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Sunday, 4 April 2010

Local Tourist Attractions

It's still Easter. Everything was shut today, because some people are still labouring under the misapprehension that this day is somehow significant. Well, everything apart from the pubs, happily, and those off licenses with the blue carrier bags that never, ever seem to shut. That's the backbone of Britain right there. Pubs, and blue offy bags.

As a result of this, you are now either off your face, or bored out of your mind, and there's more of it to come tomorrow.

One way you could spend the Easter Bank Holiday Monday, is going for a lovely wholesome day out to a local tourist attraction. This is easier if you have access to children (no, not in the "show me on the doll where he touched you" sense, I just mean like, you have kids or nieces and nephews or whatever), because they are easily impressed and if you suggest any of this to your mates and none of you are high they're just going to mug you off. That crate of Stella Asda are doing for a tenner isn't going to drink itself.

You could go to Alton Towers or Chessington World of Adventures, or if you're in London one of the many pretty cool things they have there, but odds are that'll seem like a bit of a mission what with the hangover and the fact the kids, if you've managed to commandeer any, are going to be unbearably sugared up having spent all weekend gorging on chocolate. You don't want to actually do anything exciting because you will all be sick, so you are more likely to end up heading out to a more low rent local alternative.

There are some pretty staggeringly shit places out there. Usually the prime hunting ground for crap tourist attractions is the kind of places those weirdos who go to another part of England on holiday go to (even though it's cheaper to go to Greece or Spain where you won't have quite such a horrible time and can make the holiday pay for itself by bringing back a load of fags). Places like the South Coast. Places like that. These places, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset etc., are absolutely fucking teeming with really bizarre "attractions". Not bizarre as in they have a cat with three heads and a bearded lady (though if you want to see a bearded lady there's one who hangs around the bus station in Guildford - it's a proper, ZZ Top style beard as well, not just a bit of fuzz), but bizarre as in, why the fuck did they build this?

Cornwall has a place you can actually go to, seriously, I went there when I was a kid and I've checked I didn't dream it and it is somehow, over 20 years later, still in business, called Dairyland. It's a theme park, where the theme is cows. That's right, those big animals that do fuck all. One of the attractions boasted on its very shit, early 90's looking website includes "Milking Clarabelle". Am I just a very disgusting person for thinking that sounds like some kind of very niche porno?

Honestly, there are cultures in the world that believe cows to be sacred and worship them, and even they don't put up fucking theme parks in their honour. How much interest can a child really be expected to have in a bunch of steak stuffed in a leather handbag, crapping, mooing and having milk squeezed out of its weird boobs? It bloody stinks as well, undoubtedly. So, you could go there.

Another thing that they have in Cornwall, the arse end of nowhere, is a place called Flambards, which, again, has been there, somehow surviving, for my entire life. You know a theme park is going to be pretty crap when they boast on the TV about having Britain's "Most Southerly Rollercoaster". How far south it is within the UK is not really a statistic that is important when discussing rollercoasters, is it? Is it the biggest? Hell no! It's fucking tiny! Is it the fastest? Noooo, in fact it is incredibly fucking pedestrian, that is why we put an old lady on the advert riding it. OK, so, er, does it go upside down more than all the others? No, that it does not do, not even once - there is a bit where it stops quite suddenly and you hurt your groin, but we didn't think that "Most likely to render you infertile" was snappy enough so we're going with "Most Southerly".

It's called the Hornet. The only way they could make it scary is to place an actual hornets' nest in each of the little cars. Then, when you collected the photos at the end of the ride (yes, they actually bother with that, as if it's something good that you are going to want to remember happened to you), instead of everyone looking underwhelmed, some people would look all sort of red and puffy as they go into anaphylactic shock from the stings. I'd be scared of that. I fucking hate wasps and shit (another reason why these places all suck, they get very waspy on account of all the ice cream and whatnot. There is usually a candy floss machine with wasps actually crawling around inside of it. Do not want.).

Moving out of Cornwall and the realm of awful theme parks, though these are by no means restricted to the region, you can find something just as piss poor anywhere round the entire coast of the UK I would wager, what if you fancy a bit of nature?

From Poole or Bournemouth in Dorset you can take a day trip by boat to a place called Brownsea Island. The name doesn't sound appealing, does it? Brownsea? Brown sea? Why is the sea brown? Is it sewage? Nice.

The main selling point of this small island as a tourist attraction is, get this, it has squirrels that are ginger.

There aren't many places you get ginger squirrels in the UK. This is because the normal ones, sorry, I mean the grey ones, kill them or some shit. Whether this is squirrel racism or whether some sort of evolutionary thing has just meant the normal ones, sorry, grey ones are somehow better equipped to survive, perhaps better camouflaged, than the ginger ones I don't know. It's probably the latter, although a squirrel race war would make a great cartoon. In any case, if you want to go and walk around some woods looking for genetically inferior squirrels that can't survive on the mainland, and which look exactly the same as the ones in your office car park if they'd been Tango'd, this is the day out for you.

Incidentally, I know someone who thinks ginger people have no souls and when they die they end up in limbo. Even that cute little girl off of Doctor Who and my mate Sarah. A lot of people just say they smell of fox piss. Not me, just you know, other people.

The National Trust also offers a wealth of other nature walks and boring stuff like that. I can see why that might be fun in other countries where they have bears or snakes or fucking tigers and stuff, cool animals, but in England all the wild animals are boring and brown, apart from badgers which are fairly cool and apparently dead vicious, but you only ever see them when they're dying by the road. I don't think they're hard at all, or they would come out and fucking face us like men.

You are probably just going to see more squirrels, some ducks, and if you are most especially unlucky a fucking swan. The swan is an evil bastard. Why the queen loves the fuckers and won't let you kill and eat them I have no idea, she has obviously never had one chase her making that devil sound they make. It's a shame, because it does look like there is good eating on one. Whether killing a swan actually constitutes treason, the only offence you can still be executed for in Britain, I do not know, but I'm not risking it no matter how good I reckon its leg would be. Kentucky Fried Swan. Omnomnomnomnom.

A mate of mine did once get told off at work for bitch slapping a swan across the face because it was blocking his entrance into his office (which was next to a big pond, it wasn't just a random swan). I would love to see that. A man slapping a swan across the fucking face. Break my arm would you? You fucking reckon? Come on then, let's be having you, you long necked bastard! THWACK!

That's how I imagine it went.

So, there's a few options for you anyway. Let me know if you find anything else really pony to do and see near you. I know you won't let me down.


  1. I can't wait for your take on my favorite attractions in London:
    Imperial War Museum
    The Underground
    Tower of London
    Changing of the Horse Guards

    And here's one for you: why is it so hard to find fish & chips in the City of London? When I was there, I couldn't go 10 paces without walking into a curry shop, but find an authentic English 'fish 'n chips' shoppe? Noooooooooooooooo.

  2. The underground isn't really an attraction, more just, you know, some trains... I do hate it though so it may pop up on here one day!

    My take on all the other things? They'd be better if there weren't so many bloody American tourists knocking about ;)

    This is why we hide our fish & chip shops away with magic, which we all learn to do at Hogwarts.

  3. Big Daddy Baumer4 April 2010 at 17:40

    I am going to make it a point to go bitch slap a swan every bank holiday weekend from here on out. It will be a new and glorious tradition.

  4. If the swan ever breaks your arm please do not sue this website for telling you it it was a cool thing to do.

    Aside from that little disclaimer, videophone footage of this practise would be happily received.

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  7. Ha! Just read this. Fucking swan had it coming! Orange beaked, beady-eyed gobshite!

    (Anonymous Spaniard)