As reported in BBC News, a small, quiet not particularly well-known village on the way to a major British shopping mall has suddenly experienced an outpouring of Asian tourists arriving by tour bus. Kidlington in Oxfordshire has become a backdrop for tourists who get their picture taken next to the tidy front gardens and carefully parked cars. So after several months in true British fashion, BBC wrote out a translated question sheet and had residents hand the sheet out to visitors to figure out why this cute but relatively normal village was experienced such a wave of burgeoning international interest.
It turned out that the village gardens and housing forms were very unusual to the Chinese visitors, and gave them a true sense of the country, most notably with the small gardens and the hanging baskets in front of the house doors. So while the locals thought that perhaps tourists were looking for backgrounds to Colin Dexter’s films and writings about Inspector Morse, it really was that the village represented that penultimate sense of Britishness. As one of the tourists wrote when asked why they liked the village “Because the environment makes you feel you are closer to the simplicity of your original self.”