More than 30,000 tourists walked past my kitchen window in 2019. Downton Abbey was filmed in Bampton and the library did duty as the Cottage Hospital. Our cottage – perhaps ten yards over the narrow lane from the library – featured too, although only in passing.
If I’d been writing this last year, in 2019, pre-Corona, the first Downton tour bus of the day would be about to pull up outside. It would be a minibus 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. Tourism in Bampton is a seven-day-a-week industry, even for those of us who are unwilling participants.Continue reading