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WE WILL ROCK YOU! Houses carved into stone make list of world's top alternative attractions.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Sunday Mercury Writer

BLACK Country landmark has been named as one of the 20 "must see" global locations.

AStourbridge's Rock Houses makes number 11 on a list of alternative destinations topped by California's former high security prison Alcatraz and including Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, and the ancient Maya city of Uxmal in Mexico.

The castle that inspired Disney classic Cinderella - Burg Eltz, in Germany - only limps in at 16 in the chart compiled by online holiday firm travelzoo. The rock houses at beauty spot Kinver Edge were carved from the soft sandstone rock in the early 1900s. In the 1930s, 11 families lived in them - and one was still occupied in the 1960s.

They have been renovated and are a popular tourist destination.

The houses, however, seem an incongruous addition to the catalogue of world landmarks, compiled following a poll of 1,000 travellers. A fifth of those preferred to visit less known areas because they can experience them without any preconceived ideas.

James Clarke, Travelzoo UK general manager, said: "We're all familiar with those must visit places - the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and so on.

"They are all truly amazing landmarks, but there are a growing number of travellers who want to see sights that aren't quite so well-known.

"Thankfully, we are blessed with fantastic landmarks across the globe which are also well worth a visit - and that's exactly what we wanted to show through this research."

In addition to the Rock Houses, the UK is also represented by the Minack Theatre (number four), an open-air theatre located on the Cornish shore not far from Land's End.

Wilton's Music Hall in London (nine), which is one of the few surviving musical halls, is also on the list. The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, considered some of the best-preserved buildings from Roman times, and Canada's CN Tower are other locations travellers are eager to see.

The study found visiting a particular place can have a profound impact on visitors as a fifth have been moved to tears by the beauty, wonderment or history of some corners of the globe.

And 20 per cent even said their entire outlook on life changed after visiting some places.

Another three in 10 have been left speechless and a quarter have completely re-evaluated how they feel about a country.

Mr Clarke added: "Visiting the alternative destinations listed in this survey provides a way for travellers to explore unfamiliar cultures and offthe-beaten track landmarks to really gain a deeper understanding of the world."

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The unique rock houses at Kinver Edge

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Author:MIKE LOCKLEY Sunday Mercury Writer
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2020
Words:433
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