The sun's shining, the village green is neatly mown, the red phone box polished to a sparkle and the stucco-fronted townhouses gleam in the sun. So far, so English, but wait... are some of those street signs in Chinese? And hang on - are all those picture-perfect houses actually empty?

Yes, welcome to Thames town, an idyllic English town situated about 20 miles from central Shanghai. That's right, this picture-perfect English idyll is actually an immaculately re-created homage to all things British, set in the bustling heart of China. 

Popular with tourists wanting to sample English life, the town does a roaring trade in weddings, with couples using the British buildings as the perfect backdrop to their wedding snaps.

A fact to make us property-obsessed Brits weep is that most of these beautiful houses are lying empty with the town acting as a beautiful but deserted ghost town.

With the property bubble in London showing no signs of bursting and houses selling for up to £36 million the thought of an identical ghost city lying empty and unloved is an unusual one.

So if you ever find yourself in China and start to feel a bit homesick, don't worry, just head over to Thames town for an instant fix of British style.

You can stroll along the 'London' streets, relax on the village green or pose for a snap beside an iconic red phone box. It's almost more British than, er, Britain.

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