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So, England's regions, here, are getting kind of numerous. I wonder if there's any way for us to make them clearer?
There's a good Wikipedia article on the traditional counties of England which might make a good start. The larger regions -- I think there are 9 in England -- might also be a way to do it. --Evan 07:50, 2 Dec 2003 (PST)
Now I can't remember where I found those 9 regions. In any event, the 40+ counties is not going to fly (although we might want to make a List of English counties). We need to come up with some sub-divisions of England at a higher level than the county and municipal area. --Evan 11:55, 6 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Evan - I found the 9 regions, and I have just finished setting up pages for each of them with some very basic information on each as a starting point(including which of England's 40+ counties is in each region). Hope this looks OK to you. I will begin to expand upon the "South of England" section - my home turf - but I will leave the other regions to those with a bit more local knowledge than me. --sjc196 14:14, 7 Apr 2004 (GMT)
I think work is still needed on the regions. I've renamed 'Heart of England' to English Midlands, as 'HoE' is really a marketing slogan or nickname rather than a commonly used name. A bit like calling New York State as 'The Empire State'. I've also dropped Cumbria and Derbyshire as they are counties, and already represented in the North West and Midlands regions as previously defined. There is an official set of region definitions, which is at Talk:England/OfficialRegions for future reference. I havn't transcribed these to the article(s) because I don't think we should necessarily stick with these regions; they are not well-known locally nor do they have much relevance to travel or tourism. -- Chris j wood 13:06, 19 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I'm still fairly dissatisfied with the English regions.... Having been doing quite a deal of work on the French regions, I believe we need to rethink those found in England. Some are missing completely (e.g. the Lake District / Cumbria - shouldn't really be lumped together with the "North-West" - I hardly think that Windermere has much in common with the mill towns of Lancashire or the town of Chester, for example) and others are far too large and unwieldy (e.g. the Midlands - this should be divided into East and West Midlands at least, perhaps....). I'm goign to propose a new list, then - if there are no objections or requested changes - implement it. Any other thoughts and suggestions? Let's get the discussion rolling! Pjamescowie 08:31, 4 Nov 2004 (EST)
Maybe the seven main regions could be used as headers, listing the counties and main tourist destinations behind it (like its done for Japan or France). This would make it possible to navigate directly to the counties, without having a single long list. Apart from that I think we should use the seven regions as main divions for England. (This is the set that is best known to me, even if they are administrative divions.) Miknon 11:02, 9 Jan 2005 (EST)
"England's regions are sub-divided into a large number of historic Counties." - 'Historic' gives the impression of no longer applying, but I think counties are still a major way people identify themselves. Maybe it's just the word 'historic' has multiple meanings. -- Lionfish
The 'historic counties' are the areas most people identify with and popularly use. E.g. Bradford is in Yorkshire; Leicester in Leicestershire, etc.
These Counties are historic (i.e. still exist and are of great historical importance) and not historical. It might be better just to use the term counties, but this would need to be avoided when refering to administrative areas (which differ substantially), else it will cause confusion. Administratively speaking, Bradford is in "Bradford" (a unitary authority) and Leicester is in "Leicester"! 184.108.40.206 12:00, 6 Mar 2005 (EST)
The following comment, whilst true, is somewhat derogatory and unnecessary:
The English mean lots of different things to other nations; to the Australians, they are 'whinging poms', to the USA, 'limeys', to the Scottish 'sassenachs' (an ancient derogatory term for a Saxon, taken from early Latin), to the French, 'rosbifs' (Roast Beef).
Is this really useful information to a traveller, or just something posted by someone with something against the English (and god knows there's enough people out there with something against us)? --sjc196 14:41, 6 Apr 2004 (GMT)
Problem with the Newcastle link
It points to Newcastle in south wales australia. when really i guess it should point to Newcastle upon Tyne, i changed the link name and now it points at an empty page... was their ever a page for Newcastle upon Tyne thats got lost somewhere now?
We seem to have a rather strange choice for the list of major cities. Lancaster is tiny, for example. Should we be listing major tourist destinations instead?
So I've been told that the English actually consider "thank you" to be terribly formal, and say "cheers" instead. Is this accurate? -- Beland 01:32, 18 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Yes and no. "Cheers" is something of a general purpose feel good phrase; it can be used instead of "thank you", or as a way of closing a conversation, a sort of more positive version of "goodbye", especially on the telephone. But I don't think anybody here would think "thank you" particularly formal, and it is still the normal way of thanking someone for a specific service rendered, or at the end of a transaction in a shop/restaurant/whatever. If you aren't confortable with "cheers", use "thank you" everywhere. I doubt anybody would even notice. -- Chris j wood 14:50, 18 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Wouldn't be really weird to hear someone properly pronouce the word 'cheers' in this context? It's almost always pronounced to sound more like 'chirs'. Also the article doesn't even mention the word 'thanks'. I can count the number of times I've heard "thank you" on one hand, but 'thanks' or 'thanks very much' are in common usage everywhere in England.
a minor point, according to this article, Manchester is Britain's second largest city. But the article on Birmingham claims the same thing. I imagine Manchester is bigger than Birmingham (and I don't even live up north!), but I'm not really sure. Maybe the term 'bigger' should be described better. Are we talking in terms of population, area, commerce etc.
The Earl of Sandwich thing is a myth, BTW.
(Did you *really* believe no-one was putting their food in bread before that ?) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs)
Should we have a See Also section, which isn't in line with the template? On the other hand, it makes sense to have a link to Golf in England, and I don't see where else it fits. Jonboy 09:46, 10 Feb 2006 (EST)
The article says that Chip and PIN has become compulsory. I found this article which sort of explains it, but I'm unclear as to the consequences for people visiting from countries (like the US) that don't subscribe to this system. When I go to the UK, will I be unable to use any of my credit cards? Even at hotels? Jonboy 09:40, 22 Feb 2006 (EST)
The article says English summers are very hot, comparable to the south of France or Spain. Isn't this a bit
of an exaggeration? (For example, average July high temperature in London is 22 celcius - you'll find it difficult
to get a Spaniard to call this "hot".)
Which nine cities?
I just removed Leeds from the list of nine cities. Mostly because it said there were nine, but that made it 10. If something should be dropped so that Leeds can be added, please explain here. (Or do so for any other city.) -- Jonboy 11:59, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
As with the UK page, cities seem to be here because editors want them to be rather than on how popular they are with tourists
Well, FWIW, here's the (England only) stats for visitor numbers taken from the same site I used for the UK page:
(underlined cities are also listed on the UK page)
Personally, I think there's two main ways to go about it. The first is just to list the most popular cities (so in this case it would be London, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, York, Bath, Newcastle). The second would be to use one city from each region, either going by the largest cities or the most popular. Ideally the cities in question would be the best places to act as a base for visiting the region, so it should be a decent size and have plenty of tourist attractions and hotels. If we follow that line I guess we could go for Bristol (West Country), Brighton (South East), London, Cambridge or possibly Norwich (East Anglia), Birmingham (West Midlands), Nottingham (East Midlands), Manchester (North West), York/Leeds (Yorkshire) and Newcastle (North East). Personally I'd lean slightly towards the regional system, but I'd like to know what others think. --Paul. 21:23, 18 November 2006 (EST)
Hi Paul, From my knowledge of English geography, it seems that the most popular tourist locations are also (conveniently) spread out to represent all points of the compass. However, according to the stats above, Bristol just pips Bath at the post for position number eight, but as the two cities are so close, I don't think Newcastle should be eliminated as a result. So, personally, I'd lean towards a list based on the most popular destinations, but with additional considerations if two places are close together. Would an 'Other destinations' list based on landmarks as on the UK page be helpful in providing some space. Bath and the two university cities could be added to that, which would allow the addition of Liverpool and Nottingham, plus one other city - Norwich? Anyway, I'm just throwing out some thoughts here. I'm happy to leave the decision in your capable hands. (Ps. the color-coded map on the UK page looks great - a good job) WindHorse 21:44, 18 November 2006 (EST)
The solution you offer is basically along the lines I was thinking, sitcking broadly with the "Other Destinations" from the UK page but moving York into the main cities (since it does have a wider variety of attractions than other cities listed as "Other Destinations"). If we move Bath down to the Other Destinations, though, we should really should have Bristol as a city. If we add Nottingham for the East Midlands that leaves one spot left. Peronally it would seem very weird to me to have a list of the UK's major cities and not have Liverpool, but then we'd have to leave East Anglia blank. The other route is to have an East Anglian ciy rather than Liverpool, but Norwich isn't really that major a tourist destination. The only really major tourist city in the region is Cambridge, but it would be a bit weird having Cambridge but not Oxford. So I'm still not 100% sure.
