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Press releases

Brits fail the doorstep challenge - 28 million mistake UK landmarks for attractions abroad

29th Apr 2008

(Please contact for supporting images, this is a picture lead release)

Hadrian's Wall is in China, St Paul's Cathedral is in Rome and Trafalgar Square is a bustling Portuguese piazza said disoriented Brits, in a travel survey this week.

The budget hotel chain, Travelodge, challenged 3,000 Britons to identify the locations of famous UK landmarks and attractions by using a series of photographs. The tests showed that 58% of Britons had not a clue what or where our tourism icons are located. From manmade masterpieces such as St Paul's Cathedral and the Royal Liver Building to the natural wonders of Ben Nevis and the White Cliffs of Dover, a worrying 28 million Britons mistook our top tourist hotspots for far-flung attractions in exotic, foreign climes.

Listed below are the most shocking cases of mistaken identity by respondents:

- Two thirds (61%) were unable to recognise Londons world-famous St Paul's Cathedral, mistaking the familiar cupola for the domes of St Peter's in Vatican City
- A third of Brits (32%) mistook the renowned Roman built, Hadrian's Wall for the Great Wall of China
- 51% confused Trafalgar Square for a Spanish or Portuguese piazza
- Just one in five Britons recognised the Royal Pavilion as a Brighton attraction, while over two thirds (67%) mistook the iconic building for a palace in Rajasthan (India)
- More than half of UK residents were unable to identify city trading hotspot Canary Wharf, instead mistaking it for Manhattan's prominent skyline
-Nearly three quarters (73%) were unable to recognise the city of dreaming spires - Oxford with almost a third believing the famous vista to be a cityscape in Istanbul

Guy Parsons, Travelodge Chief Operating Officer, said: "Increased foreign travel on budget airlines has meant that Brits have sometimes ignored what this country has to offer. However with travellers tightening their purse strings due to the credit crunch, more of us will be staying within these shores to explore some of these fantastic locations."

The study also showed that not only do Brits fail to recognise iconic landmarks that define Britain's cultural heritage but their geography is equally unimpressive. Over half (55%) of those questioned did not know that Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, placing it in counties as far flung as Norfolk and Surrey. In addition over a quarter (28%) of respondents were unable to identify the location of our famous Roman Baths.

Examining the reasons behind the staggering lack of knowledge of British destinations, the report showed that Brits are abandoning historic sites at home in favour of travelling thousands of miles to foreign climes - with Brits choosing California over Cornwall and New York over London. Key findings include:

- 45% of Brits have visited the Eiffel Tower, yet only 30% have ventured to Edinburgh Castle

- Almost two million more Britons have seen the Statue of Liberty (5.8 million) than the Spinnaker Tower (3.8 million)

- British holiday makers are three times as likely to take a trip to Amsterdam (27%) as to Aberdeen (10%)

- More than three times as many Brits have been to Barcelona (23%) as to Belfast (7%)

~ ENDS ~

Notes to editors:

The photographs were provided by VisitBritian

Statistics calculated on the basis of 48,611,900 adults over the age of 18 in the UK (23,533,100 men and 25,078,700 women)

28 million figure is calculated as: When challenged to identify landmarks in a series of photographs, 58% of the UK adult population answered incorrectly on average. 58% of 48,611,900 = 28 million

The survey was carried out by OnePoll among 3,015 consumers in April 2008

Additional statistics

Top Three reasons Brits don't travel in the UK:

1. Better Weather Abroad - 48%
2. Cheaper deals to go abroad - 30%
3. Britain is Boring - 20%

The Top Ten Least Recognised Landmarks:

1. Royal Pavilion Brighton - 78%
2. Canary Wharf - 76%
3. Oxford Spires - 73%
4. Spinaker Tower - 64%
5. Edinburgh Castle - 62%
6. St Pauls Cathedral - 61%
7. Tyne Bridge - 54%
8. Trafalgar Square - 51%
9. Ben Nevis - 52%
10. The Liver Building - 47%

Shakila Ahmed
Head of Consumer PR

Direct Line: 01844 35 8638

Mobile: 07802 702 499

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