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Old May 24th, 2005, 12:57 PM   #1
Sexy Beast
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Lonely Planet Praises North of Britain

Why it's no longer 'grim up north'

Lonely Planet guide to Britain lavishes praise on buzzing and exciting cities and says urban regeneration has ironed out old divide

Polly Curtis
Tuesday May 24, 2005
The Guardian

Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle are as "unmissable" as Rome, Venice or Florence, according to the authors of a new guide to Britain.

The Lonely Planet guide to Britain declares that urban regeneration projects have ironed out the north-south divide and it is no longer "grim up north".

Manchester is "one of Britain's most exciting and interesting cities", Newcastle upon Tyne has displayed "miraculous powers of urban regeneration", and Leeds is the "Knightsbridge of the north", the guide says.

Elsewhere, Bristol is "buzzing", Glasgow has a "contagious energy" and Birmingham is "new and improved".

London, meanwhile, is an "essential" part of a trip to Britain despite being "dirty, polluted and overcrowded".

"It might not swagger with the technicoloured exuberance of the 'swinging 60s', but it has long since got its mojo back," the book says.

But some of the capital's biggest attractions do not weather so well. The waxworks museum Madame Tussauds is "toweringly tedious", Buckingham Palace "distinctly underwhelming" and Leicester Square "heaving with tourists".

David Else, the book's coordinating author, said: "When it comes to great destinations, the north-south divide is a myth. Great Britain is now comparable to fine countries such as Italy, which boasts an array of unmissable cities like Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin and Milan."

"British cities are cleaner and tidier, with new buildings, and increasingly there are more outdoor spaces. You're far more likely to sit outside in Britain and eat a meal than ever before, weather permitting."

He added: "You can still find the traditional British ideas attributes, such as candyfloss by the sea and tea and frilly tablecloths in the Yorkshire Dales. But the dirty great concrete cities are long gone."

Leeds has been hailed as the shopping capital of the north and "Britain's Barcelona" ever since Harvey Nichols opened there. The store celebrates its 10th anniversary in Yorkshire next year. The book says: "From cutting edge couture to contemporary cuisine, Leeds will hand it to you in a stylishly designed bag or serve it on a fancy plate."

The book also lavishes praise on the Midlands. "Birmingham isn't what it once was," it concludes, praising the quality of the city centre, the architecture, and the urban renewal projects that have replaced the "dismal industrial parts of the town".

Swansea, meanwhile, is praised for its sea views and nightlife. "Dylan Thomas grew up here and called it an 'ugly lovely town'. With some post-war architectural exceptions, those days are largely history. Swansea is energetic, and has a wide choice of international restaurants and a pulsing weekend bar scene," the guide says.

Ian McMillan, Barnsley football club's poet-in-residence, welcomed the guide's verdict, but said it was a bit behind the times: "It's a cliche that it's grim up north. It's not been grim up north since they did away with industry in 1984.

"Leeds is full of footballers shopping in Harvey Nichols, Sheffield is full of men in hard hats building things and Barnsley is the new Tuscany."

Don Stewart, executive director of Yorkshire Forward, the economic development agency for the region, said: "If you surveyed Londoners about Leeds there's a good chance you'd get flat caps, doilies and Michael Parkinson. But the economy here has changed. It's loft apartments and people with big disposable incomes. It takes time to change that perception."

Not to be missed


Newcastle

The Geordies themselves are the real draw: proud, positive, and blessed (or cursed) with an ability to party unmatched anywhere else in Europe.

Glasgow

Few cities in Britain have the contagious energy that you'll find bubbling away on its streets and in its justifiably famous pubs and bars.

Leeds

Almost perfect reflection of British zeitgeist.

Birmingham

New and improved: a visit is mandatory for anyone clinging to the outdated impression.

Bristol

An artistic incubator and aeronautical hub, combining hip street culture with cutting-edge technology to make it one of Britain's hotbeds of innovation.

Cardiff

Smaller than London or Manchester, but with modern and historic sights, international restaurants, slick bars, and a zinging music scene that make it less overwhelming, just as imaginative, and friendlier.

Swansea

Swansea is energetic, and has a wide choice of international restaurants and a pulsing weekend bar scene.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #2
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Hmm, my reaction is that on the whole I would agree. I've just spent the last year in Sheffield, which most people down south still have the opinion of being dirty, poluted and industrial. Well, it's certainly not and it has so many things going for it as well as being very green and clean.

But... in terms of tourist attractions, nothing IMO beats London. You just cannot beat the range of fascinating things to see, the diversity of the people and the sheer size. Also, I don't think that london is 'dirty and poluted' in the areas that tourist will visit.

It's a good thing though that the northern cities are trying hard to narrow the divide, though IMO it still is huge at the moment.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #3
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At last Birmingham is getting the praise it deserves, they was even a 4 page article in the Sunday Telegraphs "You" magazine (London Paper) called ..."Brilliant Brum" ... talking about it as being the UK's hippest and coolest City (although people might have different oppinions).

