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Village hopes for tourism boost from fourth Downton series
BAMPTON residents are hoping for another boost to their fledgling tourist trade after news that a fourth series of Downton Abbey is to be made.
Parts of the smash hit period drama are filmed in the West Oxfordshire village and fans of the ITV show visited in coachloads this year.
Businesses hope the tourists will visit again next year and tour companies are planning to expand the number of visits to Bampton.
ITV announced this week another eight episodes are to be filmed in February for screening in the autumn.
There will also be an extended Christmas special.
Alan Clarke, owner of The Horseshoe pub in Bridge Street, said: “It would be great to have them back.
“The village loves being part of Downton Abbey and it creates quite an interest.
“The crew allows people to go up and watch the filming and quite a few people in Bampton were extras in the show this year.”
He said businesses in the village had started to see a boost in trade due to the number of Downton tourists visiting Bampton.
He added: “We need to get ourselves more organised next year but we have a nice bit of trade out of it, with the coaches coming into Bampton.”
Robin Shuckburgh, chairman of Bampton Community Archive, said: “I think it is reasonable to assume that it will be filmed here next year because the church and Crawley House are major parts of the set-up.
“Last time everyone enjoyed the chance to be extras, and I hope they get the chance to do that again next year.”
He added: “The impact from the tourists at the end of last summer was quite substantial and it boosted quite a few of our businesses, which is very good indeed.
“We are expecting it to grow substantially next summer.”
He said non-English speaking countries, including Germany, were now beginning to screen Downton Abbey for the first time, creating new fans and new tourists to Bampton.
He said the village was considering putting up signs next year so tourists know where the sets are and where to get food.
Lewis Swan, director of Brit Movie Tours, runs tours to Bampton and the ‘Abbey’ itself – Highclere Castle, near Newbury.
He said the company was planning to expand next year to include Shilton, near Carterton, and Swinbrook, near Burford, where filming also takes place.
Mr Swan said: “Downton Abbey is more popular than ever.
“In January, when they show the third season in America, all hell will break loose.”