Brits left cold by tourist hotspots

17th Aug 2007

Research reveals Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge top blacklist of most disappointing sightseeing spots

The Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge are the tourist ‘hotspots’ that leave the most Brits cold, according to research by Virgin Travel Insurance that reveals the most disappointing sights at home and abroad.

More than five million people visit the Eiffel Tower every year, but almost a quarter of British tourists have dubbed the world-famous Paris landmark a flop. 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the Louvre, New York’s Times Square, and Las Ramblas in Barcelona all feature in the top ten foreign spots that fail to live up to our expectations, while The Angel of the North, Blackpool Tower, and the Princess Diana Memorial make the blacklist in the UK.

The findings have been explained by travel expert Felice Hardy, who suggested reasons why Brits gave certain landmarks the thumbs down, and warned that visiting some of the world’s most popular sightseeing spots was often more likely to leave us feeling stressed out and ripped-off, than inspired, thanks to pickpockets, endless crowds and expensive ticket prices. 


She claimed Brits might be turned off by worst offender the Eiffel Tower because it was ‘frustratingly overcrowded and overpriced’, and admitted that many would consider Stonehenge ‘just a load of old rocks’.  She branded the Mona Lisa ‘disappointingly small’ and marked down Blackpool Tower for being ‘a forlorn monument to yesterday’.

Instead, Hardy reckons we should be using our imagination and heading off the beaten track to find the ‘wow factor’, and suggested hidden gems abroad such as the Treasury at Petra in Jordan, the Tarako Gorge in Taiwan, and the Cappadoccia Caves in Turkey. Closer to home, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Holkham Bay in Norfolk and The Isle of Skye in Scotland are among the best of Britain’s tourist sights.

“It’s easy to be swayed by brochures that opt for the mainstream and focus on clichéd tourist sights around the world, but many of them are overcrowded and disappointing,” says Hardy.

“Pick carefully and don’t always go for the obvious - natural phenomena are usually more exciting than the man-made, and can be wonderfully free of tourists.”

Jason Wyer-Smith, spokesperson for Virgin Travel Insurance, who commissioned the report, adds:

”  It seems thousands of Brits are returning from their hard earned holidays feeling a bit let down when famous tourist spots don’t live up to expectation. The key to holiday heaven could well be seeking out the hidden gems rather than joining the crowds in holiday hell.”




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