John O’Groats to receive £6m tourism boost

by Emily DUNBAR on March 9, 2011

The UK’s most north-easterly town is to receive a £6 million facelift in the hope of ridding it from its bad reputation. Although John O’Groats in Scotland is frequently visited by those doing end-to-end tours of Britain, it is commonly referred to as an eyesore in guidebooks and criticised by tourists for its ugly buildings.

But now the town, which even won a Carbuncle Award for the most dismal place in Britain in 2010, is to receive a mass cash injection to help boost its tourism credentials. The area will be completely remodelled in the hope that visitors will actually choose to stay rather than just pass through.

The Last House Museum will see some of the cash for refurbishments, as will the famous Journey’s End cafe. John O’Graots Hotel, which has stood derelict for a number of years, will also be transformed into holiday cottages and swanky self catering apartments.

Plans are also underway to build a new multi-purpose visitors’ centre in the town and to revamp the tatty harbour area. The money has been applied for by Heritage Great Britain, with £1.6 million so far pledged by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise which oversees economic and community development in Scotland.

Project manager Carole Gunn said she hopes the money will encourage visitors to come to John O’Groats even if they are not on an end-to-end tour of the country. She added that despite hardly any investment in tourism, the town has many natural assets to be proud of.

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