Geography of British is woeful

6th Jun 2008

Geography teachers across the UK will groan in disbelief after half of Brits failed to correctly identify the locations of some of Britain’s most famous landmarks and popular tourist destinations, according to survey results unveiled today.
Data collected by Holiday Inn, part of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), found that on average 50 per cent of the population is unable to place a selection of Britain’s most historic landmarks and tourist destinations on a map.

However, British men demonstrated why they never feel the need to stop for directions, as they consistently out-performed the females in each location test by an average of 12 per cent.

Identifying The National Space Centre, a Landmark Millennium Project in Leicester - which cost nearly £89 million - left respondents particularly flummoxed with a massive 85 per cent of Britons unable to pinpoint it.  Similarly, sightings of the legendary ‘Nessie’ will remain illusive as nearly seven out of ten people don’t know where Loch Ness is (64 per cent).

The £500 million Olympic Village fared far better, with 54 per cent of the population correctly placing it in East London.  Worryingly, half of Londoners didn’t know where it is, with those in Edinburgh and Manchester placing it most accurately (62 per cent).

Proving we all love a bucket and spade break, the most recognisable of all the destinations surveyed was the south coast town of Bognor Regis, which beat arguably more famous landmarks.  Bright sparks in rival Brighton were head of the class, with 93 per cent placing it correctly.


Landmarks in the North proved to be more challenging than some Southern destinations, with 80 per cent of the public failing to find the Angel of the North.  This figure improved slightly in Newcastle, but seven out of ten Geordies still got it wrong.

This was not an isolated incident - several of the regions near famous landmarks failed to score highly when positioning them on a map.  Despite Bristol being its closest neighbour, the people of Belfast topped the list of those identifying Stonehenge correctly (44 per cent), although they live some 400 miles away.

Nationally, Liverpudlians are probably most in need of a satellite navigation unit having consistently scored the lowest percentage of correct answers, closely followed by residents of Cardiff.  In contrast Edinburgh came out on top by providing continually strong percentage answers and achieving the best regional scores on two occasions.

The 16-24s had the lowest scores and only 15 per cent could identify the Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk retreat of HM The Queen.  However, the saying ‘older and wiser’ certainly rang true throughout with the over 55s trouncing the younger generations in 90 per cent of the answers.

Chris Hale, spokesperson of Holiday Inn, said “For a nation with a great history of travel, it’s amazing we’re stumped by some of our own most famous landmarks - I think I can hear a universal groan from British geography teachers.”



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