The next big English tourist destination?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Richard III; one of the most recognisable images

What would be your guess for the next big English tourist draw? An exhibition? A castle with a newly opened tower? Something related to the royal family? Jane Austen or one of the other anniversaries being celebrated this year?
How about a car park?
But not just any old car park. This is called Greyfriars in Leicester and it has been the last resting place of Richard III for the last 500 years or so.
The amount of publicity given to the excavation in the car park, the discovery of the skeleton and the DNA analysis announced this morning only goes to show the amount of interest there has been. It hasn’t been relegated to the inside of the newspapers but the front pages.
Bill Turnbull on this morning’s BBC Breakfast even jested that Shakespeare’s play would have to be written with “…a car park, a car park, my kingdom for a car park!” Poor old Bill just doesn’t write them like Will did!
Perhaps because Richard III is such a polarising figure –did he or did he not kill the two young princes in the tower – is why there has been so much interest. The flourishing Richard III Society is cook-a-hoop and Leicester Cathedral – where the king will be re-interred – will also be happy as it will surely mean many more visitors to the place. Not many monarchs are buried outside the south east so the publicists at Visit Leicester are probably concocting all sorts of things to encourage us to visit the place. Including the carpark. In fact if there wasn’t such an argument going on about blue plaques maybe they should attach one to the car park.
And why not leave the actual burial site open and able to be viewed. Park. Do your shopping and see where Richard III was buried could go the slogan.
I can’t wait for the uninformed tourist to ask a local guide as to what possessed Richard III to be buried in car park when other places were available for his burial!

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