Thanks for the comment on the map; actually, the main reason I'm keen to get this done is because I have a map of England ready to upload but want to settle on a list of cities first. --Paul. 10:29, 19 November 2006 (EST)
OK. If you want to put York among the list of main cities, and classify Bath and the two Ox-Cam university cities under 'other destinations', then how about the following nine for the main group: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, York, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool and Nottingham - again, this is just an idea. I'll leave the final decision up to you (assuming there are no other strong opinions). Ps. Will the Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales pages also get spruced up with one of your maps? WindHorse 10:42, 19 November 2006 (EST)
That seems fine with me, but I'll leave it for a while before changing to see if anyone has any objections. As for the other maps, I'm putting Scotland in at the moment, and Wales and N. Ireland will be next. I've actually finished an .svg map (Image:UK map.svg) which has data from national to county level, so I'll be gradually putting maps on all country, region and county pages. All I have to do is export the .png files and upload the maps. --Paul. 11:02, 19 November 2006 (EST)
Right, nobody's strenuosuly objected yet so I'll give it another 24 hours and change the cities. I've been thinking about it, though, and I think it may be best to go for Leeds ahead of York, partly because Leeds is a much large city and has more transport connections, making it a somewhat better base for exploring the region, and partly (and this is the bad reason) because I really don't want to have to spend weeks placating the Leeds mob who are convinced there's an anti-Leeds conspiracy. --Paul. 19:19, 28 November 2006 (EST)
Don't give into the Leeds mob! Leeds may be a base for exploring the region, but York is in-and-of itself a major tourist draw. -- Jonboy 19:28, 28 November 2006 (EST)
I agree. York should be the city to represent the north-east as it 7th in the list for visitor numbers. If we give in to the 'who shouts loudest mob', then we will be opening a can of worms. However, I think that the lists should not be cast in stone, and so if in a year or so the top 9 cities in terms of visitor numbers has changed, then the list should be adapted to reflect this. Incidentally, thanks for all your efforts with the maps, Paul. They look great. WindHorse 21:20, 28 November 2006 (EST)
OK then city list changed to London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, York, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool and Nottingham and map uploaded. And now we await the screams of anguish. --Paul. 17:47, 29 November 2006 (EST)
I have no problem with York being there as its a beautiful and interesting city and major tourist destination. But Nottingham? why the hell? its not very big, not very interesting, not especially attractive, high crime rates, the shopping and nightlife are good yes but not compared to Leeds (or Manc, Newcastle, but theyre already on the list). Who ever heard of people going on a break to Nottingham? I'm not in a Leeds 'mob' or anything but it is ridiculous to systematically remove it first from the UK page and now the England page when it is clearly a bigger better and more important destination than many of the cities listed, Nottingham being the worst offender. It's not like the East Midlands region has that much to offer the visitor, esp when compared to Yorkshire - and Yorkshire's draws and size are clearly overlooked on the main UK page so there's no consequental logic why the far smaller and less interesting (and i'm sorry but that is just a fact) should be overlooked on this page. Birmingham is in the Midlands, that should be enough. I've been to Nottingham (several times) and Birmingham, and okay Leeds is smaller than Brum but its more attractive and interesting than either of them. Therefore i am reinstating Leeds on this page where it belongs. The only reason foreign visitors would go to Nottingham is because of the Robin Hood fame or because of th large number of foreign students at the university. Plus the Nottingham site is hardly in-depth or makes the city sound very inviting (i know this is irrelevant to some degree, but its all within the context of the wikitravel site). I have my reservations about Brighton too, but one city at a time I guess, and Nottingham isn't as popular a destination as Brighton. I really doubt these figures too, i can't see nottingham getting more visitors than Leeds, and i know that Leeds overtook York in terms of visitor numbers a couple of years ago and still is ahead of it, so where the above figures came from I don't know as those i've read would radically change them. I will try and find them... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs) 6 December 2006
Failing this, if people still wish to continue Nottingham's ludicrous claim to be one of the nine cities, surely York could be moved to "smaller cities of interest" as it is indeed a small historic city with much in common with the others on the list (Bath, Oxford etc) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs) 6 December 2006
As has been explained many times, the cities that make the main page lists are decided by tourist numbers. And, if you care to look above, you will find Nottingham 12th on the list, just after Liverpool. Think about the situation clearly for a moment: It is impossible to use an individual contributor's assessment of a city's attributes to decide which city to include on the front page, because obviously every one will have different opinions, and in many cases there is often no right or wrong. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, to avoid dispute (though it obviously isn't working}, Paul rightly decided to use actual official visitor figures to draw up the list. I support that, and if you think about the situation from a more objective and rational view point, I think you will too. So, as I said previously, the figures are not cast in stone, and next year there may be a change in the order of cities on the visitor figure list. And if Leeds is in the top nine, there will be no one happier than me. Incidentally, I think you've done a great job on the Leeds article. I have only been to a few of the cities on the list, and Leeds is not one of them. However, next time I make it to the UK, I'll make a point of doing so, and look forward to using your info. It's appreciated. Take it easy. WindHorse 11:31, 6 December 2006 (EST)
If York is moved to the list of smaller cities of interest, then the next place on the list is Coventry. Anyway, let's leave the situation as it until next year when the new figures are released. Cheers. WindHorse 11:34, 6 December 2006 (EST)
Again i'm really not trying to be an arse about it or anything, but doesn't the fact that Coventrey comes next really suggest that these figures are deeply flawed as i would swear on my life and those of everyone i loved that more people visit Leeds than Coventrey, many many times more even. Noone goes on holiday to Coventry, it has one draw (the cathedral) and is otherwise known as a boring, ugly, uninviting city with little to reccommend it. I really don't think these figures can be accurate at all, and i would be shocked if Nottingham received more visitors than Leeds. Even if people dispute this, I'm pretty sure everyone would agree it is impossible that Coventry is more of a destination than Leeds which would bring all the statistics into question. The only way it could be accurate is if it means the "city area" in which Warwick and Stratford upon Avon are included (and people stay in those towns, not in Coventry to visit them) - which would again render it inaccurate as neither town (both of which are major tourist draws, for the castle and shakespeare respectively) are part of or even in the same conurbation as Coventry, and by that definition, York and Harrogate would be part of Leeds (which clearly they are not). Therefore how can these statistics be trusted. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 126.96.36.199 (talk • contribs) 6 December 2006
My final comment on this: It is irrelevant why people go to Nottingham or any other city, the point is that visitors (and that includes Robin Hood fanatics, tourists, sports fans, business people or anyone else visiting a city) need information when they get there, and in the last year, Nottingham came twelfth on the list for visitor numbers. Likewise, if the places you stated (Stratford etc) had been included in the Coventry figures, then obviously those in the Leeds environs such as Harrogate and Bradford (that is nearby isn't it?) would have been included in the Leeds numbers, and so it is a level playing field. I have no evidence that the figures are flawed. Maybe you should write to the government body that issues them and ask for confirmation. Anyway, I hope that you will consider the points raised and come to a reasonable conclusion. Thanks. WindHorse 11:56, 6 December 2006 (EST)
2005 figures (the link on the UK visitors page was only for 2000-2003, showing Leeds above Coventry. I'm also going to email for more information, for example, what defines the city (ie Coventry does it include Stratford) and do u have figures excluding stays, for example, at airport hotels (many visitors to will stay in Manchester simply because they fly in for example, perhaps the same for coventry due to proximity to Bham airport - Leeds is adversley affected cos it has a ridiculously small airport for its size/status). Anyway here is the table for 2005:  and here are 2004 (again Leeds above Coventry, Reading's presence again makes me question the figures)  —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 188.8.131.52 (talk • contribs) 6 December 2006
Does anyone mind if i move York to the smaller cities and add Leeds then? I have some figures to support this (above), also in relation to the Bradford/Harrogate arguement, im pretty sure Bradford will count as a separate city, and neither place will attract anything like the same numbers of visitors as Warwick or Stratford, York will but obv that counts as a separate city - Warwick and Stratford are not Coventry and Harrogate, York, Bradford are not Leeds. Figures shouldn't include places a place is fortunately located near too, but the draws of the individual city. Beyond this, simply because a city has more visitors doesn't make it a better tourist destination. Leeds should be on this list simply because of the huge range of things on offer, it is the UK's third largest city, the most important financial, legal and internet centre outside London, huge retail offer, massive nightlife, bar and restaurant scene (many of which regularly receive major national awards/titles), famous theatres, numerous tourism awards, acclaimed attractions, attractive architecture, parks etc, an advantageous location at the centre of both the railway and motorway/road network of the north of england, closer to more national parks than any other UK city, best located base for exploring the country as a whole as it is central to the UK as well as the north of England. All these are objective facts that put it above and beyond several of the cities included on the list. Thanks for your compliments about my improvements to the Leeds page, and if people still don't agree that Leeds should be on the list i will stop arguing for it, but it really is a travesty that it isn't there - i mean its just such a large, important city, with so much to offer tourists. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 184.108.40.206 (talk • contribs) 11 December 2006
Hello my Leeds friend - all you say about Leeds is no doubt true (I have only visited the south of England, Wales and Scotland, so I have no personal knowledge of the area). However, all this has nothing to do with the point we are making. The guide is not a promotion, but a provider of information for visitors, and therefore the lists of cities and other destinations on the front page are decided by current visitor figures. As I'm sure you'll appreciate, using a particular places' attractions as a deciding factor is too arbitrary. There is no standard value by which to assess these and so disputes will ensue. If you look at the situation objectively, I'm sure that you will agree with that. However, based on the recent figures of hotel bed numbers that Paul recently provided, I think that Leeds does have a case for being listed on the England front page. However, this is not my decision to make, but will be decided by general consensus. Anyway, I will not oppose Leeds being represented on the list of cities for the England page if that is the way the consensus swings. Take it easy WindHorse 22:22, 11 December 2006 (EST)
I am aware of the way the arguement works etc, hence my use of objective facts...and if you see my post above, the tourist figures for the last two full years put it above Coventry meaning that if York were moved to smaller cities of interest (indeed, it is a smaller city than the others on the list - along with Brighton, though Brighton isn't a historical centre in the same way, and York fits in with Bath, Chester etc in terms of what it looks and feels like and offers the visitor), Leeds would be the next city in line to be listed on the page.
