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Passport picture not behind influx of tourists according to Bibury residents

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: July 23, 2014

  • Arlington Row

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The quaint and picturesque village of Bibury has become a mecca for tourists in recent years.

But villagers don’t believe a row of historic and stunning cottages featuring on British passports is the reason why.

Since October 2010 those issued with the travelling ticket can see a colourful picture of Arlington Row, next to landmarks such as Ben Nevis to the White Cliffs of Dover.

National papers have stated the influx of visitors in the Cotswold village is down to the passport picture.

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But residents seem to disagree and believe it is down to an overwhelming increase in coach trips with foreign visitors targeting the village.

Kate Marriott, owner of Bibury Trout Farm, said: “It definitely isn’t the passport making a difference.

“We have 40,000 visitors a year coming in and even more using the cafe and not a single person has mentioned the passport picture.

“The increase has been caused by foreign visitors, but the problem is they are on non-stop tours and only stay for 20 odd minutes, get a few pictures and go.”

She believes the village’s popularity stems from William Morris describing it as “the most beautiful village in England” and Japanese Emperor Hirohito’s visit during the first half of the last century.

John Johnson has lived in Arlington Row for nearly 30 years with his wife Caroline.

He said when he was once visiting London he was offered a tour of Cotswold and told he would get the chance to visit the famous cottages.

But like Kate, he does not believe the attraction is to do with the passport picture.

He said: “It is only on the new passport and it does not say where the photograph is.

“There has been an influx of tourist here and in particular those from Japan.

“We used to get two to three coaches a week, now we are getting four to five a day. It is too much really.”

Neighbour Terry French, who also lives in the cottages owned by the National Trust agreed. He said: “The village is not made for such a stream of people and sometimes it becomes horrendous.”

They were built around 1380 from local stone and began life as a monastic wool store. It was converted into a row of weavers’ cottages in the 17th century, for them to provide de-greasing cloth for Arlington Mill.

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  • keiths1  |  July 23 2014, 2:26PM

    Hard to see how a picture in a British Passport would attract the attention of people who don't own a British Passport. Or am I just thinking strangely?

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