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on 16 August 2016
A very clever guide to the interesting things rather than the dreadful offerings of theme parks.
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on 15 November 2009
This particular copy was bought as a gift for a friend. Ours was purchased some two years ago - it was literally life changing. We realised that for some time it was a case of "we must go there" or "we must do that". Not being lovers of commercialised venues such as Alton Towers this was right up our street. The book is written in an extremely light hearted way, but struck a cord with us. Since the purchase of this book we now have a "bollocks" weekend each month - with a specially opened "bollocks" bank account to fund it - (a bollocks weekend bag etc.. you get the picture). The objective is to have a weekend away, as cheaply as possible (Travel lodge special offers)and to see out of the ordinary places - we are working our way through this book - and the second "more bollocks .....".
Cuckoo Land - is an amazing place - over five hundred clocks, loving looked after by two brothers. Pit Rivers museum - I'm not into museums, it's my other half's thing - but it was an amazing- place - I actually enjoyed it! Bletchley Park - fascinating - could have spent more than the 5 hours we did - will go back. Did this the same weekend as the Tree Cathedral. I could go on - part of the fun is to plan our weekends and where we can go - the first port of call is the "Bollocks Book" - If you are stuck in a rut and want to get out and see what is on our doorsteps - this book is a real investment!! You won't be disappointed!
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on 28 August 2016
The word to describe this book is in the title. A poor man's Bill Bryson and that's to be kind. There's nothing worse than people who are not funny trying to be funny. After 2 chapters I couldn't take any more of this puerile nonsense. It now resides in my local charity shop.
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on 25 April 2006
I bought this after hearing a radio interview with the authors that made me laugh and the book did the same. This is a celebration of visitor attractions that you could only find in Britain, run by an enthusiastic collection of eccentrics who deserve the boost to their endeavours that this book should bring.

I've driven past brown tourist signs for a couple of these places, like Gnome Magic, and thought 'that could either be really great or a total waste of time'. This book convinces me that the attractions they've selected would, generally, be great. In fact, I've highlighted a number of places I want to take the kids to when we're out and about, and will refer to this book prior to trips around the UK.

The writers have lovingly scoured the country, following up recommendations to explore these places. They write about them with humour, passion, excitement and attention to detail - making them sound all the more attractive, as you find out some local history or 'secret' details and in-jokes that the average visitor might miss.

The forty-two sites span the country - from Dufftown in North-East Scotland to Porteath in Cornwall. Wherever you live, there will be at least a couple fairly near and a few you could visit if you're in other parts of the country.

Many sites sound like great alternatives to 'the usual suspects' like the Eden Project, Stonehenge or London Science Museum. There are also many sites that sound like great places for kids. The authors' descriptions of so many children having such a great time at places like Diggerworld, Cumberland Pencil Museum or Beckonscot Model Village make them sound all the more attractive.

Authors take note for volume two: the only improvement I can suggest is to state the attraction's location (or show map location) at the beginning of each chapter. I was constantly flipping back to the map at the front to genuinely find out if it's feasible to get to.

The places in this book will give you a new appreciation for the entertainment possibilities in your area - and save you a fortune in avoiding the big 'corporate' days out!
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on 26 March 2006
I've wanted this book for ages (based on the title alone) but had been reluctant to order it without having read inside and found out exactly what it's about and what it's trying to do.
Now that I've got it, I only wish I'd bought it earlier. Living in the depths of Cumbria, it's lovely to find a 'guidebook' that has no less than 3 local places in it!
What I like best about it tries to instill a love and appreciation of the small tourist attractions in this country. All too often we ignore the random brown roadside signs to some attraction we've never heard of and prefer the safety of the well-established places such as Sealife centres or Alton Towers. Even if you never visit any of the places in this book, it makes you want to find some other ones and support somewhere that hasn't sold itself out by joining the Disneylands of this world.
The writing style is very readable and witty. You can read it as a non-fiction book not just as a guidebook. Highly highly recommended.
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on 21 October 2007
Intriguing title - I happen to like Alton Towers. It's not just Alton Towers the writers are disdainful towards but theme parks in general, along with any attraction that is purely about making money, always packed to the gills with tourists and doesn't inform or educate the visitor. Bollocks to Alton Towers is a compilation of 42 attractions within the UK that are unusual, unique and undervalued. The purpose of the book, it says in the introduction, is to highlight and celebrate the "underdogs of British tourism." The writers have endeavoured to only include those attractions that represent all that is British and have avoided attempting to recreate successful attractions in America in order to get the punters in. So we have places like the British Lawnmower Museum, Gnome Magic, Morpeth Bagpipe Museum and Peasholm Park Navel Warfare. Hm, thrilling. But that's the point; if you want thrills and spills, hustle and bustle and all the fun of the fair, then you'll find this book hard going. These attractions require a little more effort and imagination than your average tourist hotspot.