Based on the latest figures Paul provided, I am not adverse to moving York into the smaller cities of interest category and adding Leeds in its stead. Brighton, I think, should stay where it is. However, as I have said before, this is not my decision to make and depends on the general consensus. WindHorse 11:45, 14 December 2006 (EST)
The statistics used here include only overseas visitors. Data here ( http://wikitravel.org/en/User:Paul./UK_Tourism_Data ) shows hotel rooms per city. Excluding coastal towns (which clearly are seasonal resorts not major cities), then this surely is a more reliable indicator of popularity with visitors. Hotel beds are the most used form of accommodation, they are used by both overseas and UK visitors, and both leisure and business travellers. Hotel beds are there because there is demand. Can we not use this as a more reliable measure?
I just rolled back the swap of Leeds for York since the issues appears to be under discussion. Sorry if I stepped into the middle of something, but it wasn't a logged in user and there was no summary note and it doesn't seem like there's a consensus. Maj 11:57, 29 December 2006 (EST)
Is there a concensus yet? Btw it wasn't me that swapped Leeds and York as I didn't see the point without general agreement
sorry about the rollback, but...
Hi there, random editor of England. I was sort of bothered by the food edit, but decided to let it go. Then you started messing around with the headers which, sorry, are standard across the site. So I had to roll it back. I hope you can contribute some more useful info, but if you want to change headers you'll have to try to do it on the policy pages. Meanwhile I think the England Eat info is interesting and colorful, and this is a travel guide, so please don't try to dull it down. -- Mark 17:59, 13 May 2006 (EDT)
Err, what's with the slashing?
I went ahead and rolledback all the escaping (?) I'm not sure why that was done but maybe looking at Wikitravel:Wiki markup will help ya. Sorry about this, it looked like that was a lot of work! Majnoona 00:13, 30 May 2006 (EDT)
The slashing was a diversion that made you not notice the amount of vandalism he sprinkled later in the article. Check out the complete diff. We've seen this kind of thing by spammers where they do some kind of systematic but entirely pointless change throughout an article and then add an extlink at the end. -- Colin 01:43, 30 May 2006 (EDT)
I've removed the section of the "major addition" that described the components of the UK government. It's interesting stuff that people should know, but A) it's not about England, and B) it's not really travel-related; my understanding of the relationship between the Lords, MPs, PM, Her Majesty, etc never mattered in my several months' (combined) travel in the UK.
The new section explaining the difference between "English" and "British", etc. is definitely appropriate... but is more appropriately (and concisely) covered in the United Kingdom article.
The super-regions of North/Mid/South are no doubt real in English usage, but since we already had the country divided in a manageable 9 regions, do we really need to spend so much time generalizing about these three super-regions... including how these generalizations are misleading and even wrong? - Todd VerBeek 17:02, 24 July 2006 (EDT)
Sorry for "anonymous" stuff - didn't realise that I needed a separate login from wikipedia (i am "NorthernSole" there). Will get a proper login shortly. Thanks for reviewing my changes, There WAS a lot of stuff - I was interrupted in trimming what I had done myself. Your changes were very sensible, but I have put a little back where I felt your conciseness blurred one or two things. I do think the "constitutional" stuff is important. I have read many blogs where visitors to England either expect the British system to be the same as at home, or have completely ludicrous ideas about how a constitutional monarchy works. Also, the fact that England does not have a parliament (while Scotland, etc do) might well strike many visitors as particularly interesting (a little as if Texas was still a territory, not a state, I guess). So I have put a little back, but tries to be restrained. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs)
(There's currently a glitch with logged-in editing.)
Not only do you (currently) need a different login from Wikipedia for Wikitravel, you need a different mindset when writing. Yes, a lot of people visit England without understand its government, but they also fail to understand its school system, its class structure, its tax code, its healthcare system, the funding model for the BBC, or people from Yorkshire. While it would be lovely if they did, (with the possible exception of the last one) there's really no need for them to. Take a look at United States of America; it has a government that's rather different from all those parliamentary systems out there... but the only space the article devotes to it is a passing mention of the federal/states relationship, and of how the two dominant parties relate to the current sociopolitical divide.
And as you've pointed out, this is not the government of England we're talking about, but of the United Kingdom. Aside from mentioning the interesting fact that two of the other home nations have parliaments of their own but English does not, it should be described (and is) in the article for the United Kingdom. Likewise with the constituency of the UK: England's place within it should be explained, but the historical structure of the kingdom should be described in the parent article. - Todd VerBeek18.104.22.168 08:47, 25 July 2006 (EDT)
I do think the North/Midlands/South stuff is important. Firstly, it breaks the regions up into more manageable sets. Secondly, guidebooks mention the Midlands a lot, but don't seem to understand where they are (I sometimes think that they think "Midlands" means "middle of the UK", not realising that England and Scotland EACH have their own midlands (and Wales has Mid-Wales). Thirdly, the areas ARE distinct (anyone who visied the north of england expecting thatched cottages, or the south expecting mountains would be disappointed) and have different historical experiences which many more "background-aware" visitors would be interested in being made aware of so they can find out more. Fourthly, the areas matter very much indeed to English people, and a sensitive visitor needs to know that. The North/South discussion is a constant one in England. The first words used to try to remind someone of a half-forgotten acqaintance (in the absence of some startling physical feature) could well be "that bloke from down south". Many people only really know their "third". In particular, to try to persuade somone from the South that "The North" might be a pleasant place to spend a holiday would be to invite incredulity. To say to someone from Sheffield or Manchester that they do not live in the North would be good for a lively discussion at least (Manchster sees itself as the capital of the North, though folk from Newcastle might have something to say about that) and (believe it or not) could even lead to trouble - it would be very little different from telling a Scot that he is English because he lives in Britain). I can't claim to be an expert on the US, but I would want to warn a visitor to Virginia not to say that they must be in the North, because Miami is a long way south of there.? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs)
I don't have a problem with identifying the three sections of England – it is useful information, and you'll note that I kept your grouping of the smaller regions – but much of the material you added to "Cities" and the "North/Midlands/South" section seems aimed at arguing with and debunking what somebody else may have said about the Midlands, rather than telling the traveler what he or she needs to know when visiting. Wikitravel isn't a supplement or errata volume for Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Frommer's, Rough Guide, or any other guidebook; our mission is to be a guide of our own. And (the flip side of the coin to the England/United Kingdom issue above), the place to talk about the Midlands and what a lovely place to visit it is, is in the articles for the Midlands regions. - Todd VerBeek126.96.36.199 08:47, 25 July 2006 (EDT)
Still anonymous, I'm afraid ("Northern Sole" here again). Thnaks for being so constructive. I think I have now reduce my stuff a little. More importantly, I have taken on board what you say about being positive rather than knocking other guides. I think it all sounds a bit more "in context" now, rather than a rant ;-) (Mind you, if I read one more blog where someone says "I picked up the car straight off the plane, left london, and skirted the Industrial Midlands (like Dick Sleeves told me to) at top speed on the wonderful M1 which is so much nicer to drive on than those narrow country roads, and managed to reach the York before falling out of the driving seat in a jet-lagged stupor" - I won't be responsible for my actions!). Chris. 18:30 26/7/2006.
Try to focus on the fact that they actually left London. :) - Todd VerBeek 14:11, 26 July 2006 (EDT)
The material you've (re)added still goes off into tangents that are of little value to a typical traveler, and I've removed a lot of it which still seemed argumentative and not particularly useful to the typical travelerl; they don't need to understand the UK government or even the kingdom's history to visit England. Some of what I've just removed belongs in either United Kingdom or in regional articles. Creating a link to The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was especially pointless, as we do not have (nor probably ever will) have an article by that name; see Wikitravel:Article naming conventions. Please keep in mind that we didn't all just roll off the turnip truck last week. We've created articles for every country on the planet and would like this one to fit in with them; attempting major edits and overhauls of it as your first contributions to Wikitravel might not be the most constructive contributions you can make. And in particular, we aren't all completely ignorant of the green and pleasant land in which you live; give us some good-faith credit for that. - Todd VerBeek 22:06, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
On the Birmingham page, there seems to be confusion between taxis ("black cabs", which can be hailed in the street, or used at taxi ranks) and private hire cars (which must be pre-booked). This distinction is national. Is there a standard way to differentiate? Andy Mabbett 07:50, 12 December 2006 (EST)
Confusing and ridiculous
I just stumbled on this Wikitravel entry, and while I am going to invest time in improving it, I wanted to comment how ludicrous this entire article is.
