Blunders of the World; Damp Squib: Visitors Rated the Diana Memorial Fountain as 'A Colourless Wet Skateboard Park'

Daily Mail (London), January 22, 2008 | Go to article overview

Blunders of the World; Damp Squib: Visitors Rated the Diana Memorial Fountain as 'A Colourless Wet Skateboard Park'


Byline: Charles Legge

QUESTION The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain has been voted by foreignvisitors Britain's fifth most disappointing tourist attraction.

Which are the others? THIS was the result of a Virgin travel insurance poll ofvisitors, asked to chose their most underwhelming sights from a list of 24possibilities in the UK and 25 overseas.

Their ten most disappointing sites were: 1. Stonehenge'just a load of old rocks'.

2. The Angel of the North 'a Gateshead flasher'.

3. The Blackpool Tower 'a forlorn monument to yesteryear'.

4. Land's End, Cornwall'the ancient Cornish knew what they were doing when they called it the End ofthe Earth'.

5. The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain'resembles a colourless wet skateboard park'.

6. The London Eye'on dull, rainy days, of which London has many, its slowly revolving view is asfascinating as watching paint dry'.

7. Brighton Pier'slot machines, low-key theme park rides, and fast-food stands ruin a classicEdwardian seaside structure'.

8. Buckingham Palace'the changing of the guard is so crowded that unless you get there hours earlyyour view is restricted to the back of a head in front of you'.

9 The White Cliffs of Dover'you can see them better from a cross-Channel ferry'. 10. Big Ben: 'Once you'veseen it, 10. Big Ben: 'Once you've seen it, you'll know what time it istime to go somewhere else'.

THE ten most disappointing overseas sights were: 1. The Eiffel Tower'frustratingly overcrowded and overpriced'.

2. The Mona Lisa'a disappointingly small painting permanently framed by a capacity audiencestraining to block your view'.

3. Times Square, New York.

4. Las Ramblas, Barcelona.

5. The Statue of Liberty, New York.

6. The Spanish Steps, Rome.

7. The White House, Washington DC.

8. The Pyramids, Egypt.

9. The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin.

10. The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

BUT the top must-see sights in the UK were: 1. Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.

2. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim.

3. The Royal Crescent, Bath.

4. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Southwark, London.

5. The Backs, Cambridge.

6. Holkham Bay, Norfolk.

7. Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast.

8. The Tate, St Ives.

9. The Isle of Skye, Scotland.

10. The Eden Project, Cornwall.

AND in the world: 1. The Treasury at Petra, Jordan..

Compiled by Charles Legge 2. The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy.

3. The Masai Mara, Kenya.

4. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia.

5. Taroko Gorge, Taiwan.

6. Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia.

7. Cappadocia Caves, Turkey.

8. Lake Titicaca, Peru and Bolivia.

9. Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia.

10. Jungfraujoch, Switzerland.

Jason Wyer-Smith, Virgin Travel Insurance, Norwich..

QUESTIONLast year was the 350th anniversary of when Oliver Cromwell welcomedJews back to Britain after nearly 400 years of banishment. Why were theybanished and why were they welcomed back? ANTI-SEMITISM existed in medievalEngland, and forms the background to the final expulsion of the Jews by EdwardI in 1290.

Several reasons have been given for the expulsion, including baronialcomplaints in Parliament, input by the Queen Mother, and financial gain by theCrown.

In 1655, when England was a republic, Cromwell revived discussions about thereadmission of Jews to England. This was in response to a growing feeling thatestablished Jewish trading methods would lower the cost of importing goods andprovide new export markets.

There was certainly no legal reason against readmission and this importantfactor was raised during Parliamentary discussions.

Cromwell himself argued in favour of readmission but, being aware of existingopposition in England, gave his permission rather than an open declaration thatthis should take place. …

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