Would you recognise London without Big Ben?
Take away an iconic landmark from a picture and many are baffled
By TTM on 17 November 2009 in News
One in six Britons fail to recognise the London skyline without one of its most memorable landmarks, Big Ben, new research from Hotels.com has shown. A staggering 17% of Brits were stumped by an image of their capital city when the iconic clock tower was airbrushed out of the picture.
More than 10,000 travellers across the globe were polled, including more than 1000 Brits, to see just how many cities they recognised after a key landmark had been removed.
So near yet so far - Brits (mis)taking the Pisa
Despite the rise of the mini break, the research showed that it's our neighbouring European cities that we know the least. Less than half (49%) of British travellers recognised Barcelona without the Sagrada Familia; a mere third (33%) spotted Pisa without its Leaning Tower, and just 43% recognised Rome without St Paul's Basilica. Even Dublin proved tricky as less than a quarter (22%) of Brits correctly identified the Irish capital once the Ha'penny Bridge had been airbrushed out of the picture. In fact, the vast majority (74%) of travellers polled thought that Dublin was in fact Amsterdam.
City Landmark % of Brits who failed to recognise city without landmark
However, long haul destinations seem to stick in our visual memory better. The Hotels.com research showed that almost all Brits (91%) recognised Sydney without the Opera House and Las Vegas without the Paris Las Vegas hotel (88%). Similarly Rio was identified correctly by 82% of travellers even after the Christ the Redeemer statue had been removed.
City Landmark % of Brits who correctly recognised city without landmark
Perhaps even more surprising is that travellers from France and Germany recognised London more than we Brits did. A staggering 98% of French people polled, correctly spotted London once Big Ben had been removed and an equally impressive 87% of Germans followed suit. In fact our European neighbours are so familiar with our capital that more of them recognised London than they did their own capital cities. Findings show that only 61% of Germans recognised Berlin without its Fernsehturm (compared to 87% for London) and 92% of French travellers identified Paris without the Eiffel Tower (compared to 98% for London).
In fact, it seems that French and German travellers recognise world cities better than us overall. Both nationalities beat UK travellers in recognising Rome without St Paul's Basilica, 64% of Germans and 49% of French, compared to a disappointing 43% of Brits. Likewise, 86% of travellers in Germany also correctly identified the city of Geneva without its Jet d'Eau Fountain, whilst only 82% Brits could do the same.
City Landmark % of Brits who correctly recognised % of French who correctly recognised % of Germans who correctly recognised
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