It sounds as though it has been drafted by someone who has never visited England, discussing mere preconceptions that people have of the country.
Take the discussions about the Full English breakfast, for example. It's hardly 'an institution' within England, yet it gets a huge discursive section which ends up turning into an anti-English rant about our supposedly xenophobic towards foreign cuisine.
As for the list of 'key' cities: by what criteria do you form this list? The cities you've listed are certainly 'recognisable', but how can you (for example) include York in the list, but not Cambridge? There is no logic to it. Are you talking about area, population, recognition...? Or is this simply a list of 10 cities that a US student sitting in his bedroom in Utah has come up with from his memory?
This article needs a lot of work - ideally from people who know what they're talking about!
Great. It is always good to have someone ready to invest time in improving articles. I know little about a full English breakfast, but certainly the term 'English Breakfast' is well known and so no doubt the dish does exist in its country of origin and so does require some form of explanation/introduction. The list of nine cities is comprised of places that are deemed of most interest to travelers (be they tourists, businessmen, sports fans or whatever), and has been drawn up based on gov figures for overseas visitors (see discussion below). Due to the worldwide fame of the two universities, Cambridge and Oxford are listed under 'Other destinations'. Hope that is helpful. Also, before you plunge ahead I suggest that you take a look at the following info: Wikitravel:Manual of style. Furthermore, it is advisable to gain a consensus of opinion before any making any radical changes and also to explain your reasons for making others. If you do this, then there is more chance that they will be accepted. Otherwise, you might find that all your hard work is deleted, which I'm sure you don't want to happen. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Cheers. WindHorse 11:49, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Sorting out the cities
While the contentious issue of which cities to include is settled, I think the title for that section should be changed. Currently it reads along the lines of 10 cities 'of greatest interest to travellers' which is just wrong and doesn't reflect everything we have been discussing, which is that those places are listed by visitor numbers.
In support of various other commentators on here, I do think the list of major cities is considerably flawed - and in any event, visitor numbers does not add anything to the article. In a way, you almost need approach this from a less rigid, proven or scientific angle, and just ask English people what they think the 'main' towns and cities in the UK are.
Alternatively, a good thing would be to look at the weather maps broadcast on TV stations in the UK, who display key cities on their maps.
It's not just a question of visitor numbers, but other things: what draws people in, political influence vis a vis other towns and cities, a city's reputation etc...which a purely mathematical approach overlooks.
Furthermore, I am CERTAIN that the statistics you got are flawed - and her is my logic. Think about it. How does anyone know how many people are visiting a town or city? You can't - as people aren't tracked. So, things you might consider include traffic on the regional tourist board's website, parking tickets issued, toll booths on motorways, hotel rooms booked etc. All of which are capable of distortion by local tourist boards all of whom's agenda is to encourage people to visit - and so who will all twist the figures accordingly.
Personally, I would advocate a survey of average 'punters' across the UK, asking them what they consider the 'main' cities/towns to be. No other wording than that - 'main' is a great definition of what to include in the list. My list for the entire UK would be:
These are all the 'major' places in the UK, followed by:
Visitor numbers has nothing to do with it - many millions of people 'visit' London because they happen to fly into London Heathrow Airport, but they may then head elsewhere. Equally, some of these towns don't have airports or major transport links, but that doesn't mean they are less deserving of recognition.
You raise some interesting points, but personally I believe that asking the average British person to name the main cities in the UK is too subjective. Of course, London and Manchester will be agreed by all, but when we get nearer to the final few places in the list, it will be extremely difficult to gain a consensus. We have already spent considerable amounts of time and energy fending off people who have tried zealously to promote their home areas. Furthermore, if, as you state, visitor figures are distorted by local tourist boards, then this will be done by all of regions, and so we have a level playing field. The methods we have adopted are not perfect, I agree, but I think they are acceptable and reasonable, and in fact include a list of places not far different from the one you propose. However, without the use of actual tourist numbers, don't you think that there will be a constant battle about whether Plymouth, Sheffield, Newcastle or Exeter should round of the list of nine places? And, I'm sure that many people will contend that Bristol, Cardiff and Brighton are in fact more worthy candidates than any of those four cities. Also, there is noticeable absence of cities from outside England on your UK list, such as Belfast, Swansea and Aberdeen. (see, we already have a disagreement Ha Ha!). In addition, don't forget, we are creating a guide, not an encyclopedia, so it is not the main towns that we are highlighting, but those that are of most importance to a traveler - and that includes tourists, business people as well as those visiting a town on the way to a (air)port or even attending sport's events and concerts. If people visit a town (regardless of their reasons), they will need information about the place, and it is our goal to provide that information. I understand your point, but I think that without actual hard facts and figures, it is too contentious an issue to be decided on by people's personal feelings alone. I am not personally familiar with most of the English towns listed, but from my research and through comments made by English contributors I don't feel our current list is actually that far off the mark, so I propose leaving at it is for the time being, but to review it in a couple of years. The dynamics of cities shift, and so we will need to make adjustments to reflex this. Anyway, thanks for your input, and apologies for not endorsing your suggestions. However, I hope that you can understand and accept my point. Cheers. WindHorse 23:07, 12 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm at a loss to understand why visitor numbers are irrelevant to a travel guide, why political influence or prominence on TV weather maps is particularly meaningful to travelers, or why a survey of Britons (assuming you were actually referring to one, rather than just making up lists yourself) would be any less prone to civic boosterism than statistics reported by tourist boards. ("Hey lads, which city has the best football club?") I'm by no means the world's greatest expert on the UK, but I lived there for three months and covered as much of England, Wales, and Scotland as I could in another two months, so I can assure you that I am not some student from Utah trying to remember names of cities. - Todd VerBeek 23:43, 12 May 2007 (EDT)
>>Thanks for your feedback. I am English and have lived in England all my life, and while I'm trying my hardest to avoid taking the 'tourist board mentality' that an English person would have in terms of promoting his own country, I still think that the entire focus of this article on England is just plain wrong.
Revisiting the cities argument, WindHorse suggests that 'we are creating a guide, not an encyclopedia', which is an even greater reason for not sticking to visitor numbers and adopting a more subjective approach. Ask ANY English person (or tourist, having visited England) whether 'Nottingham' is a major tourist spot in England and they will say NO. In the absence of a communication as to how the figures are reached, it seems illogical to go against the subjective opinions of visitors and locals when it comes to defining the 'major points of interest' - don't forget, isn't a travel guide the ultimate in subjectivity anyway?
I'm happy for visitor numbers to be included, but we should also have a section on the 'Top 20 towns/cities to visit' as well.
Some argue that distortion of figures by local tourist boards ensures a level playing field on the basis that everyone's doing it, which may be correct in one instance - but you need to realise that not all cities actually have the basic resources to enable that distortion process to be equal in itself. As an example, Cambridge has a very small general aviation airport, whereas Nottingham has a larger commercial airport nearby. Logically, if a tourist board decides to massage the figures and incorporate passenger numbers into their list of visitors, this will hike up Nottingham's popularity over Cambridge's, even though Cambridge is a much bigger tourist draw for the UK than Nottingham is. This is the case even if both tourist boards try and distort.
Equally, size isn't important to tourist value. Bath, for example, is an historic city rich in culture, heritage and history. It draws millions of tourists each year, but its size is nowhere near that of, for example, Leeds. Yet, if you ask 100, 1000 or 1 million British residents which city they think is 'more worthy of being visited by a tourist', they would list Bath.
As indicated previously, I think that we should ask people's subjective opinions with a view to getting enough opinions to create a relatively objective list.
In any event, take a look at http://www.tourismtrade.org.uk/Images/TopTownsMaytoAPril_tcm12-30252.pdf and you will see that in terms of domestic visitors, the top towns listed differ totally to the ones you list. I would argue that the best people to assess whether a town or city is worthy of a visit are the British, who - without prejudice - know more about a town or city than any foreign tourist does.
I don't want to end up in an argument over this - and I'm not the kind of person to sulk and stamp my feet - but really, you need to get more English contributors onto this article as the entire emphasis is just, well...odd. You're promoting towns that have little to commend them (other than people passing through en route to an airport). By this logic, should the guide to New York promote Newark, La Guardia and Queens over places like Manhatten?
