Japanese tourists find Billy Smart's 'Dome'

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The Independent Online

There can be few people in Britain who are not aware of the Millennium Dome. Indeed, if the publicity is to be believed, few people in the world have not at some time seen pictures of the mammoth structure.

There can be few people in Britain who are not aware of the Millennium Dome. Indeed, if the publicity is to be believed, few people in the world have not at some time seen pictures of the mammoth structure.

But for a group of Japanese tourists all the advance publicity in the world was not enough to help them find the giant tent in Greenwich.

No one knows exactly what the itinerary promised, or if there was a map included in the tourist information. All that is certain is that when the five visitors saw that distinctive domed roof they hopped off their bus and headed inside.

Unfortunately, they were not at the fabled millennium site but inside the Big Top of Billy Smart's circus in nearby Blackheath. Not until nearly two hours later, when they asked to see the Body Zone, did the ringmaster and his colleagues realise there had been a mistake.

A spokesman for the circus said: "Our lights were shining through the gloom of a wet afternoon and the tourists thought we were the Dome. They seemed to have a good time and emerged eating candy floss. Their only comment was that they had expected the Dome to be a little bigger."

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