Loch Ness beats Houses of Parliament in wonders of Britain poll

Article date: 10 September 2008

  • RAC announces must-see list for ‘road-trippers'

Loch Ness' Urquhart Castle has claimed top spot in a national poll* to find the "Seven Wonders of Britain". The remote wonder beat off more familiar sights including Windsor Castle and was a staggering 41% above seventh place Houses of Parliament.

The poll, by RAC, was conducted following research** that revealed just four out of ten people are proud of the sights on our nation's doorstep.  In fact, twice as many Brits have visited the Eiffel Tower than have been to Stonehenge with New York's Statue of Liberty and Rome's Coliseum also beating it in popularity, suggesting we appreciate overseas attractions more than our own.

But with the credit crunch and weak pound forcing three quarters (77%) of Brits to take more breaks in the UK this year, RAC set out to discover the "Seven Wonders of Britain" and create a guide to help motorists find the best of our country's heritage.

Motorists revealed that they expect a wonder to combine "historical importance" with "entertainment", while having a "wow factor" but still "easily accessible by road". From a shortlist of 14 places fitting this criteria and developed by national tourism agency VisitBritain, the following were voted as RAC's "Seven Wonders of Britain":

  1. Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
  2. Whitby Abbey
  3. Hadrian's Wall
  4. Stonehenge
  5. Hardknott Pass
  6. Angel of the North
  7.  The Houses of Parliament

Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain, comments: "The public told us what's important to them in a modern wonder and we developed a tailored shortlist based on their views. It's been interesting to see which ones have found favour with the public; what's become clear is that Brits are looking to rediscover the sights sitting on their own doorstep. Many of the British roads are a real pleasure to drive on so there's never been a better time to get behind the wheel and discover the national treasures on our own doorstep."

Brits agree, with nearly six in 10 (58%) admitting that they still have much of the UK to discover. And with eight out of 10 (84%) Brits saying they prefer to visit sites by car, RAC believes this poll may spark a new breed of road tripper.

Iain Vale, RAC Patrol of the Year, says: "As patrols, we spend all our working time on the road and see the variety of sights that the UK has to offer. Now it's up to Brits to get out on the roads and visit our nation's highlights; there's a wealth out there so get exploring!"

For a full guide to the shortlist and RAC's newly unveiled "Seven Wonders of Britain" visit rac.co.uk.


RAC patrols are available for interview. 

RAC Press office contacts:
Amy Funston on 020 7908 6433 or Louis Blake on 020 7908 6523.

VisitBritain Press Office contact: Sian Brenchley on 020 8563 3220 or sian.brenchley@visitbritain.org

Notes to editors:
* An online poll on AOL from 18 August - 1 September 2008.

** Redshift surveyed 1003 people from the 14-18 July 2008.

The Seven Wonders of Britain competition winner's name can be requested via comps@rac.co.uk. Please mention the competition title in the first instance.

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle   inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been

ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15 per cent.

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 27 countries. For more information on RAC products and services please visit www.rac.co.uk.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at http://www.racnews.co.uk/.

About VisitBritain:

  • VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a worldclass tourist destination and for developing England's visitor economy through Enjoy England campaigns and initiatives.
  • UK residents took over 100 million trips, spending £16.5 billion in England in 2007. Since its launch in 2003, Enjoy England has been responsible for £450m of incremental spend on short breaks in England. In addition to national TV advertising campaigns to inspire British visitors to share their secrets of England, the current portfolio of campaigns focuses on city breaks, outdoor activities, food and drink and indulgent escapes. As well as in the UK and Ireland, VisitBritain also markets the destination in France, Germany and the Netherlands under the VisitEngland brand.
  • Visit the England press centre at www.enjoyengland.com/presscentre

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