A Bampton resident is selling his home and moving he is so fed up of Downton Abbey fans taking photos through his windows and 'a constant stream of tour guides repeating the same script perhaps four or five times a day'.

And with a new Downton movie due for release at the end of this month, he fears things can only get worse.

Mark McArthur Christie lives near St Mary's Church where Lady Mary's wedding to Matthew Crawley was filmed for the hit ITV series.

His cottage is 10 yards down the lane from the library which doubled as the Cottage Hospital.  

He says he feels like he is 'living in a zoo'.

He said: “The tourists do all sorts of stuff. They stick selfie sticks up to people’s bedroom windows, that happens all the time. Recently someone had his girlfriend on his shoulders with a telephoto lens taking pictures over someone’s garden wall.

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“They have knocked on our windows and asked, do you live here? I used to have a motorbike with a sidecar but people were putting their kids in it to take pictures so in the end I gave up and sold it. They took a brick off my garden wall as a souvenir.

"These are old houses and right on the street and it feels as if every time you look out there is someone looking back at you.

Witney Gazette:

“We have met some lovely people, as individuals the tourists are delightful, but we are simply a profit centre for the tour companies.”

Mr McArthur Christie said the village had 30,000 visitors in 2019 and even a few tour buses in lockdown.

“On a ‘bad’ day it’s now about 20 tours a day which is a lot when the village is about the size of a postage stamp," he said.

"A minibus would roll up with somewhere between 15 and 18 people on board, plus a tour guide. The guide would stand outside the library, the church or on the corner of the green by our cottage to give her tour, all within easy earshot of the houses on the south side of the church – even on a Sunday morning."

Witney Gazette:

He accepts the village has benefited in some ways as the surge in tourism partly paid for The Old Grammar School to be reconstructed and refurbished as a community hub.

Mr McArthur Christie said: "The archive has benefited but no one else. The tourists are not here long enough to spend money in the shops and there's not much to spend money on."

He said it's not just him, his neighbours have become "pretty fed up" too since the village was first approached to be a filming location in 2009.

Mr McArthur Christie who has lived in Bampton for 20 years, is now thinking of selling his house and moving hopefully somewhere quieter within the village.

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And with Downton Abbey: A New Era, the sequel to the 2019 film Downton Abbey, due to be released on April 29, he feels sure it will create a new surge of interest.

“Definitely," he said. "There was a major uptick when the last movie came out.” 

President of the Oxford Guild of Tour Guides Kate Billimore said: "Our qualified 'Badge Guides' follow strict guidelines regarding group size and management, and sensitivity to their surroundings.

"They bring small groups to Bampton, leave coaches outside and, almost exclusively, use 'whisper systems' so as not to create a disturbance.

"We’d support any move by Bampton village council to restrict group sizes, numbers and frequency, and would be happy to offer any advice that would help."