Did Harry Potter conjure up the sudden tourist influx in a small English village?
Could Hogwarts' most famous wizard be responsible for the mysterious appearance of hordes of tourists in the quiet village of Kidlington in England? Over the past few weeks, residents of the village situated five miles from Oxford have been left bemused at coach loads of Asian tourists turning up in their village, posing for photos in the front gardens of modern houses and even asking to have selfies taken with locals themselves.
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While the language barrier has thus far prevented the locals from getting a definitive answer from the tourists, one theory being touted is that they have been falsely told by rogue tour operators that the village is the setting for TV programmes Inspector Morse and Midsomer Murders, or even the Harry Potter films.
The phenomenon of the tourist influx was first identified on Benmead Road and The Moors Road, and was debated on the Spotted: Kidlington Facebook page by bemused residents. While some find it very amusing and entertaining, others are not as enamoured with the hordes of tourists coming into their gardens, as well as the coaches being parked on the side of their roads. This has already lead to the Parish Council chairman Maurice Billington contacting the police over privacy fears.
Theories around the village's sudden popularity include that billionaire Sir Richard Branson has connections to the area as he used to live there, or that Kidlington is claimed to be England's biggest village with around 50 shops and a population, according to the last census, of 13,723. Villagers are also wondering whether the sudden interest is entertainment-related, as while some believe the tourists have been given false information by tour operators about TV or movie scenes being filmed there, the entertainment location website Location Oxfordshire lists an episode of Inspector Morse as being filmed in Thrupp, which is just north of Kidlington.
On the other hand, some locals believe that the tourists are simply interested in their houses and flowers, as from chatting to them, they have managed to glean that they live in apartment blocks without gardens back home.
Whatever the reason, the sudden interest in the village has stirred up great excitement and debate among Kidlington residents, even though not all are quite as charmed as others at being the sudden centre of attention. Some are possibly wishing that Harry Potter would magick up a spell to make the tourists disappear altogether!