Monster's home tops visitor poll

Loch Ness has topped a poll of the nation's favourite visitor attractions that can be easily reached by car.

The ruins of Urquhart Castle which look out over the loch and the surrounding area were named alongside other visitor hotspots, including Stonehenge and the Houses of Parliament, in a list dubbed the Seven Wonders of Britain.

The picturesque spot in the Highlands, famed for its natural beauty and monster myths, came top in the RAC poll with 44% of the votes.

It got almost three times as many votes as second place Whitby Abbey, a dramatic ruin on a Yorkshire clifftop, which received 15%. It was also 40% more than the Houses of Parliament, which took the final position with only 3% of the vote.

The motoring group put forward a short list of 14 places, compiled by tourism agency VisitBritain, for the public to vote on. Tom Wright, VisitBritain chief executive, said the survey showed increasing numbers of Britons were looking to discover their own "national treasures".

Economic troubles are forcing more Britons to replace foreign holidays with breaks in the UK.

The RAC now hopes the Seven Wonders of Britain will offer a choice of places that can be easily visited by car.

The Seven Wonders of Britain, and their percentage of the vote, are:

:: Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle (44%)

:: Whitby Abbey (15%)

:: Hadrian's Wall (13%)

:: Stonehenge (8%)

:: Hardknott Pass (5%)

:: Angel of the North (4%)

:: The Houses of Parliament (3%)

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