Clueless residents of an English village have been left baffled following an influx of ‘sight-seeing’ foreign tourists arriving by the coachload – for no apparent reason.
Stunned locals say hoards of Chinese and Japanese holidaymakers began arriving in Kidlington, Oxon., on tour buses three weeks ago.
The camera-totting tourists have been wandering around the rural village in groups of up to 40 at a time – taking photos of houses and gardens.
Tourists have even knocked on doors along ‘unremarkable’ Benmead Road and The Moors road and asked for pictures of locals – before taking selfies with them.
People in Kidlington 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.”
”They are often seen along Benmead Road and The Moors.”
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, 30 miles away in Wolvercote.
Local 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.
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.”