Simon Calder: How attractions could spruce themselves up
Wednesday 11 May 2011
Some of Lonely Planet's criticisms are trite generalisations: the dormitory towns of Surrey are no less inspiring that those in the commuter belts of Paris and Milan. But they should spur some action from the target of the barbs.
Over the past two weeks I have visited five towns and cities that could present themselves more appealingly to the world.
Aberaeron on Cardigan Bay is a Georgian gem whose early 19th-century elegance has been smothered by 20th-century accoutrements. Move the traffic to the outskirts, open up Alban Square and the world may yet beat a path to west Wales.
Birmingham has largely been rescued from the desecration wrought by 1960s planners, but the heart was ripped from the city and has yet to be restored.
Fort William is at the end of Britain's finest railway, the West Highland Line from Glasgow. With Ben Nevis at its doorstep and the Great Glen beyond, it now styles itself as Scotland's adventure capital. The claim would be more credible if the walk from the station through the town were not unremittingly dreary.
Oxford Street, London, is currently a constricted muddle, due to the Crossrail project, but even when finally finished, I fear the capital's premier shopping street will emerge still tawdry and uninspiring. But clear the traffic and the illegal traders, and it will live up to its value on the Monopoly board.
Southampton took more than its share of bombing in the Second World War – now the city still feels like a place defeated, with only warehouses such as Toys R Us rising from the ashes. The waterfront needs to be embraced more convincingly, and the road network humanised.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 3 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 4 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 5 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...
18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...
£20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...