Tuesday 14th July: Google and VisitBritain today announced the winners of the online poll in which Brits voted for the first tourist attractions to be photographed by the Street View Trike. Google was inundated with more than 35,000 votes for the 16 finalists. The top 6 most voted for tourist attractions, plus a special ‘wildcard’ location, will get a visit from the trike over the summer. The images it collects will later appear in Street View on Google Maps.
The 6 winners are spread throughout the UK and demonstrate the public’s passion for their local landmarks: Stonehenge, Millennium Stadium, Angel of the North, Loch Ness, Eden Project, Warwick Castle. The ‘wildcard’, chosen by VisitBritain, is Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland and was selected because it represents a hidden gem, off the beaten track.
These tourist attractions will be put right on the virtual map, tempting people at home and abroad to explore Britain’s historic and culture landmarks in an exciting new way. Additionally, they can benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their websites for free. Here they can add layers of information such as parking locations and upcoming events information.
Google & VisitBritain started the campaign last month by asking the British public to name their top tourist treasures within 5 categories; Castles, Coastal Paths, Natural Wonders, Historic Buildings & Monuments and (Sports) Stadiums. 10,000+ suggestions were received and whittled down to 16 which went to the final public vote, resulting in today’s winners. These 16 finalists were: Angel of the North, Bamburgh Castle, Cheddar Gorge, Colchester Castle, Corfe Castle, Durdle Door, Eden Project, Ironbridge (Blists Hill Victorian Town), Kenilworth Castle, Lands End, Leeds Castle, Loch Ness, Millennium Stadium, Pembrokeshire Coast, Stonehenge, Warwick Castle.
A Google spokesperson said:
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from British people to get their favourite places onto Street View. Now it’s down to our super fit tryclists to get cracking and photograph these places so that curious historians, students and tourists all over the globe can soon admire the country’s heritage and plan their next weekend away.”
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain said:
“This is a chance to get an unusual view of some of Britain’s famous and less well-known attractions. Putting the scenes online will help inspire millions of Google users to explore Britain.”
The trike is an 18 stone mechanical masterpiece comprising three bicycle wheels, a mounted Street View camera and a specially decorated box containing image-collecting gadgetry. It comes replete with a very athletic cyclist in customised Google apparel. It has the same capability as the Street View cars for collecting street-level imagery and is designed to help Google make special imagery collections in places less accessible by cars, such as historic landmarks and coastal paths.
Due to operational factors such as light levels and the weather (and what could be a pretty tired cyclist), the trike will only be in the UK for a limited time during the summer. Images collected by the trike will be processed and carefully stitched together, a technological process that can take several months. They will be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.
What the winners said:
Anna Pepperall, Public Art Curator at Gateshead Council:
“The Angel is already one of the most view pieces of public art and we always have so many people interested in the sculpture. We celebrated its tenth birthday last year and over the last decade, the angel has become one of the modern icons of Britain. It is one of the most recognisable icons in the world and we know that it is just as loved around the globe as it is here in the North East of England. We hope these Street View photos will give even more people the chance to see this fantastic sculpture, wherever they may be in the world.”
Chris Calvert, The Administrator of Bamburgh Castle:
“We are really excited to be involved in this project and are especially pleased that VisitBritain and Google Street View are giving us the opportunity to promote this beautiful part of the country”.
Susan Hill, Marketing Director, The Eden Project:
“We’re thrilled to be one of the winners of the Google Street View project and would like to thank everyone who have supported us by voting. We welcomed our 11 millionth visitor a couple of weeks ago after only 8 1/2 years and are delighted so many more people from around the world will have the opportunity to see what the Eden Project has to offer. Thankyou everyone!”
John Williams, Millennium Stadium Head of Communications:
“The Millennium Stadium has developed an international reputation which presents an image of Cardiff and Wales which is admired the world over, the Google Street View vote proves the Welsh nation has a building to be proud of which is recognised around the globe as a true modern icon.”
Stuart Maughan, Head of Visitor Operations at Stonehenge:
“With over 5,000 years of history, Stonehenge continues to be one of the country’s most recognised historic monuments, attracting more than 890,000 visitors a year. We’re delighted that it will be part of Google Street View, and can’t think of a better way to bring history and heritage right up to date with the latest technology. The question mark over Stonehenge’s origins and purpose continues to fascinate people in the UK, and our hope is that its appearance on Google Street View will help encourage people to visit themselves, and decide whether Stonehenge was a place of sun worship, a sacred burial site, or something different altogether!”
Warwick Castle’s General Manager, Sue Kemp:
“We are over the moon to be one of just a handful of tourist attractions – and the only one from the Midlands – making our debut on Google Street View. To be considered up there alongside iconic landmarks like Stonehenge is truly praise indeed and our thanks go out to the voting public.”
Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps which is already available in more than 100 metropolitan areas around the world. It is also available in Google Earth and on Google Maps for Mobile. We launched Street View imagery in UK in March allowing people to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery in 25 British towns.
In areas where Street View is available, you can access street-level imagery by zooming into the lowest level on Google Maps, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street. You can check out a restaurant before arriving, make travel plans, arrange meeting points, get a helping hand with geography homework, or just explore and get to know your town better.