It wasn’t Academy Award material, but The Rocky Horror Picture Show, based on the West-End musical The Rocky Horror Show, was released in 1975 and is one of the first cult classic films. Fans still go to midnight screenings, with confetti, toilet paper and water pistols at the ready, nearly 45 years later…
Filmed entirely in England (in just 6 weeks!) in late 1974, the castle exterior, criminologist’s study, Brad’s room, Janet’s room, dining room, Columbia’s room, entrance hall and stairs were all filmed at a castle that, at the time, didn’t have heat or indoor plumbing. Since then, they’ve done a lot of upgrades, and the castle is now functioning as a luxury hotel. Best of all, it’s just about 20 minutes outside of London’s Heathrow Airport!
The Oakley Court is a Victorian Gothic country house that was built alongside the River Thames in 1859. After changing hands several times, it was purchased by a British production company that used it for filming throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Barely a dilapidated shell by that point, it was then sold again and slowly converted to a hotel. Sitting on 30 acres of landscaped gardens, The Oakley Court now ranks as one of the outstanding hotels in England and its guests have included Queen Elizabeth II in 2009 and the Great Britain 2012 Olympic rowing team.
But besides all of that, you guys, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed there! You’ll definitely recognize the entryway of Oakley Court, where newly engaged couple Brad and Janet stood dripping wet before they were welcomed inside for the craziest night of their lives (Fun Fact! The gargoyles outside the front door are plaster props left from the movie). There’s also the staircase, lobby, library (Dr. Scott’s office), and Drawing Room where the Transylvanian convention takes place.
Oakley Court has embraced its famous past and even hosts an annual RHPS-themed picnic (called Rocky Horror Picnic Shows) every year. The 2019 event is sold out, but you can keep checking Time Warp, the official U.K. RHPS fan club, for info about the 2020 event (BTW, if you have any Dr. Frank-N-Furter cosplay outfits hanging around, be aware that this event is the only day of the year you can dress up in your RHPS garb at Oakley Court. Just sayin’).
The Oakley Court has 118 bedrooms to choose from, but if you’re visiting because of the RHPS link, you’re going to want to stay in one of the handful of “mansion suites” in the hotel, as these are the only rooms that are part of the manor’s original structure (part of the renovation in the late 70s and early 80s included adding two wings).
Guests can enjoy free parking and WiFi. The rooms are modern with regal flair such as wingback chairs, writing desks, and heavy curtains. The common areas in the original Gothic house retain their Victorian and Edwardian décor, including ornate fireplace mantels, leather furniture, wood paneling, oak bookshelves, and lots of nooks to enjoy complimentary books and board games. Guests can have afternoon tea in any of the downstairs rooms, and can enjoy cocktails and/or light meals on the terrace overlooking the back lawn with a view of the willow-lined Thames. Oakley Court’s award-winning Dining Room serves modern European fare using herbs and vegetables gathered from the kitchen garden, while the Scullery serves meals in a more relaxed atmosphere suited for families.
The Oakley Court is available for reservations at this time – check out their website at https://www.oakleycourt.co.uk/.
*** Huge thanks to Michael G. for making us aware of this topic!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary