The Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, 24th February 2006
Missing out on the e-list
It is the list that every city in England wants to be on. But Preston, the country's newest city, has missed out on making a list of must-see destinations. The enjoyEngland organisation has named the country's top 33 stylish cities in a new book.

No-one will be surprised that Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and York made the list. Yet enjoyEngland deemed Bradford, Leicester and Peterborough better days out than a trip to Preston which is currently bidding to become the third city of the North West.

The organisation has decided Bradford's National Museum of Photography, Film and Television kicks Preston's National Football Museum into touch. And that Leicester's Abbey Park trumps Avenham Park and Miller Park, and the Peterborough Broadway Theatre offers better shows than the Guild Hall. Elliott Frisbie of enjoy England told the Evening Post why Preston has not made it on the list.

Liverpool Docks
He said: "We worked with the North West Development Agency and decided that four cities from the region would go on the list and that they would be Carlisle, Chester, Manchester and Liverpool.

"But that is not to say we don't think people should go to Preston. There is wonderful local heritage in Preston and there are great museums and theatres on offer.

"But we sought advice from partners and felt the four cities we have picked were the best ones to draw visitors into the North West. "What the list is about is to get people visiting cities in England and to raise the profile of local tourism." The news will disappoint people in the city who have worked hard to raise the profile of Preston since it became a city in 2002. But Nicola Turner, the manager of Preston Vision, said: "I have to say I am not hugely surprised we are not on the list of 33.

Here's what the compilers of the enjoyEngland guide are missing...

National Football Museum The museum at Deepdale opened in June 2001 and became the first and largest major football museum in the world.
Guild Hall Preston's showpiece venue opened in 1972 and has room for 2,050 people.
Charter Theatre The theatre, above the Guild Hall, presents a range of professional and amateur events from small recitals to full theatrical productions.
Harris Museum (pictured) The Grade I listed building features an extensive collection of art, ceramics and sculpture, as well as a contemporary, changing exhibition programme.
Avenham Park With a backcloth provided by the River Ribble, Avenham Park ranks among the finest examples of traditional Victorian parklands in the North West. It was designed and created during the 1860s.
Miller Park This park, next to Avenham Park, has the best floral displays to be found in the borough.
Winckley Square Winckley Square is regarded as the finest example of a privately planned Georgian development with open space in the north of England. Just 50 yards from Preston's main shopping thoroughfare, the landscaped parkland is a peaceful refuge from the hurly-burly of city life
Lancashire Museum Situated within a Grade ll-listed building in Stanley Street, Preston, the museum offers a look at Victorian schoolrooms and tours through the Home Front during World War Two. There are three fascinating regimental galleries.
Moor Park Preston's largest and oldest park was originally common land derived from the Royal Forest of Fulwood. It was one of the first public parks in the country.

"A lot of the work going on in the city at the moment is gearing up towards the future and trying to secure investment." Preston Vision is working towards 2012, the year of the Preston Guild, when regeneration officers hope Preston will be the third city of the North West. Miss Turner said: "By 2012 I would hope we are in a much stronger position. A lot of our development is based around making the most of the city's heritage and tourism."

Preston makes around 100m a year through tourism.

The main cultural and tourist sites the city sells to visitors is the Harris Museum, the Museum of Lancashire, Avenham Park and Miller Park and the National Football Museum.

Preston Guild Hall also hosts some of the UK's best comedians and performers each year, while the 53 venue at the University of Central Lancashire attracts headline bands.

Preston North End is one of the best football sides in the country. They came close to getting into the Premiership last season and are in with a chance of promotion this term. The city also hosts the snooker Grand Prix each year.

But it is retail worth over 200m a year that is the city's big attraction, with two major indoor shopping centres and an outdoor shopping area. Mark Bushell of the National Football Museum said: "It is a huge disappointment. I have to say I find it staggering. When you look at culture and literature and fine art you have to say football is as important to people as anything. Preston is now seen as the spiritual home of football with the museum. For that not to be recognised here with this list is astonishing."

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, February 2006