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UK Lonely Planet winners and losers
By Liam Allen
BBC News

A new Lonely Planet travel guide praises the UK's cities and concludes that the north-south divide is a myth. But which places were the winners and losers in the latest Lonely Planet guide?

The UK is on a par with Italy for its "magnificent cities", the guide says

With each publication of the latest version of the Lonely Planet guide, councils and tourist boards have been variously offended and delighted.

The latest edition, published on Tuesday, is no exception.

It says that dynamic development has transformed the north of England dispelling the "grim up north" myth.

It also admiringly describes Britons as "uninhibited, tolerant, exhibitionist, passionate, aggressive, sentimental, hospitable and friendly".

But it is not so kind about other aspects of the UK.

Here are some of the Lonely Planet winners and losers:


Cities, in general, fare extremely well with Lonely Planet claiming that Britain is on a par with Italy for "magnificent cities".

Edinburgh is praised as "one of the most loveable cities on the planet"

Among those praised in the north, Leeds is described as the "Knightsbridge of the north" and Manchester is hailed as "one of Britain's most exciting and interesting cities".

Liverpool, it adds, has thrown off its reputation as a city "full of smart-arse scallies who would as soon nick your car as tell you a joke".

Glasgow "unforgettable"

And in Scotland, "loveable and liveable" Edinburgh and "unforgettable" Glasgow are both must-sees, the guide says.

By contrast, Worcester is said to be "smothered by modern architectural blunders and possessed of a rather soulless centre". A spokesman for Worcester City Council said that the comments, "while not without a bone of truth" were outdated thanks to massive redevelopment in the city centre.

'Numbers on increase'

While Lincoln was praised for its "charming" locals, it was slated for its "fairly drab, modern suburbs". This was at odds with the city being voted as the UK's ninth favourite in a recent national newspaper poll, a spokeswoman for Lincolnshire Tourism countered.

Gloucester "the city's glory days are long gone"

And a spokesman for Gloucester City Council, reacting to the guide's assertion that "the city's glory days are long gone", said visitor numbers were on the increase.

Perhaps one of the cruellest putdowns in the whole guide is directed at the people of Wolverhampton.

"If you thought Brummies sounded funny, wait'll you get to Wolverhampton," it reads.


By contrast Britain's seaside, with the exceptions of Eastbourne, Newquay and previously-maligned Blackpool, come in for a bit of a pasting.

Eastbourne is praised as "a lovely Victorian seaside town that your bold and artsy aunt might enjoy".

Newquay is hailed as "Cornwall's biggest party town" and Blackpool is said to have 21st century amusements "to thrill even the most jaded".

The English Riviera, meanwhile, is described as "a rather optimistic" term to describe the Devon resorts of Torquay and Paignton while Ilfracombe, according to Lonely Planet, "can feel like the end of the earth on a wet afternoon".

Ann Doody, of the Ilfracombe and District Tourist Association, slammed the guide's authors as "lacking imagination", saying it would take "more than a fortnight" to experience everything the resort had to offer.

'Unimaginative view'

Scarborough, meanwhile, is said to be full of "seaside kitsch".

This was "a very unimaginative view", a spokeswoman for Scarborough Borough Council said, adding that the town was the oldest seaside resort in the country and had "plenty to offer". "I would question if they've actually been here," she added.

Lincolnshire resort Skegness, says the guide, features "thousands of pasty optimists doing brave impressions of sunbathing regardless of the weather".

A Lincolnshire Tourism spokesman defended Skegness, pointing to its "award-winning" beaches, "ideal for sea swimming".


Towns faring well in the guide include Windsor, whose castle is described as "a stunning display of royal wealth and power that dates back nearly 1,000 years".

And drinkers are tipped off that Perth is "bustling with some cracking pubs".

But the guide's authors are far less complimentary about many more towns. A number are berated for their non-progressive nature including Harrogate, described as not having changed much "since Agatha Christie fled there in 1926".

Harrogate 'not changed much since Agatha Christie fled there in 1926'

Borough council leader Mike Gardner hit back by saying that, while townsfolk were proud of their Victorian heritage, Harrogate's third position in the national league of conference towns in the country proved it to be a "vibrant cosmopolitan".

Arts festival

Pitlochry in Scotland is described in the guide as "teeming with visitors" and "rapidly losing the Highland charm it once possessed".

Visit Scotland Perthshire area director Vicky Miller said tourists of all nationalities who visited and enjoyed "lively" Pitlochry would disagree about such a loss in charm. Ipswich is said by Lonely Planet to now "barely register on the list of England's most important towns".

Ipswich, not an important town according to Lonely Planet.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council pointed to the annual Ipswich Arts Festival (Ip-art) as just one reason for the town's "irresistibility".

He added: "If Tracey Emin's coming to Ip-art this summer, why can't Lonely Planet?"

269 Posts
Sexy Beast said:
By contrast, Worcester is said to be "smothered by modern architectural blunders and possessed of a rather soulless centre". A spokesman for Worcester City Council said that the comments, "while not without a bone of truth" were outdated thanks to massive redevelopment in the city centre.
You what? Worcester is beautiful, one of the nicest small cities I've ever been to.

Just lost all respect with this guide after reading that. I only went to Worcester 11 days ago, and I didnt want to leave. Even the nightlife is better then Nottingham and its twice as small.
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