Perhaps there's some difference in understanding of what exactly the list of cities is there for. The current phrasing may not express it adequately, but it's intended to dissuade people from putting (for example) Barnstaple in the list because they found it so utterly quaint, or removing Manchester because they'd never go there. The list is not intended to say, "England? Right then: here are the cities to visit." It's mostly there as a shortcut, so someone who knows where he wants to go can get to the article without clicking through North West, Merseyside, Liverpool. Someone who wants more guidance about where to go should do some clicking and explore the articles for the various regions and counties. With that said, we do have leeway to make subjective calls about which shortcuts to include. (The U.S. article somewhat contentiously still includes New Orleans, even though its tourist traffic went down dramatically after the flooding.) If you feel Bath belongs in the list but Nottingham doesn't (or whatever), make a case for it... but I can tell you that it'll get a much better hearing if you can do it without quite so much sniffing condescension. - Todd VerBeek 11:30, 13 May 2007 (EDT)
>>I'm not being condascending, but at the same time I think I've got just cause to be aggrieved over this - I'm 100% English, have lived in England all my life and I'd argue that I've a much better idea of which cities, towns and locations in England are culturally, socially, historically and commercially important than someone who happened to visit England for three months a couple of summers ago! I'm not saying that I'm personally correct, but I'll calling for YOU to support ME in obtaining the views of other English citizens (and feedback from overseas tourists) so that the list of 'key' places is credible.
More importantly, you raise a very important question which is this: what IS the point of the list of cities, or the article in general? This is WikiTRAVEL and so one would suggest it's to provide an accurate guide to the UK for those considering travelling there. As a result, listing the 'most visited' cities is slightly odd unless you were to rationalise that with WHY they are the most visited. Telling a reader that cities A - J are the most visited is implicit to saying that there are the ones worth seeing, which many English people would argue against. Sure, Nottingham (not sure why I keep singling it out!) may have a lot of people visiting the city or passing through en route to the North, but the city itself has very few 'sticky' attractions that draw people in compared to a city like Bath. Within the UK, for example, Nottingham has the highest gun crime and many view it as just a pretty boring city in the midlands.
To take this article forward constructively, I've emailed VisitEngland.com and the Office for National Statistics to ask for a breakdown of how they arrive at their tourism figures. The guidance on their websites suggest that factors include airport passengers, surveys of hoteliers (requesting details of numbers of rooms booked) and also the town's 'income' from visitors. As I hope you will agree, all three factors are capable of inaccuracies.
In the meantime, I would campaign for a 2nd list of 'Good places to visit in England' (or something like that) which is more subjective. If you view http://www.enjoyengland.com/ideas/city-breaks/your-favourites.aspx you will see that the list of ten best places to visit is vastly different from the top ten most-visited cities in the Wiki list for England.
What I would also argue for is an amalgamated list which takes into account the following:
Number of visitors
How 'important' the city/town is, as perceived by English citizens
How 'important' the city/town is, as perceived by overseas visitors
How much the city has to offer tourists
As you can tell, I don't use Wikipedia very often (so do forgive my formatting errors) but I had to contribute to this thread because I'm appalled that my country is being promoted to overseas visitors in such a ridiculous manner. I've written to VisitEngland to ask them to contribute to this debate too, because England is much more than this article suggests. We're not all English breakfast-eating, tea-drinking people who say 'cheers' you know... 188.8.131.52BB
(Yeah, somewhere around my 4th or 5th week in England, I finally figured that out. I mean, nobody sounded at all like Dick VanDyke!)
Dude, you're taking this way too personally. In fact, the article already goes out of its way to dispell various myths about England and the English. I do have a sense of where you're coming from: I think it's silly that tourists come to the city of Holland (in the American Midwest) to see a Dutch windmill, tulips, and wooden shoes, but they do... because the local tourism industry encourages them to. I try not be embarrassed by it. If you expect English tourism professionals to storm in here with the truth about England, you may be disappointed; they have a vested interest in promoting some of the same tourism-friendly stereotypes that you find so ridiculous. - Todd VerBeek 00:03, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
>>>And just to try and elucidate my point a bit clearly, let's take a parallel example and look at the list of top 10 cities in the USA, according to the US Dept of Commerce:
1. New York, 2. Los Angeles, 3.Miami, 4.Orlando, 5. San Francisco, 6 Honalulu, 7. Las Vegas, 8. Metro DC Area, 9. Chicago, 10. Boston
Clearly, there are some major tourist points here which *any* visitor to the US should see. But places like Miami and Orlando are tourist hotspots for very particular reasons (Disneyworld, for one), and as you can see, geographically-close locations appear in the list (San Fran/LA), (Miami/Orlando). Are these really the top ten places you would suggest for me to visit, if I came to the US and could only see 10 cities maximum? What about Seattle? Austin? Nashville? New Orleans? San Diego? Oklahoma? The Grand Canyon? Cape Cod? Or - and here's the clincher - Washington?! These are key places of importance within the US (even the capital, for heaven's sake!) and they're not on this list. Which is why I believe it's an example why you should place lists of most visited cities on the wikiguide without explaining why, or calibrating them somehow. 184.108.40.206 19:49, 13 May 2007 (EDT)BB
Actually, I'm American, and the list you just mentioned above isn't far off from a good list, if it has to be narrowed down to 10 (9 in the case of WT). #8 is referring to the capital, fyi. New Orleans, as mentioned above, received a little bit of flooding last year, so it's not quite back up to speed. Grand Canyon would go under "Other destinations" on the main page, so it's not relevant to the cities list. I'd swap out Honolulu for Seattle (oh wait, already did that on our article). Austin, Nashville and San Diego are cool places, but in a list of 9 or 10, wouldn't (and didn't) quite make the cut. Oklahoma is a state, and if we had a section for places NOT to go, I'd list it there, towards the top.
What I'd like to point out to you is that we have a full guide for England, the US, etc... but we can't put it ALL ON ONE PAGE! We've got multiple pages for each country, often with region articles, etc. If we didn't limit the front page to an easily digestible list of a few suggestions, then where would it end? Every little town in every little country would end up on the main country page. People are expected to view the region / district articles too, not just the main page. If we can get India and China down to a somewhat agreeable list of 9 cities and 9 other destinations, why is this so difficult for England? No one is shitting on any city or destination that doesn't make it on to the main article. We just simply can't list them all and still maintain a digestible and readable guide. We're working towards a list that is agreeable to most contributors, keeping the traveler in mind, not a list handed down by a tourist dept website, etc. And not handed down, necessarily, by residents of the country. I live in LA, and I can assure you the places that tourists go when they visit here and the places that I love and cherish rarely are the same. I think the same is true of most countries. I put as much value into Todd's opinion about where to visit as I would yours, since Todd's been there as a traveler, and can talk to us from that perspective. – cacahuatetalk 21:58, 13 May 2007 (EDT)
I've done a dismal job of developing the Wikitravel article for the city where I live, because - quite frankly - I have a hard time imagining what anyone from out of town would want do here. Sure, I know about places an out-of-towner would never find on his own, but I wouldn't presume to know what they want to see.
And for the record: Los Angeles and San Francisco are about as "geographically close" as Niagara Falls and Washington. (Or for an example closer to home: as London and Edinburgh.) Miami and Orlando are also hours of driving from each other. By contrast, suggesting San Diego when LA is already on the list overlooks the fact that they are close neighbors. And Cape Cod is right across the bay from Boston (on the list). If your point with this exercise was to demonstrate how little a foreigner knows about a given country, I'll grant that can be true. But there are Brits I know who'd be excellent guides to the States. - Todd VerBeek 00:03, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
Leeds would be my 10th city for England, but it is our policy to keep the number down to 5–9. I'd even agree that Leeds is a "bigger destination" than Nottingham, but we intend this section to be a representative sample of English cities. That is determined by other factors, in addition to our judgment of the relative travel importance of each destination. In this case, the clinching factor is that we strive for regional representation, as noted before several times on this page by Windhorse. Leeds is in Yorkshire, and editors have judged York to be a more important regional destination than Leeds, while Nottingham is the undisputed main destination of the East Midlands.
These multiple goals are an example of why I think that we should avoid the temptation to refer to statistics as a sort of authoritative "source" in decision-making—as a social scientist, I cannot condone such practice ;) I think we can generally come to a sophisticated (near) consensus through rational discussion.
On another note, I believe it is against our policy to have a separate list of "smaller cities of interest"—the "other destination" section is for non-settlement destinations, not for interesting towns. These destinations should be listed somewhere else as this is a clear cut slippery slope. Some itineraries for England would be nice... --PeterfitzgeraldTalk 01:01, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
>>"[I]....hope our anonymous English friend will understand that debating which cities get listed in the country article is a potentially enormous and interminable waste of time—on this particular sort of issue, it is usually best to defer to the status quo."
Isn't this a rather weak argument which runs counter to everything that any Wiki project is about: working on an article and refining it until it's as near to perfect as possible? Why should we defer to the status quo, without considering how the status quo is reached? If we adopt this stance, then we may as well not bother challenging any irregularity in an article!
