The Millennium Stadium has been voted one of the top tourist attractions in the UK after an online poll set up to determine locations which are to be immortalised by Google Street View.

The Google Street View Trike is now on route to Cardiff to capture 360 degree images of the 74,500 capacity multi-event venue, both inside and out, in order to produce a virtual ‘as live’ map which can be viewed and navigated online by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Google and VisitBritain today announced the winners of the poll in which votes were cast for the first tourist attractions to be photographed by the Trike.

The 6 winners Millennium Stadium, Stone Henge, Angel of the North, Loch Ness, Eden Project, Warwick Castle – plus a special ‘wildcard’ location Bamburgh Castle – are spread throughout the UK and demonstrate the public’s passion for their local landmarks and each venue will receive a visit from the Google Trike this summer:

“Many historic moments have been packed into the comparatively brief 10 year existence of the Millennium Stadium, so much so that, whilst the national stadium of Wales is in good company named alongside the likes of Stonehenge and Loch Ness, it by no means looks out of place,” said John Williams, head of communications for the Millennium Stadium which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its creation this year.

“The multi-functional venue, set in the heart of the Cardiff capital, is a working facility which attracts millions of sport and music fans and other visitors from around the world each year and is the jewel in the crown of a proud nation.

“Whether the stadium is in use for a rock or pop concert, hosting a major sporting event or conference, being used as a film set for shows like Doctor Who and Torchwood or even as a frequent backdrop to TV news items – in any one of its many guises – the versatile, retractable roofed- venue dominates its surroundings and remains instantly recognisable.

“The Millennium Stadium has developed an international reputation which presents an image of Cardiff and Wales which is admired the world over, the Google Street View vote proves the Welsh nation has a building to be proud and one which is recognised around the globe as a true modern icon.”

Each tourist attraction will take its place on the virtual map, accessed through Google Maps or Google Earth tempting people at home and abroad to explore Britain’s historic and culturally significant landmarks in an exciting new way. Additionally, they can benefit from the Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their websites for free. Here they can add layers of information such as parking locations and upcoming events information.

Google & VisitBritain started the campaign last month by asking the British public to name their top tourist treasures within 5 categories; Castles, Coastal Paths, Natural Wonders, Historic Buildings & Monuments and (Sports) Stadiums. 10,000+ suggestions were received and whittled down to 16 which went to the final public vote, resulting in today’s winners. These 16 finalists were: Angel of the North, Bamburgh Castle, Cheddar Gorge, Colchester Castle, Corfe Castle, Durdle Door, Eden Project, Ironbridge (Blists Hill Victorian Town), Kenilworth Castle, Lands End, Leeds Castle, Loch Ness, Millennium Stadium, Pembrokeshire Coast, Stonehenge, Warwick Castle.

Google spokesperson said: "We’ve seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from British people to get their favourite places onto Street View. Now it’s down to our super fit tryclists to get cracking and photograph these places so that curious historians, students and tourists all over the globe can soon admire the country’s heritage and plan their next weekend away." 

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain said: "This is a chance to get an unusual view of some of Britain’s famous and less well-known attractions. Putting the scenes online will help inspire millions of Google users to explore Britain."

The trike is an 18 stone mechanical masterpiece comprising three bicycle wheels, a mounted Street View camera and a specially decorated box containing image-collecting gadgetry. It comes replete with a very athletic cyclist in customised Google apparel. It has the same capability as the Street View cars for collecting street-level imagery and is designed to help Google make special imagery collections in places less accessible by cars, such as historic landmarks and coastal paths.

The Angel of the North
Anna Pepperall, public art curator at Gateshead Council said: "The Angel is already one of the most view pieces of public art and we always have so many people interested in the sculpture. We celebrated its tenth birthday last year and over the last decade, the angel has become one of the modern icons of Britain. It is one of the most recognisable icons in the world and we know that it is just as loved around the globe as it is here in the North East of England. We hope these Street View photos will give even more people the chance to see this fantastic sculpture, wherever they may be in the world."

Bamburgh Castle
Chris Calvert, The Administrator said: "We are really excited to be involved in this project and are especially pleased that VisitBritain and Google Street View are giving us the opportunity to promote this beautiful part of the country".

Stuart Maughan, Head of Visitor Operations at Stonehenge said: “With over 5,000 years of history, Stonehenge continues to be one of the country’s most recognised historic monuments, attracting more than 890,000 visitors a year. We’re delighted that it will be part of Google Street View, and can’t think of a better way to bring history and heritage right up to date with the latest technology.

The question mark over Stonehenge’s origins and purpose continues to fascinate people in the UK, and our hope is that its appearance on Google Street View will help encourage people to visit themselves, and decide whether Stonehenge was a place of sun worship, a sacred burial site, or something different altogether!”

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle’s General Manager, Sue Kemp: “We are over the moon to be one of just a handful of tourist attractions – and the only one from the Midlands – making our debut on Google Street View. To be considered up there alongside iconic landmarks like Stonehenge is truly praise indeed and our thanks go out to the voting public.”