West End residents 'like monkeys in a theme park' thanks to camera-toting tourists

Tourists walk past Mr Munro-Dunn and his co-habitant Pippa Brookes-Donaldsons home and take photos of the front door and rose bushes.
Tourists walk past Mr Munro-Dunn and his co-habitant Pippa Brookes-Donaldsons home and take photos of the front door and rose bushes.
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With its grand Victorian houses and cobbled streets, it’s easy to see why the West End is such a hit with tourists.

The picturesque residential area has become Insta-famous, with thousands of snaps posted to Instagram and other social media.

The picturesque residential area has become Insta-famous, with thousands of snaps posted to Instagram and other social media.

The picturesque residential area has become Insta-famous, with thousands of snaps posted to Instagram and other social media.

But the popularity of this tourist hotspot is making it hell for residents, who are sick of large groups of visitors stopping outside their front doors and even peering in through their windows.

Some locals have complained their homes now feel like a “theme park”.

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“We have large groups of tourists stopping outside our windows, standing on the railings to look into our homes and take photos,” said Michael Munro-Dunn of Drumsheugh Gardens.

The picturesque housing draws tourists to the area. PIC: Google

The picturesque housing draws tourists to the area. PIC: Google

Mr Munro-Dunn, 72, said the attention from tourists makes himself and other local residents feel they are part of the tourist attraction. “It feels like we’re monkeys in a theme park,” he said.

“We’re part of the entertainment for them, whether we like it or not.

“We wish tourists would appreciate that the West End village is a living residential area.”

Tourists flock to take photos of the beautiful Victorian buildings, either from tour buses, hotels, or Airbnb properties further up Chester street.

They walk past Mr Munro-Dunn and his co-habitant Pippa Brookes-Donaldson’s home and take photos of the front door and rose bushes.

A big bay window facing the street means that tourists can also see right in to the living room.

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“They look in at us when we’re watching TV,” said Mr Munro-Dunn. “Sometimes they stand on the railings to get a better view. It’s like living in a goldfish bowl – the way we live is entertaining to them.”

The pair have tried waving tourists on, but they often take no notice and continue taking photos.

On some occasions groups of up to 100 people are delivered by tour buses, and jostle for position to take the best photos of houses along the street.

The West End residents say the problem is more severe than last year, and that it gets worse “week to week”. Both are worried about the impact of the festivals in August.

They are so fed-up with nosy tourists they have considered moving to Dumfries.

But as they are both disabled retirees this isn’t possible, as they rely on local medical services including Western General and the West End Medical Centre.

Mr Munro-Dunn has been physically disabled since a motorbike crash in 2000, while Ms Brookes-Donaldson, in her fifties, has mental health problems and is 70 per cent deaf.

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The couple say that several of their neighbours have also complained about tourists’ snooping.

But many other residents in the area are young professionals, and as they are at work during the day they don’t see the extent of the problem.

“Tourists don’t think about the impact they have on older or disabled residents,” said Ms Brookes-Donaldson, born and bred in Edinburgh.

“It’s terrible, it’s like it’s not my home any more.”