Great news for the UK though, time for a different persepctive on the country.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #4
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I would agree with all of that except that Barnsley is the new Tuscany. That's just stretching things a little toooo far.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 02:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddied
I would agree with all of that except that Barnsley is the new Tuscany. That's just stretching things a little toooo far.
Maybe so, but I went to Barnsley about 4 months ago, and it was very nice.
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Old May 24th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #6
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Apparently, according to the guide they say Manchester looks to Barcelona for it's inspiration:

Quote:
Manchester's a world beater
Chris Osuh

URBIS: described in the guide as 'compelling'

BOOMTOWN Manchester is one of Britain's top attractions - and London had better watch out, a new travel guide says.

The new edition of the backpackers' bible, The Lonely Planet, heaps praise on the city after a less-than-perfect verdict four years ago.

The 2005 edition heralds Manchester as one of the country's most exciting cities, earning points not just for its footballing success and the "Madchester" rock bands. It says that the wealth of attractions puts the city on a par with cultural meccas across the globe.

And it says Manchester is one of the few spots in Britain that can look London squarely in the eye and say: `This is how's it's done, mate'. It adds: "It is surely indicative of more than just northern one-upmanship over London and the south that Manchester looks to Barcelona as its main rival and inspitration."

The guide points visitors to the town hall, which is described as "magnificent", inside and out. Central Library is dubbed an "elegant, Roman pantheon lookalike" and a tourists' must-see and Deansgate's John Rylands Library is labelled "an easy candidate for top building in town". Manchester Art Gallery is lauded for a "superb" collection of European masters and British art, and tourists are encouraged to visit the "beautiful" Chetham's Library and School of Music.

Urbis is praised for its striking architecture and "compelling" exhibits. The multi-million pound museum of cities - along with Old Trafford football ground - is cited by the operators of Manchester's sightseeing bus as one of the most popular sights.



MODERN: our club and band scene gives 'confidence'

Revolution

Back in 2001, the guide said Piccadilly Gardens would stop visitors falling in love with the city and slated the Arndale Centre as one of the ugliest shopping centres in Europe.

Now the book says: "Here, in the world's first industrial city, a new revolution is taking place, transforming the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution into a modern metropolis that has embraced 21st century style and technology like no other in England.

"Not only does Manchester have a wealth of fascinating museums that reflect its unique role in pioneering developments of the Industrial Age, but it has managed to weave the mementos of its past with forward-looking, ambitious urban development that has offered us a vision of what the future holds in store."

David Else, co-ordinating author of the Lonely Planet Guide, told the M.E.N: "What we liked most was the overwhelming sense of improvement in the city. To the outsider Manchester first started to change with the development of the club and band scene, restoring a sense of confidence in the city.

"Now, as Manchester combines its heritage with great new buildings and a sense of moving forward, there is so much more to the place than a good night out."

Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Manchester's tourist board, said: "We are delighted with the review given in Lonely Planet. To describe Manchester as one of Britain's most exciting cities is something Mancunians have known for a long time. It is wonderful that the rest of the world has begun to realise this too."
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Old May 24th, 2005, 03:58 PM   #7
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Backpackers’ bible swears that Britain has been born again
By David Lister

24th May 2005


THE British are one of the most inspirational peoples in the world, whose warmth and friendliness appear to be without bounds and whose cities are among the most vibrant.

The people are “uninhibited, tolerant, exhibitionist, passionate, aggressive, sentimental, hospitable and friendly. It hits you like a breath of fresh air”, says the new edition of the Lonely Planet, the self-styled backpacker’s bible.

It has concluded that Britain is one of the most wondrous places on the planet, with buzzing cities, breathtaking scenery and extraordinary culture

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Old May 24th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #8
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Newcastle Upon Tyne



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Old May 24th, 2005, 06:15 PM   #9
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Leeds












































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Old May 24th, 2005, 08:07 PM   #10
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London, meanwhile, is an "essential" part of a trip to Britain despite being "dirty, polluted and overcrowded".

LONDON DIRTY?????
Jesus, it is the cleanest city I've ever seen in my live!!
I couldn’t even find a little peace of paper on the ground!

No, I don't agree, London is a very clean city. (The parts that I've seen)
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Old May 24th, 2005, 09:50 PM   #11
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Believe me there are some very dirty parts of London although the touristed areas are generally kept pretty clean.

I would take this with a pinch of salt, It's nice and I mostly agree but they do go a bit OTT sometimes. Have you ever read a lonely planet guide where they say the whole country is a shithole?
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Old May 24th, 2005, 10:59 PM   #12
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London is very clean for a major city and transport hub, it is certainly cleaner than many major cities including New York.

As for the positive comments about the north, I totally agree
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wssps
London, meanwhile, is an "essential" part of a trip to Britain despite being "dirty, polluted and overcrowded".

LONDON DIRTY?????
Jesus, it is the cleanest city I've ever seen in my live!!
I couldn’t even find a little peace of paper on the ground!

No, I don't agree, London is a very clean city. (The parts that I've seen)
Yes in my experience Central London and areas with the wealthier local councils are kept scrupulously clean. To be honest, anywhere where a tourist is ever likely to go is pretty spotless. Some of the more run-down areas can be dirty though.

With all the weekend outside drinking / dining in the Summer Soho can look like a bomb's hit it come 1am, but the cleaners muscle in and come Sunday morning its spotless again.
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