When you have seen one castle you have seen them all

There are a number of variations on this theme, like - "if it is Thursday it must be Athens". And it all stems from the fact that Americans steam round Britain and Europe at a breakneck speed that blurs the details, leaves all castles looking the same, and at the end of the day having no idea where they have been

Typical was a family of three Americans that were booked to stay with us recently for one night. They had not turned up by 6 p.m., so we checked the reservation, yes we had the right day. They had not arrived by 9 p.m. and we were getting concerned, and by 11 p.m. were getting annoyed that they had not arrived, and had not phoned to say they were going to be late. At that point we put them down to a "no show" and retired to bed for the night.

Just after midnight, I was woken by the bedside phone. Our American guests had arrived to find the hotel in darkness, and the door locked. This puzzled, concerned and annoyed them. They saw no reason to warn us of a late arrival, as we were a hotel. And in their country hotels are open all the time - this is not their country.

At breakfast the next morning, I discovered that they had journeyed from London to Cornwall, via Windsor Castle, Winchester Cathedral and Stonehenge. Apart from knowing that they had been to the places, they had no clear idea of what they had seen. And after breakfast with us it was a similar scramble, Lands End, Bath, Stratford and the Lake District that night

When we had a hotel in Yorkshire, I quizzed an American couple about where they had been since breakfast - Scotland, Durham,York, Castle Howard, Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales was the answer. Knowing that that represented seven or eight hours driving, I expressed my doubts that they had been able to see very much of these places. "Oh no, we do not stop at any of them" they said, it was an all day drive, round the York ring road, through the turning circle at Castle Howard, up the A1 past Durham to the Scottish border, the back south touching the Moor and Dales, to get back in time for dinner

To me it is a shame that visitors to our shores try to cram in too much - they see nothing really of the country or the people, the end up seeing motorways, motorway service stations and tourist hotspots full of other tourists.

                            And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

                                                                                                       Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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