My favourite place: MPs select tourist spots

The drive is on to tempt the extra visitors expected for the Games and Diamond Jubilee out into the wider country. Matt Chorley reports

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The Independent Online

Entrusting your holiday plans to a politician runs the risk of a family day out ruined by discussions about the deficit on the dodgems or tax cuts in the tea-room.

But leading figures from Westminster have been recruited as global tour guides to highlight the hidden historical gem or adrenalin-fuelled attraction in their own backyard. From a model village to the tree where Robin Hood took shelter, Nick Clegg's favourite ice-cream factory to the late Queen Mother's home, it is hoped the list will help bolster the lucrative "friends and relatives" market which is worth £3.5bn to the UK economy.

Tourism chiefs believe personal recommendations – from celebrities and politicians or family and friends – will be key to attracting visitors from target markets, including the US, Australia, Ireland and Germany.

Next month, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, will unveil details of a £25m worldwide marketing campaign, "GREAT Britain: You're invited", and has urged MPs to promote the best places to visit in their constituencies. Mr Hunt said: "This year really is the time to come to Britain. The Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee each offer fantastic experiences, but there is so much else going on ... I hope that everyone, and especially my parliamentary colleagues, grabs this moment to help ensure that as many people as possible get the chance to ... be part of it all."

He will issue a "call to arms" to all MPs to use the campaign to promote tourism, Britain's fifth-largest industry, in their area. Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of VisitBritain, added: "We are calling on each and every MP to help us highlight just some of these destinations, using their local knowledge and insight to promote the tourism assets within their constituency in a year when the eyes of the world are upon us."

Cusworth Hall

Ed Miliband(Lab, Doncaster North) Labour leader

"Cusworth Hall is a magnificent building with a fascinating history. It was built in the reign of King George III and is one of the few Grade I-listed buildings left in Doncaster. I would urge anybody to visit the hall and take a stroll in its grounds."

Blenheim Palace

David Cameron (Con, Witney) Prime Minister

"My constituency is in the picturesque Cotswolds ... with pretty villages, winding country lanes and rolling hills. It also plays host to many wonderful local attractions, including Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill."

Bradfield village

Nick Clegg (Lib Dem, Sheffield Hallam) Deputy PM

"Bradfield is a real gem on the edge of the Peak District national park. Don't miss a walk around Damflask Reservoir or the church in High Bradfield, and try out the local produce in the tea-rooms, the brewery and nearby ice-cream factory."


Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd) Plaid Cymru leader

"Portmeirion is a unique location. The Italianate village, designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, is a beautiful place and a perfect getaway to escape the real world: a truly magical experience."

Giant's Causeway

Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP, North Antrim)

"I represent the most beautiful constituency in the UK. It has many attractions ... but the long coastal walk past the Giant's Causeway and over Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is spectacular; standing on the bridge, gazing at the torrent of water below is powerful, romantic and inspiring."

The Lanes

Caroline Lucas (Green, Brighton & Hove) Green Party leader

"This colourful part of Brighton is home to hundreds of thriving independent shops. And with all its pubs, cafés and theatres, North Laine is at the heart of the city's cultural life."

Ramsgate Royal Harbour

Laura Sandys (Con, South Thanet)

"Sir Terry Farrell, the architect, said Ramsgate had one of the most beautiful townscapes in the country. I completely agree. By day or night, the harbour views are spectacular. With great restaurants and a vibrant café culture, it's very special."

Hadrian's Wall

Guy Opperman (Con, Hexham)

"Hadrian's Wall is the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain. It is 73 miles of living, beautiful history. Much is still visible, winding its way through magnificent countryside."

Weston-super-Mare pier

John Penrose (Con, Weston-super-Mare) Tourism minister

"Weston-super-Mare has been delighting holidaymakers since Victorian times and still retains much of that era's glorious heritage. Miles of sandy beaches, seaside attractions, boat trips and probably the best pier in Britain, make Weston a venue with, literally, something for everyone."

Liverpool's waterfront

Luciana Berger (Lab, Liverpool Wavertree)

"With the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings outside London, Liverpool's visitors are spoilt for choice. If you only have time to do one thing, the waterfront, with its Three Graces, Albert Dock and new museum is a must-see."

South London art

Harriet Harman (Lab, Camberwell and Peckham) Shadow Culture Secretary

"The 'Last Fridays' tours and the South London Art Map help visitors find galleries, as well as spaces like the installations on top of a multi-storey car park, with fantastic views across the capital."

Dumbarton Castle

Gemma Doyle (Lab, West Dunbartonshire)

"Ancient Dumbarton Castle was a royal refuge – and host to Mary, Queen of Scots, before she fled to France ... Why not visit Auchentoshan distillery, too, and bonnie, bonnie Loch Lomond."