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Legendary resource for internet drama Mumsnet is on form as usual, and this time mums are spilling their secret disappointment over popular and famous tourist destinations.

The answers make for juicy - and sometimes baffling - reading.

But be warned, even New Zealand is getting roasted.


In a thread titled "What famous landmark or must visit place/thing were you secretly underwhelmed by?" Midge1978 elaborates on her provocative question.

I went to Stonehenge this year and whilst I was trying to get in touch with my inner druid, trying to project historical importance and mystery onto the place, I just couldn't escape the feeling that I was just looking at some very old stones and it was actually (whisper) a little bit boring!! My husband thought it was all marvellous though so I have never told him!!!

Mums were not shy in answering Midge's siren call, and so the vitriol flowed freely.

"The Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef," said one mum, declining to elaborate.

Another mum seconded her, "Yes, Great Barrier Reef - sadly, and only because there is so much coral die back it is depressing. Genuinely disappointing as diving here was a long held dream of mine."

The Grand Canyon was a controversial pick; "Bloody hell, the Grand Canyon is officially the least underwhelming thing I've ever seen, or maybe tied with the Northern Lights, which I saw by accident on a motorway and my first thought was that we were being attacked (Cold War childhood)."

Pioe hit back, "It's just a brown hole."



The Little Mermaid at Copenhagen often comes up in these threads, and sadly today was no exception. She got a lot of nominations.

The Little Mermaid sculpture at Langelinie seen on August 26, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo / Getty Images
The Little Mermaid sculpture at Langelinie seen on August 26, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo / Getty Images


Paintings are often underwhelming, according to Mumsnet. "Many famous paintings have been disappointing, in particular 'The Scream'."

A visitor takes in The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Photo / Getty Images
A visitor takes in The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Photo / Getty Images

Midge agreed, "Oh gosh yes The Mona Lisa - queued for bloody ages to see a small dull painting that I had already seen emblazoned over every item in the gift shop!"

"The pyramids/sphinx," said another mum. "I expected a mystical, magical place in the desert. I got... lots of beggars/sales people/McDonalds. Gutted."

Another mum agreed, "Yep Midge, sorry. I have a fabulous photo that everyone aaahs over of the sphinx with a pyramid behind it and a clear blue sky. When I look at it all I can think is "I was standing in front of McDonald's when I took that...."

What else?

Popular nominations include Big Ben, Statue of Liberty - "small", Taj Mahal, The Giants' Causeway - "small", Manneken Pis - "small", The White House - "so small." The Prague Astronomical Clock, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj Khalifa, The Sistine Chapel, Sydney Opera House - "small", Great Rift Valley - "cold", The Epcot Center, The Sistine Chapel, Madame Tussauds, Disneyland and Disneyworld.

Whole cities were written off, especially Dublin, Las Vegas, Hollywood - "awful, scummy, dirty, dangerous s***hole", Barcelona, Bangkok, Cairo, Venice, Sorrento and Paris.

These ladies are not afraid of hyperbole, "The whole of Australia frankly - no culture at all apart from the Aboriginal history. The Aborigines were treated like s*** by the white Australians which disgusted me. Didn't hear a single one have a good thing to say about the indigenous population - notice how there's never any on Australian TV."

New Zealand didn't escape notice by these UK mums, "Another vote for the various different landmarks in New Zealand. I went expecting awe-inspiring views and to be blown away by the scenery, but I wasn't. It's all really nice, don't get me wrong. But the mountain views aren't as good as those in the European Alps, the fjords aren't as good as Norway's, various bits of Scotland etc. It's like a 7 out of 10 of everything all in one country, compared to 9 or 10 out of 10 of other things scattered around the world."


One woman questioned the writing off of whole countries, "I am amazed by those who say they were underwhelmed by or actually disliked an entire country, i.e Australia and Republic of Ireland. Really, there was absolutely nothing of interest and/or not one friendly person or non-racist in the entire place?"

Some responces were especially eyebrow raising.

"Too my shame - Machu Pichu. Although I think that was mainly to do with all the steps and the heat. In my defence I didn't know any of the history before I got there either."

"The Acropolis in Athens. Looked like a Shell garage on top of a hill."

What about us?

New Zealand doesn't show up for a few hundred replies, but we are in there. A woman lists "Bay of Islands, NZ" along with "The Republic of Ireland" and "Stonehenge" as her most underwhelming holidays. She does not elaborate.

Another New Zealand hater does elaborate, "New Zealand in general, yes the scenery can be good, but I have seen better, and was fed up with being ripped off and so many rude, miserable people serving in stores. And the drinking culture."


"A huge success for marketing a quite pleasant, but not outstanding, set of islands along way away. Like parts of the UK for the country side, or for the fjords like a smaller Norway. And hugely expensive too get to and away from."


On a less depressing note

New Zealand comes up only 3 times in 731 comments. Australia is more frequently complained about. It's OK, everyone.

If this is all terribly unrelatable and insufferable, "Judashascomeintosomemoney" is here to give voice to your anguish, "Oh my gawd, none! But I am full of wonder! I love love love history and even somewhere teeny, in the scope of things, has interest for me. For instance both the Quex Powell Cotton museum and Walmer Castle are relatively close to me and I have spent far too much time being engaged and interested in both than is probably healthy. I guess some people just don't view things in the same way. One of my favourite places to go and walk my dogs is a local EH site, Roman ruins at Richborough Kent. I nearly pissed myself laughing when I read a review of it on trip advisor that said 'it could have been tidied up a bit' - this in regard to 'bricks' Hmm and 'stones' Hmm just 'lying around'. Nope, sorry I can always find something interesting about wherever I am, and I often feel privileged that I've able to go there in the first place. Like Beirut for instance, that's a great place, amazing experience talking to the people who lived there through the years of our only knowledge of BBC news reports in the 80's and then the relatively stable later 90/2000s years. I'm sorry to say if something like this disappoints you, it might, kinda be, your fault."

I'll leave you with this one, which made me gigle, "Pompeii, Mayan Ruins - I just don't have the imagination to enjoy them as they are literally mainly rubble!!! Was so disappointed by both and would never go and see any 'ruins' again."


Article originally published by nzherald.co.nz on 13 Nov, 2019