Don’t Believe The Hype – What’s A Tourist Attraction?

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What exactly does a brown sign advertising your attraction mean?   Taking it literally (I appreciate it might not be the most dynamic start to a post…) according to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 they claim “A permanently established attraction or facility which attracts or is used by visitors to an area and is open to the public without prior booking during its normal hours.”

To your average man on the street I always thought a brown sign was an attraction worth having.  Take Derbyshire for example, you might see one for Calke Abbey, Chatsworth House or even Swadlincote Ski Centre!

Apparently one of the requirements for a non-motorway sign is that your attraction has a minimum of 100,000 people every year. …So imagine my delight when I saw that 65 – The Victoria Bikers Pub  LE67 3FA,  en route to Coalville, was on one of the hallowed brown signs.  It has been well documented on this blog that Coalville isn’t over burdened with attractions, especially since the Snibston Discovery Centre and Museum bit the dust last year… but the fact that Barney’s Play Barn is the attraction underneath Vics Bikers sign should have set alarm bells ringing!

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So it was that on a Tuesday night, my drinking buddy and I entered the boozer and we were the only two people in there.

Now, I don’t have an issue with that at all but if I compare it to The Station Inn (pub 64) just a few miles up the road then it was chalk and cheese.

The landlady was friendly enough, to a point, but then spent the rest of the evening on her phone whilst the other barman/gaffer in there just sat on his PC as well.  I’m all for allowing customers the chance to have a quiet chat and they weren’t unpleasant but just didn’t seem too interested.

It was almost as though the hype was believed and they have 100,000 visitors per year along with Barneys Play Barn.

By that I mean there was branded quirky t-shirts, ‘funny signs’ on the pool table…

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…and it all felt ‘we’re a bit mad, this is what we do and therefore you must like it.  Lots of Easy Riders pictures adorn the pub but I’m not sure Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson would have stopped in here for too long.

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To be fair there was a massive yellow motorcycle in the middle of the floor, which was a first!!  They also had a pub cat, which will please lots of beer bloggers!  Throw into the mix the ale, Status Quo’s Piledriver (Wychwood), which also felt suitably ‘biker’ and there is almost the makings of a decent boozer.

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But at £4 a pint it was definitely tourist attraction prices and whilst it wasn’t off, it was an average to below average pint at best and added to the general feel of disinterest.

Okay, any pub can have an average pint if it serves ale and I could have drunk lager and not complained about the beer.  I could have gone on a different night and it might have been packed with a buzzing atmosphere.  I’m not writing this place off after one night but first impressions count and there’s enough boozers in the local vicinity not to rush back

However, I didn’t go on a different night and whilst the bar staff weren’t unfriendly, I had an expensive average pint in a pub that kept telling me it was mad and quirky, but I’m not sure this place is my idea of fun!

As Chuck D, Flavor Flav and Professor Griff once said “Don’t Believe The Hype…”


11 thoughts on “Don’t Believe The Hype – What’s A Tourist Attraction?

  1. Interesting. I looked up the Traffic Sign Regs and confirmed you were talking about Tourism info signs. In BC (British Columbia) they are blue and white; have been apparently since 1992. Alberta used to be brown and white but are now blue and white as well (not sure when they changed). I never thought about the paperwork involved to get one approved but it makes sense (too many on the highway would be a distraction). Was an interesting few minutes looking all that up. 😎

    As for the landlord/lady or barman – um – barperson 😉 not being chatty that’s something to ponder as well. I haven’t seen any very chatty over here. I’ll have to make an effort to sit at the bar when I’m out and see how it goes. 🤔


    PS – alas, £4 a pint is pretty much big standard over here. 😛


      1. Can’t argue with that alas, for the time being.

        British pub culture (and Ireland to be honest) is not a universal thing. Don’t take for granted what you have; even when it’s an unchatty landlady and barman. 🙂



  2. A lot of businesses commission their own brown signs and then illegally fix them to existing street furniture. Unless the appropriate Highway Authority (local council in most cases, unless the road comes under Highways Agency jurisdiction) commission a full survey these will go unnoticed for long periods. If they’re taken down then it’s easy and cheap to replace them. Very rarely do they take action against the business.


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