He was referring specifically to the cities list, which tends to be one of the least important features of a country article, and ironically tends to get the most attention. Like university politics, it gets vicious and bitter because the stakes are so low. - Todd VerBeek 09:06, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm aware that I'm fighting a losing battle, but fight it nevertheless I shall - could someone clarify WHAT the purpose of that list of 9 cities is?
Probably not, because it tries to fill a variety of roles and - like just about anything else in a wiki - ends up requiring arbitrary compromises that leave no one completely satisfied. - Todd VerBeek 09:06, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
- If, as a traveller, you want to know the most popular cities in England then fine, but list it as such (and, on an entirely different note, 9 sounds a bit odd - can't we at least make it an even number, otherwise it does sound even more arbitrarily discriminative against those who don't make it on the list?).
- If it's to provide a list of interesting places to visit in England then it's illogical, since 'interesting places to visit' is entirely subjective and pure visitor numbers doesn't determine the experience you'll have when you get there.
- If it's to argue that 'because many people have gone there before it means it's a good indication that there is something worth seeing there' then I would add caution and would defer our decision-making until I hear back as to how those visitor figures were reached.
- If it's in terms of size, then the list is plain wrong: not only are some of the cities on the excluded list bigger than some on it, but the size of a city doesn't reflect its importance, as you know. Cambridge and Oxford are outstanding places for tourists to visit, and have quite an important historic role in our country, but the cities themselves are tiny.
- If it's to try and highlight key cities covering all regions across the whole of the UK, then I would argue this is a futile aim: cities of interest tend to group together (particularly in the North, South-East and South-West) and so fitting your 'key' cities across all the territory ignores the key fact that a country's population is now equally spread.
I guess all I'm trying to argue is that no matter which list you use, the inclusion or exclusion of various cities will be entirely arbitrary, unless we can nail down what our objective is with this article.
What would be better, I feel, is to list 'key cities and towns' under each region of the UK, to resolve this argument. So, for example, in the South-East, you would have London, Canterbury, Brighton, Cambridge, Oxford etc. In the South-West you would have Plymouth, Exeter etc.
That's a great idea. Which is why we do precisely that in the eight region articles. - Todd VerBeek 09:06, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
Todd suggests that as a native I perhaps lack the foresight to suggest places that a foreign tourist 'wants' to see - but again, this sort of attitude appears contrary to the purpose of this article. WikiTravel's job isn't to mould itself to what people already want to see, but to provide equal guidance across the UK (and all countries, regions etc) and to provide suggestions of where to go, what to see and what to do in different regions should people take an interest. If we wrote this article based upon what most tourists wanted to see before they arrived in the UK then we'd devote 90% of our time to developing information about Buckingham Palace, Oxford/Cambridge, Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing Street, because those are things that people COME to England to see (all of which are very good tourist sites, incidentally, but that's another discussion). If we dismiss local opinion and knowledge then all WikiArticles would be written based on perception, which would provide an incorrect guide for tourists.
I never suggested that the local viewpoint be excluded, only that it was not absolutely authoritative. Our job is to balance giving the traveler what they know they want and providing guidance to those who don't.
Finally; does the article REALLY go any way to dispelling myths about the English? I would argue NO. If the article has been written by people who genuinely know what England is like, then can you explain why all there is to do in England, at least at present, is 'walk and play golf'? Is there nothing more to our culture? Or the emphasis placed on 'the full English', which is as much of a tradition in European Britain as hanging witches is in New York? The article reads like it was written about the sort of England that features in the Austin Powers films:
"As part of the UK, England is directly governed by the UK government, unlike Scotland and Wales which have recently established their own parliaments/assemblies with local law-making and tax-setting powers." WRONG! Scotland and Wales are both directly governed by the UK government, in addition to having devolved power over certain regional issues.
"Flooding and the opposite, droughts, are the usual problems" - Are they? Floods and droughts in the UK are trivial compared with what happens in other countries and perhaps once in a hundred years do we actually have a problem because of them!
"English people famously have a passion for debating the weather: actually this is usually just an opening gambit to start a conversation with a stranger (see elsewhere in this article). Most discussions that do involve weather usually includes criticisms of it - including (though perhaps not at the same time) both that it's "too cold" and it's "too hot". Well-known conversational gambits (with due acknowledgement to Peter Kay) : "It's too cold for snow"; "It's that fine rain that soaks you through". - OF COURSE! How silly of me - doesn't every Briton discuss the weather in this way? Perhaps the fact that Peter Kay, a popular comedian, uses this in his material indicates that it's more of a jokey stereotype than fact?
"A number of 'umbrella' organisations are devoted to the preservation and public access of both natural and cultural heritage. Membership with them, even on a temporary basis, means priority free access to their properties thereafter - travellers to England seeking to see a large number of sights would do well to join one or more of them" - REALLY? I wouldn't advise anyone visiting the UK, unless it was for a very long time, to join someone like the national trust, because it's not worth it!
"(English opinion is currently divided as to whether the most popular dish is lasagna or chicken tikka masala, with the latter probably edging out the competition...)" WRONG! English popular opinion might suggest that Chicken Tikka is our national dish, but where did you get the lasagne from...? Not from speaking to any English citizens, that's for sure!
"There are still low-quality establishments or mediocre chain restaurants for people who do not care for good food (or for spending good money on it)" - What gives Wikipedians the right to judge people on the type of food they eat?
"The English themselves have learned to appreciate good food by visiting countries all over the world and have come home expecting pubs and restaurants to justify their prices by providing interesting and well-presented meals." = WHY THANK YOU VERY MUCH for patronising us in such a way! I am pleased that we have learned to appreciate good food. There was I, wandering around, thinking that the height of culinary perfection was Taco Bell. And then, out of nowhere, we have been enlightened! How patronising!
"But in truth many English people really DO consider that the full English is the proper breakfast, even if they no longer have the time to cook it for themselves every working day." - Quite simply, WRONG, unless you're referring to Britain in 1950. We have been influenced by our continental neighbours in this regard and the 'full english' is really perceived by the British to be nothing more than a suitable breakfast to eat when hungover. The rest of the time, we opt for cereal, toast, fruit, croissant etc.
"People who start work very early but who later on get a chance to eat the first meal of the day in a "caff" will nearly always choose the all-day breakfast" - Oh, is that so?
"And when on holiday, with enough time to have breakfast every day, some English are "a bit put out" if they find that the breakfast included in their "B&B" hotel rate is not the Full English: even if they are in Spain!" - Again, do you want to stereotype us based upon your (incorrect) tourist perception, or do you want to give readers the truth?
"Some [pubs] have even become more like restaurants, with a bar area for people waiting to be seated: these types can be less than welcoming to people who just want a drink - Again, not true. Has someone just had one bad experience?
"they often fill a restaurant with a coffee aroma, but a mediocre restaurant will often leave the made coffee heating for too long." - is it possible to generalise like this?
"Studying at a university in England and Wales will cost around £3,000 per year; in Scotland universities do not charge tutition fees." - quite possibly the most inaccurace, generalising statement made yet.
"In any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can)" - why from a landline? What has this got to do with anything?
"A few useful words which may help you understand the English (particularly in the Midlands): Ta = Thank you, Ta ra/ Ta ta = Goodbye, Summat/ Summit/ Summink = Something, Nowt = Nothing, Owt = Anything, Dunna/ Dunno = Don't know, Canna/ Cannit = Can not/ Cannot" - Oh, good lord...
"When you find yourself in a restaurant or being invited to someone's home for a meal there is a range of customs and manners to watch out for. These include not eating with fingers or off of other's plates, not talking with your mouth full, asking others to pass condiments instead of reaching over the table, and always waiting your turn and thanking the host, bill payer or waiter. It is seen as a polite compliment to the chef/host to try to finish your meal, although it is not necessary." - Geessh! What kind of neanderthal are you trying to aim this article at? This is all just plain wrong!
Sorry to be *arsey* but I'd be interested (outside of Wiki) in drafting TWO articles for England - one by English people and one by people from other countries. The England article is so sparse in any event, but it's also constructed on hearsay and fleeting opinion from a few visitors. And, it is just wrong. What is the best way for me to make changes or at least propose changes without aggrieving other people who are *certain* that they are correct...? >> BB.