An alternative to Alton Towers - The book starts off with Blackgang Chine, Britain's oldest theme park, located in the Isle of Wight and set in over 40 acres of Victorian cliff-top gardens. I apparently went there when I was a child but I don't remember. The park is really for children and their parents because there's hardly any rides, just things like Giant Hedge Maze, Hall of Funny Mirrors, and The Crooked House in themed areas including Dinosaurland, Fantasyland and Nurseryland. Blackgang Chine is quintessentially British in that it's modest and understated. Because a British theme park proclaiming that it's the fastest and the best is "a faintly embarrassing spectacle, like a geography teacher bodypopping in a cowboy hat." I can definately see where they're coming from there. What the writers liked about Blackgang Chine was the lack of noise from rollercoasters and teenagers, which means a visit to the park is relaxing for the adults and, perhaps more importantly, stimulates children's imagination more than any rollercoaster could.

An alternative to Madame Tussaud's - Louis Tussaud's House of Wax, a waxworks museum in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, that's been slaughtered by the press for its crapness. Like Blackgang Chine, the place is stuck in a time warp as the exhibits haven't been updated for fifteen years. The ones they've got are rather poor imitations of the celebrities they're supposed to represent. But the writers liked the museum for its ability to take the visitor on a trip down memory lane and for being a "traditional British seaside experience".

An alternative to Stonehenge - Avebury Stone Circle, about 20 miles from Stonehenge in Wiltshire. This massive site of around 28 acres isn't as famous as Stonehenge but it perhaps ought to be. The writers point out that you can actually interact with the stones themselves by walking amongst them, unlike at Stonehenge where you are kept well away from the monoliths. The overall experience at Avebury is therefore much more fulfilling.

Halstead et al. are an old-fashioned lot, which they are unapologetic about. Many of the attractions in Bollocks to Alton Towers are old-fashioned (or just plain ancient, see Avebury Stone Circle), but are part of a British heritage you want to continue. It would be a shame for attractions like these to die out. You may be interested enough in one or two places to go and visit them, but considering the broad range and quality of places on offer, that wouldn't be bad going.
As has been mentioned by previous reviewers, the photos are in black and white and don't exactly sell the attraction that's being written about. The book cannot get 5/5 because of this fact. Another gripe I have with the book is that there aren't any days out in the Midlands - not one. Although they're spread all over the British Isles, from Wadebridge in Cornwall to Dufftown in Banffshire, the Midlands seems to have been forgotten. I live in the East Midlands and the nearest day out for me is in either North Yorkshire or Norfolk. That's just not good enough!
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on 13 March 2006
It would have been so easy for this book to take the usual tongue in cheek route of mocking the not-quite-the-best that Britain has to offer its tourists. But instead the authors find the joy and charm in the smallest details of the British day out. Lovingly written and evocative it felt like a well meaning dad taking you to a museum 'because he should'. A book that makes you nostalgic for packed lunches and bracing holidays by the sea. I absolutely adore this book, and can't help coming back to it time and time again.
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on 29 April 2007
This book, written by some very annoyed-sounding blokes with a wicked sense of humour, is a guide to Britain's less commercial, more eccentric attractions (pencil museum anyone?) as opposed to just slouching sheep-like off to alton towers or any other theme park where it's considered fun to get vomitted on.

The perfect antidote to the sickly-sweet disney version of "fun", this book lists weird and wonderful places where you can find you own entertainment without anyone telling you to "have a nice day!" or trying to spoon-feed you educational material. Have you, for instance, ever considered visiting the bagpipe museum in northern England or perhaps the ex-"SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER" in Kent?

I especially enjoyed the entry for "The Ark": a house which isn't even open to the public but is recommended for the sole fact that if you drive past, one day you might catch a glimpse of Jesus (read the book if you want to know what I'm talking about).

Even if you do enjoy sitting in puke-encrusted rollercoasters, it's still worth buying this book for it's typical british humour - I did actually nearly wet myself in places.
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on 26 April 2006
As someone who often finds themselves in search of 'different' days out in Britain, this book served it's purpose beautifully. It's very funny, very British and very quirky. And we like that.
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on 2 January 2017
I'd love to read this but every time I try to downlaod it to my Kindle, I get a downlaod failure. Anyone else having this problem?
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