrance

Are there any Hitchin locations I missed? I think I got most of them? 🙂

Also check out the post by Hornblower Travels that wonderfully portrays our beautiful little market town and all the things there are to see in it, from music festivals to Indian festivals and from lavender fields to historic old pubs and buildings.

Doctor Foster preparing for a scene in the Market Square

Doctor Foster preparing for a scene in the Market Square. Source

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Cycling with a Tour de France winner

It’s not every day you get the chance to cycle with a former Tour de France winner but on the day of Tuesday May 9th in London at the Adobe Digital Marketing Conference I got just that chance!

Me and Cadel Evans pre-ride

Me and Cadel Evans pre-ride

The opportunity came about thanks to Adobe Cycling arranging a handful of bike rides from the ExCel centre in East London as part of the conference’s networking event. I found out about it quite late on via Twitter, signed up as quick as I could but initially ended up on the reserve list. A reserve list to cycle with the 2011 Tour de France winner – Cadel Evans.

Shortly after my initial application some good news came through, I was riding, but not on the supplied BMC bikes but on whatever I could get to London for 7:30 am. That being my Brompton fold-up bike as it’s not easy to get anything full-size on the trains into London at that time of day!

As it happened a bike with my name on it had been set up, albeit was a bit too big for me, but nethertheless, I was now riding and wouldn’t look out of place trying to keep up on a folding bike. Although Cadel did jibe that I was the only one wearing trainers (I didn’t think I’d need my SPDs) and that I was sporting a very retro, circa mid 1990s Banesto top … before swapping to a better looking L’Alpe d’Huez one. Having cycled up Alpe d’Huez with my girlfriend last September it was fresh in my mind, so I asked him whether he’d ever cycled up it! Doh! Being a seasoned Tour de France rider the answer from Cadel was an unsurprising “Err – yes I have.” lol

Preparing to leave the ExCel Centre

Preparing to leave the ExCel Centre. Photo Ben Rabner

Once everybody had arrived, had tried out their bikes and supped a cup of wake-up coffee we were all set to go and headed off into the East London commuter traffic. After a few detours due to the group getting split up at various traffic lights we took a route down some graffitted canalpaths, close to the notoriously dangerous Bow roundabout. Here we decided wisely to hop off our bikes and use the pedestrian crossing.

Soon after we arrived safely at the Olympic Park. It was just before this, sandwiched between the pavement and the stationary traffic that a young lad on his road bike pulled up alongside us. Wanting to “share the wealth” I acknowledged that it looked like he was a cycling fan, and that he should see if he could recognise the guy in front of us. He instantly said “Cadel Evans?” and so I gestured for him to roll over and say a quick “hello”, which he did, so I hope that made his day that morning too.

Even Tour de France winners have to wait at red lights

Even Tour de France winners have to wait at red lights

Riding behind Cadel Evans along a towpath in East London

Riding behind Cadel Evans along a towpath in East London

Our group was on the small side so we each had the opportunity to ride alongside Cadel and chat away with him. As I was behind Cadel Evans on the narrow camel path section it was at me that he directed “rider up” (cyclist coming towards us) and “pole” (which errr meant there was a pole in the ground!). I probably took more than my fair share of his time but also chatted to who I thought was just another conference attendeee when in fact it was the CEO of BMC bikes who was riding the latest piece of BMC road bike porn.

Following the BMC and Adobe colleagues

Following the BMC and Adobe colleagues

At the Olympic Park we headed to the velodrome to have a quick look round. I’d been fortunate enough to witness Bradley Wiggins’ 1hr time-trial record there as well as having a “taster” session on the track itself just one year before so it was good to be back. For a lot of the riders in the group it was their first time! Shame we couldn’t go for a quick spin 😉

Leaving the Lee Valley velopark arfter quickly checking out the track

Leaving the Lee Valley velopark arfter quickly checking out the track

I didn’t need to worry about keeping up during the ride as although most ot the other attendees looked like seasoned enthusiasts the idea was to have a gentle ride, and anyway racing through the streets of London isn’t really an option at that time in the morning.

So all in all it was a great (but very early) fun morning bike ride that only came about through a work conference and a chance tweet from @AdobeCycling pointed out to me by a colleague. If someone had said back in 2011 while watching the “Tour” on the tele that I’d be out riding with that year’s winner 6 years later I’d have thought they were a bit barmy! Cadel was perfectly friendly and happy to answer a lot of my inane questions. “Take the opportunity of a lifetime during the lifetime of the opportunity” and all that 🙂

Taking a corner in the Olympic Park. Cadel leading!

Taking a corner in the Olympic Park. Cadel leading!

Me and Cadel mid ride

Me and Cadel mid ride

Thanks to Ben Rabner and @Adobe Cycling for organising it all!