Saturday, February 25, 2017

Residents baffled after coachloads of Chinese tourists descend

Residents baffled after coachloads of Chinese tourists descend on ‘unremarkable’ Oxfordshire village and ask for selfies after being told it was used in HARRY POTTER films by a 'rogue tour operator' 


  • Buses of Asian tourists have all of a sudden started visiting Kidlington
  • Oxfordshire village is now routinely packed with Chinese holidaymakers
  • They take photographs of houses and knock doors to ask locals for selfies
  • Locals clueless as to why idyll suddenly a draw for international attention

Residents in an 'unremarkable' English village have been left scratching their heads following an influx of 'sight-seeing' Asian tourists arriving by the coachload - for absolutely no apparent reason.
Stunned locals say hoards of Chinese and Japanese holidaymakers began arriving in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, on tour buses three weeks ago.
The camera-toting tourists have been wandering around the rural village in groups of up to 40 at a time taking photos of houses and gardens.
They even knocked on doors along residential Benmead Road and The Moors Road to ask for pictures of locals - before taking selfies with them. 
Residents in an 'unremarkable' English village have been left scratching their heads following an influx of 'sight-seeing' Asian tourists arriving by the coachload - for absolutely no apparent reason
Residents in an 'unremarkable' English village have been left scratching their heads following an influx of 'sight-seeing' Asian tourists arriving by the coachload - for absolutely no apparent reason
The camera-toting tourists have been wandering around the rural village of Kidlington, Oxfordshire, in groups of up to 40 at a time taking photos of houses and gardens
The camera-toting tourists have been wandering around the rural village of Kidlington, Oxfordshire, in groups of up to 40 at a time taking photos of houses and gardens
Kidlington locals say they have no idea why their Oxfordshire idyll is suddenly a draw for international attention
Kidlington locals say they have no idea why their Oxfordshire idyll is suddenly a draw for international attention
Chinese tourists mob peaceful English village and take selfies
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Kidlington locals say they have no idea why their Oxfordshire idyll is suddenly a draw for international attention.
Some claim the tourists have been falsely told by rogue tour operators the village is the setting for Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders or even Harry Potter.
Resident Tony Bennell said: 'You are used to seeing tourists going round the Universities in Oxford, or places such as Bourton-on-the-Water but not quite used to seeing them in Kidlington.
'They do get very excited about it and really enjoy taking pictures in front of the gardens and flowers.
'People in the area have got their own views on it all. I have no personal grievance but for example there are gardens where people have benches out and the tourists will just wander in and pose for selfies on them.' 
Another villager, Simon Jones, 34, said 'There are quaint chocolate-box thatched houses in the village and an ancient church, but the tourists are taking selfies in front of bog standard modern homes.
'It's really weird and nobody has a clue why Kidlington, and Benmead Road in particular, has suddenly become world-famous.'
Another said: 'The latest lot arrived at midday on Saturday...a busload of tourists disembarked with their selfie sticks, taking pictures of people's houses.' 
Stunned locals say hoards of Chinese and Japanese holidaymakers began arriving in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, on tour buses three weeks ago. Here they are in one woman's driveway
Stunned locals say hoards of Chinese and Japanese holidaymakers began arriving in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, on tour buses three weeks ago. Here they are in one woman's driveway
They even knocked on doors along residential Benmead Road and The Moors Road to ask for pictures of locals - before taking selfies with them
They even knocked on doors along residential Benmead Road and The Moors Road to ask for pictures of locals - before taking selfies with them
Some claim the tourists have been falsely told by rogue tour operators the village is the setting for Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders or even Harry Potter
Some claim the tourists have been falsely told by rogue tour operators the village is the setting for Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders or even Harry Potter
Tony Bennell added: 'You are used to seeing tourists going round the Universities in Oxford, or places such as Bourton-on-the-Water but not quite used to seeing them in Kidlington.
'There can be forty of them at a time, jumping out of their coach and taking selfies.

WHY MIGHT THE TOURISTS BE SO KEEN ON SLEEPY KIDLINGTON? 

With a population according to the last census of 13,723, Kidlington is the typical size of a Middle England small village, with about fifty shops and all the usual amenities, but is technically deemed a village.
So what are its main attractions? 
There are banks and building societies in Kidlington, a public library, a large village hall and a weekly market, plus seven public houses, two cafes, and four restaurants.
The headquarters of the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and the county St John Ambulance are also in the village.
Campsfield House, an immigration detention centre run for the UK Government, is next to the industrial area on its outskirts.
'They do get very excited about it and really enjoy taking pictures in front of the gardens and flowers.
'People in the area have got their own views on it all, I have no personal grievance but for example there are gardens where people have benches out and the tourists will just wander in and pose for selfies on them.'
People on the 'Spotted: Kidlington' Facebook group have been theorising as to the sudden interest in the village.
Samantha Anderson said: 'Saw them the other week. They were even in the gardens and at people's front doors!'
Charlie Milroy asked if it was 'something to do with Midsummer Murders', while Martin Tobutt wondered if the answer to the mystery lay in an episode of Morse.
He wrote: 'I endeavoured to find out and I would imagine it's no great mystery...' before posting a link to an episode of Inspector Morse on a Japanese website which translates as 'daughter disappeared from Kidlington'.
Film location website Location Oxfordshire lists an episode of Inspector Morse as being filmed in Thrupp, just north of Kidlington.
The Boat Inn, on the canal in Thrupp, 1.4miles away, has also been featured in several episodes. 
Morse also drank in The Trout Inn, three miles away in Wolvercote. 
Netta and Don Robinson live on one of the roads now massively popular with the parties of travelling Asian tourists - but they too have no clue why they visit
Netta and Don Robinson live on one of the roads now massively popular with the parties of travelling Asian tourists - but they too have no clue why they visit
Benmead Road seems to be the centre point of the holidaymakers' tour. Kidlington has a population of around 13,700 and is one of several contenders for the biggest in England and Europe
Benmead Road seems to be the centre point of the holidaymakers' tour. Kidlington has a population of around 13,700 and is one of several contenders for the biggest in England and Europe
Joel Ryan said on Facebook: 'I reckon that some tour guide has...told the tourists that the street is famous for being in the Harry Potter films (at the Dursleys) and they've only gone and bought it hook line and...sinker.'
Richard Branson also has connections to Kidlington but reportedly sold his £1.35m house to his children in 2013.
Richard Coppock posted: 'Maybe they are looking for Richard Branson's house?'
Emma Layden wondered if it was because Kidlington is 'claimed to be England's biggest village'.
The village has a population of around 13,700 and is one of several contenders for the biggest in England and Europe.
A spokesperson from Into Japan Specialist Tours, based in Kidlington, said: 'First of all, they're almost certainly not Japanese.
'Our best guess if that they're from a Chinese tour company who are taking them to a typical Oxfordshire village on the way to Bicester.'