Perhaps you could try assuming good faith. Are there broad generalizations in this article? Of course; it requires them. Which is why you'll find qualifiers such as "many" and "some" sprinkled liberally throughout; note that they do not mean "all" or even "most". Are some of these generalizations inaccurate? Quite likely, but they were attempts by someone who believed they were correct and useful, to help their fellow travelers. Is the paragraph about the English Breakfast a bit long? Yeah, it could use an edit. Are there comments that should just be tossed? Yeah, every popular wiki article needs some well-intended bits of rubbish cleaned out from time to time. But there's a good deal of useful information in this article, and declaring the whole thing "wrong", is simply insulting to the dozens of people who have worked on it. (Some of them were probably even English, and apparently therefore not idiots bent on making the country look bad). Even if God Himself agrees with you, a modicum of tact would go a long way in explaining what the problems are. Going into an combative tirade over every perceived affront to your national self-esteem, isn't going to get this anywhere. - Todd VerBeek 08:34, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
No, you are not being *arsey*. In fact, you have raised some good points, which are worth exploring. From the way I see it, the list of nine cities is to supply info based on majority usage. It is not a promotion. So, if, for example, millions of people are interested to see industrial landscapes in a run down town, it is not for me or Wikitravel contributors to deny them easy access to that information just because we may not agree with their choice. If the hard facts state that more people prefer to visit, say, Nottingham than Exeter, then information for Nottingham should be given priority because more people will be searching for it. It is about offering convenience for popular articles. That's all. Does this make sense? Also, don't think that the majority of the information has been written by non-English contributors. Actually, I think perhaps the majority has, in fact, been written by British people, and as Todd says above, written in good faith, even if not always accurate. However, if you disagree with certain claims, the best way to proceed is to plunge forward, but always explain (at least in the summary box) the reasons behind your changes, and if people don't agree, try to gain a consensus through reason and discussion. Also, as is mentioned above, try to bear in mind that the info that you are editing has been painstakingly added by others in the belief that it is beneficial. In any respect, try to avoid edit wars, and try to respect the effort of others. As for the reason why lists consist of 9 rather than 10 places, it is something to do with lists between 7 and 9 being easier to focus on (there is an explanation on one of the Wikitravel:Help pages, but I can never find it when I need it...) Finally, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the regular contributors. Also, I recommend that you take time to read through some of these guidelines (Wikitravel:Manual of style) as they may save you time and effort later. Take it easy. WindHorse 08:47, 14 May 2007 (EDT)
I've saved the link regarding the 5–9 rule on my desktop since debating what cities "deserve" front page listings is so alluring—I delved into this time-waster myself not too long ago ;) Since it looks like no one caught my link the first time around... ahem:
It seems no-one has any objections, so therefore if there are still none I shall plunge forward and make the changes later this week should no one object for some reason. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs)
I thought you were waiting for someone to agree. :) I'm not really comfortable with letting some other guide decide what cities we're going to list, especially if it's going to change whenever their surveys do. - Todd VerBeek 17:32, 22 May 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, definitely wait and see if more people agree with that list. For the record, it is the official tourism site for England... but not sure if that makes a difference to anyone. And it also lists 10 cities, so if we went that route we'd need to omit one – cacahuatetalk 20:16, 22 May 2007 (EDT)
I don't think that list is made with the same goals in mind as our cities section on country pages: we are aiming not for "the best of England," but rather a representative sample. But now that I've said that, this reminds me of something that has been bothering me. All travel guides I know of have a sort of "Don't Miss" or "Highlights" section that lets a visitor know what are the top places to visit, be they cities, small towns, picnicking hills ;), or otherwise. Shouldn't we have something like that? In addition to a representative sample of cities? I know the first thing I looked at when thinking about my recent Guanacaste vacation was precisely this sort of section (right at the front of my travel guide) that let me know right off the bat that I should hit the beach, check out the fauna in Palo Verde, and play around in Rincón de la Vieja's canyon. --PeterfitzgeraldTalk 20:24, 22 May 2007 (EDT)
Ideally, the opening paragraph of the article (or perhaps the Understand section) should tell you what the "don't miss" attractions are. - Todd VerBeek 21:26, 22 May 2007 (EDT)
Seems like an endless debate on the cities! I undid a replacement of Brighton by Leeds because there is clearly no consensus here that I can see on the Leeds/no Leeds issue. But, I do think the list needs some tinkering. I suggest that London, Liverpool, Manchester and York stay for sure because everyone knows those cities. Brighton, arguably one of the more famous beach towns of the world, should stay as well. From amongst Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, I would pick Leeds over Bristol for sure, Birmingham possibly, and Nottingham perhaps. Leeds is a large city with lots of interesting things to do compared to, say Nottingham, which may be more famous but has much less to see and do. Personally, I'm easy with any list, but do empathize with the concerns of the Leeds guys who can't even get their city into England, let alone the UK.--Wandering 14:17, 2 November 2007 (EDT)
Alternatives to endlessly debating the cities list
Frankly, I doubt we'll agree on any further changes to the England city list because England has 9 regions, and geographic representation is a big factor in determining what gets on the list. Brighton represents the Southeast, Nottingham the East Midlands. Leeds happens to be very close to York, which is IMHO (and the HO of many other contributors to this discussion) a more prominent destination in Yorkshire.
As it is possible to spend a lot of unproductive energy on changing city lists, despite their relatively basic function as an index, it may be more useful to try and give places like Leeds links in the "See" and "Understand" sections. Both are surprisingly uninformative and boring at present for such a well built up country guide.
"See," ideally, should include country-touring itineraries, which could easily direct travelers to Leeds and other destinations not linked at the top of the article. It can also include more general information, like categories of sights and their best representatives, which can also direct to subregions and cities not linked at the top.
"Understand" has only information about the weather. While I realize this is a popular conversation topic in England, surely there is more to the nation of interest to a traveler? This is another good section to link to sub-destinations, insofar as they are relevant to the topics discussed.
Although not a country article, the Chicago guide might be a good example of how to do this, as we have extensively linked and directed readers to sub-articles that are of interest from nearly all sections (see, eat, drink, do, understand, etc.).
So, in short, there are much better ways to direct readers to the Leeds article here than endless quibbling over the cities index—ways that would ultimately be much more satisfying, since they involve improving and adding useful travel writing, rather than just cavils over current content. --PeterTalk 15:54, 2 November 2007 (EDT)
Given the amount of emotion thrown into this debate, perhaps the Solomonic thing to do is to remove the 'cities' section in its entirety. Someone will always feel that their important city has been left out - and who's to say it hasn't!--Wandering 16:19, 2 November 2007 (EDT)
Adding Leeds to the England City List
Firsty, it needs to be pointed out that, reading thru this whole discussion, there has *never* been any consensus to disclude Leeds from the list and include smaller cities such as nottingham and brighton. All that has happened is that just two people have consitently not wanted Leeds to be on the list, despite far more people proposing that leeds *should* be on the list. To me this doesnt seem like a consensus.
Secondly, and more importantly, those two people have argued that Leeds shouldnt be on the list because it has less visitor numbers. The data they have used is over 5 years old, and is patchy to say the least, and is only based on overseas visitors (which is a very very tiny proportion of tourists). Using the most up to date data on visitor numbers from the government's 2006 ONS on overseas visitors, and using 2007 data from the governments National Tourism Agency, Leeds has more visitor numbers than Newcastle, Brighton, York and Nottingham.
Now I was initially going to gather a consensus before making an ammendment, however there are 2 points why I am going to "plunge forward". Firstly, there hasnt been a consensus at all for the previous list ( 2 people agreeing, against 8 disagreeing ). Secondly, even if we suppose/pretend that those 2 people constituted a consensus, then effectively I am not trying for a new consensus or new methodology on what cities to include, I am simply making the previous consensus hold true by making the list consistent with up to date and accurate visitor numbers, ie I am correcting the anomoly.
I have made the effort to explain why I am making this change. If anyone else wants to revert it back please provide a proper reason rather than "we just want to keep it as it is" that is not a good enough reason, especially when many many more people are *for* Leeds being included than against.
I am removing Nottingham, which has the least number of visitors by a very big margin (less than a quarter of Leeds), and it is also one of the smallest cities.
Hi Dan. Given the fervence of your pitch for Leeds, I think the entry you've added doesn't describe much that's distinctive about Leeds to entice the traveller or paint a picture of why it's special. It's pretty much identical to the Manchester and Birmingham ones - ie a list saying there's shopping, nightclubs, yada yada yada. I can't really see people reading it and thinking "ooh they have restaurants too, let's go!" ;-) The "gateway to the Yorkshire Dales" is both a bit misleading (it's Skipton which calls itself that) and partially off-putting - I know some travellers who actively distain anywhere which calls itself "the gateway to" because it means it doesn't stand on its own merits and is often a dump. Now, I could plunge forward and make the changes that I think would improve it, and I normally would, but in this case I thought it may be more polite to see if you agreed and wanted to make changes yourself - in a way this could be the opportunity to sell us on why Leeds is distinctive enough to be on that list. For example, I live near Nottingham, I think its merits are fairly modest like those of Leeds, but if pressed I'd describe it as being famous as the setting for the medieval sparring between the Sherriff of Nottingham and the outlaw Robin Hood, a city still with some history but now much more of a modern regional hub city for the East Midlands region. You probably know Leeds better than I do - how would you sell it? Andyfarrell 03:55, 4 November 2007 (EST)
Hi again on a different point. If you're changing a cities list which has an associated map showing where those places are in the country, it would be nice if you are able to update the map. Otherwise you have introduced an inconsistency to the article. Andyfarrell 04:06, 4 November 2007 (EST)
Please do not change established cities lists without first discussing on talk pages and building a consensus for the proposed changes. Also please read the existing discussion more carefully. As has been explained again and again, visitor counts are not the sole determinant of which cities are listed in the cities index. A desire for geographic representation is a key determinant as well. I am beginning to sound like a broken record on this page, but Leeds is in Yorkshire, which is already represented by York. Nottingham is the obvious choice to represent the East Midlands. IMHO there is a much stronger case for listing Leeds on the UK page than the England page due to the goal of representing the 9 English regions here.
