[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Tourist sites 'prove turn-offs'
Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Stonehenge: a load of old rubble?
Stonehenge is one tourist attraction that leaves Britons cold, a survey of "most disappointing sights" indicates.

But the ancient monument rates no worse than the Eiffel Tower, which tops the list for overseas tourist destinations.

The Virgin Travel Insurance poll found the Statue of Liberty to be almost as uninspiring as the Angel of the North.

More than 1,200 adults voted on the best and worst attractions at home and abroad, with Northumberland's Alnwick Castle taking the UK's top spot.

Angel of the North, Gateshead
Blackpool Tower
Land's End, Cornwall
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, London
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Louvre, Paris
Times Square, New York
Las Ramblas, Barcelona
Statue of Liberty, New York

Of the Eiffel Tower one respondent complained: "So long to get to the top and when you get there it's not even impressive.

"The queues are ridiculous and the lasers beamed from it at night just make it look super-tacky."

People volunteered their views in an online survey, making their selections from a list of 24 locations in the UK and 25 abroad.

Travel writer Felice Hardy described Stonehenge as "an isolated pile of rocks in a usually muddy field".

She said: "It's easy to be swayed by brochures that opt for the mainstream and focus on cliched tourist sights around the world, but many of them are overcrowded and disappointing."

Another survey respondent was unimpressed with Stonehenge's location "next to a motorway, hardly the most spiritual of settings.

"Watching the traffic fly didn't contribute to my enlightenment."

Stonehenge director Peter Carson said he was waiting for the government to decide whether the A303 could be diverted through a tunnel where it passes the monument.

He said: "There is no doubt that Stonehenge is a must-see destination even though the current visitor facilities are inadequate for the number of people who visit each year."

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim
The Royal Crescent, Bath
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
The Backs, Cambridge
The Treasury at Petra, Jordan
The Grand Canal, Venice
The Masai Mara, Kenya
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

Planning permission for a new visitor centre at the Wiltshire site was granted in March 2007 and in July Stonehenge made the finals on a new list of wonders of the world.

But Jason Wyer-Smith of Virgin Travel Insurance sympathised with people's disappointment when famous features did not live up to expectations.

He said: "The key to holiday heaven could well be seeking out the hidden gems rather than joining the crowds in holiday hell."


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific