A staycation? Forget it, most of us would only go and get lost

Britons' lack of UK knowledge is shocking. By Josephine Forster
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The Independent Online

The recession-fuelled fashion for "staycations" is all very well, but it seems Britons know their way around the Costa Brava better than their own backyard.

One in five British adults couldn't tell you how many countries there are in the UK, a poll has found, and they are also likely to make a series of embarrassing errors when it comes to identifying their country's geographical highlights.

When asked to name England's highest mountain, most people (58.6 per cent) answered either Mount Everest, Ben Nevis, or Snowdon.

Almost a quarter thought Ayers Rock was in the UK while one in 20 didn't realise Stonehenge, pictured, was in Britain at all.

Ten per cent of those polled also had no idea that the Angel of the North was a rather famous British resident and one in five failed miserably to pinpoint the resort of Blackpool on a map.

A majority of those questioned, 53 per cent, didn't know Balmoral Castle was in Scotland, while more than a third (33.8 per cent) suggested that the Home Counties circled Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow.

Karen Gee of travel operator Journeys of Distinction, which carried out the survey of 2,000 people, said: "We were astounded that while Britons clearly have an enviable knowledge of famous cities abroad, they seem to display a lack of geographical awareness when it comes to their own nation.

"It's such a shame because the UK has so many national treasures for people to experience, right here on their doorstep."

The research comes amid increasing attempts to encourage Britons to holiday at home.

A £5m Government-backed campaign launched last Thursday by VisitEngland features Stephen Fry, Rupert Grint and Julie Walters extolling the country's virtues as a holiday destination.

James Berresford, VisitEngland's chief executive, said of the launch: "This is the largest domestic tourism campaign ever undertaken and aims to inspire UK residents to take advantage of the fantastic events taking place in the country this year.

"Now is the time to holiday at home – there is no comparison anywhere else in the world with what's on offer here in the UK this year."