Finally, this issue has wasted a good deal of contributors' time and not a small amount of good will. Anyone proposing changes to the England cities list should have new arguments, should very carefully read over this entire thread, and then seriously consider whether this is a good use of their time before debating this further. Writing a "One month in England" type of itinerary would be an incomprably better way to highlight English attractions such as Leeds. --PeterTalk 05:04, 4 November 2007 (EST)
So let me get this straight, again, the same two people have jumped in to disagree, changing the goal posts constantly. You say a consensus needs to be reached before making changes, yet a consensus for the original list has never been made. Throughout this whole discussion, much more people have always cited Leeds should be in the list, apart from two people. Can someone explain how this is a consensus? It seems the England wiki page should not be open to users because it appears that the only two people who are allowd to have any authority here is paul and andy.. do they own this page? Because they appear to.
First its claimed Leeds shouldnt be on because of visitor numbers. When it is found Leeds has many more visitors than newcastle, york, bright, and nottingham, the ball posts are changed again - Not by consensus, but by the two people who never had a consensus in the first place. You cant expect people to want to make an effort to contribute to this page if it is "owned" by two people. I had lots of plans for making additions to all sections of this page to enhance it, but what is the point when the reality is this page isnt free for all, its owned by two people, which is completely against the wikitravel ethos.
Now that you have changed the ball posts again, you say that there should be representation of regions. Then why is brighton on the list? Which again, has less touritss then leeds. The region, is already represented by London.
If you had a consensus already, you would have authority on this issue, but the reality us there has never been any consensus, just the choice of you two, despite far far more people objecting. The fact that this whole page is pretty much dedicated to everyone and sundry objecting to the strangleghold of two people pretty much shows something isnt right here.
People loose faith in contributing to these sorts of pages, when they become strangleheld by a small clique ( 2 people).
Sorry that you feel that way. I don't think I'm in a clique - I don't know the other chap, I am just someone who keeps adding bits to various British Isles pages and piped up with my opinion when you called for people to do just that. I didn't stop your edits - when you made an edit, I gave suggestions how I thought it may be better, and asked what you thought. I didn't even make those changes I was suggesting, defering to you in order to try and be sensitive to your opinions. So I think you're being a little unfair getting stroppy with me when I simply, calmly and politely, take a different view to you. I also think that a problem with wikis is that people can get too swept up by how one of their edits goes down - if the only thing they are doing on that wiki is taking a stand on one issue you are investing emotional energy into it. If someone is contributing more widely they quickly get some perspective by seeing most of their efforts welcomed. On the subject of ownership of an article, you're right, I shouldn't (and don't!) own the England article - but by the same token neither should you, hence you shouldn't get upset if you don't get your own way on a particular edit. Now, if you want my advice, go ahead and make the improvements you mentioned and I think people will start to see you as a contributor and they'll give more weight to what you say. That is what I am finding has happened to me, and I now think Wikitravel is a very positive place to contribute, certainly much more free of the edit wars than Wikipedia is. I look forward to seeing your edits and I'll assist wherever I can. Andyfarrell 12:37, 4 November 2007 (EST)
Your "same two people" "clique" comments are both insulting and very clearly false. The original 9 cities drafting was done principally (from my reading of the page) by User:Jonboy, User:Paul., and User:Windhorse. I jumped in this thread years later, thank you very much. I do not "change ballposts," I merely support the current policies and general practices that regulate region article content organization on this site. These policies have evolved over time and enjoy considerable support from regular editors. Nor do I or anyone else wield a "stranglehold" over the England page. I'm just trying to rationally explain my side of this debate, and I disagree with your arguments. I would encourage you to remember the cardinal rule of wiki: assume good faith. Finally, the number of people on either side of a debate does not weigh on consensus—majority rule voting does not decide issues related to article content on this site, as it depresses good faith discussion and rational consensus-building.
Brighton is both a major destination and the representative of the South East (England) region. That's why it's on this list.
Lastly there is a strong status-quo bias on the cities lists throughout this site. Consensus is not needed to keep the existing list, it is needed to change the existing list. There is a reason for this: cities lists are unimportant—they are just a quick tool for content navigation—and it is an unproductive use of editors' time to subject them to eternal and constant review. Policies designed to make them very difficult to change are deliberately discouraging. It is desirous that people "lose faith" in changing them, because the cities lists debates drain resources for the site. If this policy makes you less inclined to contribute, I'm sorry for that, and to be sure the site will miss your local knowledge of Leeds. But the general practice makes sense, works pretty well across the thousands of region articles to which it is applied without exception, and saves a lot of time for more productive pursuits. --PeterTalk 20:44, 4 November 2007 (EST)
Hi paul, thanks for replying. You seem to miss the point that the original list was not formed by consensus, but rather two people deciding, and sticking to their guns despite the overwhlming majority disagreeing and actually no one else except jonboy agreeing. This is not a consensus. The only argument (and strong argument) put forward was that leeds didnt have the same visitor numbers as some of the other cities. However, this patchy and old data has been superseeded by offical 2007 and 2006 gov data showing that Leeds is more of tourist destination then nottingham, brighton, newcastle and york. Therefore this addresses the concerns of the minority two who objected to Leeds being on the list.
If the original list had been brought about by consensus, than I feel a new consensus would be needed to change it, because it would have authority. But this doesnt exist. The closest thing to a consensus by a long margin on this whole discussion thread is for the inclusion of leeds, not the ommission of leeds, and the key argument against the inclusion of Leeds has been addressed with new tourist numbers data. The other argument was regional representation. However there is a glarring miss-match. It is supposed to be London & the South East, the South West, the Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber, The North West, and The North East. - If you want to add an additional layer of hierachy and include East Midlands, then you cannot use the same excuse to disallow York & Leeds as they are seperate countys in the same way as the west midlands, and the east midlands, (and officially both have more visitors than nottingham or brighton by a longshot). Also, Liverpool & Manchester appear as two cities in the same region, and so does London and Brighton. This means the whole regional representation idea is meaningless. And so what really needs to be looked at is the merit of wheather to omit Nottingham or Brighton. Both receive far less tourists than Leeds, be it overseas or uk visitors. I would say to remove brighton as it is already considered to be London-on-sea, and so ideally would have reperesentation within the London page anyway. Any opinions on wheather it should be brighton, or nottingham --Daniel robinson 21:46, 4 November 2007 (EST)
The only real objection to including leeds doesnt appear to be actual reasons now, but rather that a concensus should be made (despite one never created in the first place). Lets be honest here, if Leeds is put on the list, no one is actually going to complain, and this whole long discussion from a multitude of people would come to an end. If adding Leeds would change the status quo and cause a backlash of many people unhappy with brighton or nottingham being removed than fair enough, but lets be honest here, this isnt going to happen, and hasnt happened.
--Daniel robinson 21:46, 4 November 2007 (EST)
I believe you have misunderstood Wikitravel's regions breakdown for England. The geographic representation goal is to have each top-level region of England represented. These regions are the nine listed at England#Regions. The only region unrepresented in the cities list is East Anglia, but we have sort of gotten around that by mentioning Cambridge via its university in England#Other destinations.
Again, consensus is not needed to preserve a status quo, it is a process required before making a change when there is disagreement. This does create a strong status-quo bias. I disagree rather strongly with some status quo positions on this site, but was unable to produce a consensus for change. In one case, the "majority" probably agreed with me, but there were valid arguments on both sides and those in favor of the status quo were not convinced by mine, so I moved on to other projects. This isn't a purely arbitrary practice, as it discourages edit warring and alters incentives to encourage productive work, not endless cavils about existing work.
In any rate, it's my hunch that Leeds will get on the UK page—I haven't seen any strong arguments against yet, and the regional representation for the UK only requires that the four home nations be represented, which they already are. So it seems odd that people would care that much that it remain unlisted here.
I object in the strongest terms to overriding our general content organization practices purely to mollify subjective concerns as that would set a bad precedent and undermine the rules that try to keep Wikitravel well-organized and standardized. If we ignore policy here, editors would rightly ask why we do it on behalf of Leeds fans and not on behalf of any others on the long list of parties pushing various points of view. --PeterTalk 22:09, 4 November 2007 (EST)
I'd just like to ask why it is important that every region on the map has a city to represent it? Both in terms of what is on offer, number of major cities and number of visitors Yorkshire far far outstrips the East Midlands region. Leeds has far more tourists and offers far more to the visitor than Nottingham, which to be honest is basically like a smaller, less interesting version of Leeds - Nottingham shouldn't be included in the list just because people don't want to change the nicely colour coded map.