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A TripAdvisor Listing For A Real Hole In The Wall

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now a travel note - there is an attraction in a small town in the middle of England that's gotten rave reviews on TripAdvisor. We had some NPR employees of British extraction read them aloud.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Having been fortunate enough to travel to many destinations across the globe, this has been one of the best examples of a circular hole I've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Gloriously designed - an absolute paradigm of British architecture. Would definitely pay another visit in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: The hole has no bounds. One minute, you're crawling through it. The next, you're on the other side.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

All this praise is for a literal hole in a wall in the former coal mining town of Ilkeston.

PAUL MILLER: It's a great spoof. I think it's fabulous.

SHAPIRO: That's Paul Miller. He's real, and not only that. He is chairman of the Local History Society. At first, he was startled to find postings on TripAdvisor about this ordinary hole in an ordinary brick wall near an ordinary bank ATM.

MILLER: Somebody put a review on it that said, I drove six hours each way. The idea I'd got is that they'd run out of bricks. You see; that's why there's a hole in it. But evidently, there was a genuine reason. That was because people were concerned that this wall - people were hiding behind it and going to jump out on them and steal their money. So they have this whole put in it so that people could see through the hole.

KELLY: The hole and its wall sit at the corner of Baker and Bath Streets in Ilkeston. The wall is a curved assemblage of bricks. The hole is in the middle. Now, it is possible that some of the people raving online about this never actually bothered to go check it out.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: It's OK, but it's no square. Kids were mesmerized and couldn't understand how such an amazing structure had been made - best hole ever.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Well worth a visit if you're in the area. As a bonus, we also use the cash machine.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Probably the best thing I've ever experienced. There is no feeling like it. Crawling through the hole is exceptional. Forget Disneyland, and try the hole.

SHAPIRO: Not everyone appreciated the joke. This week, TripAdvisor had enough. Now if you look at the entry for the hole in the wall, you'll see this disclaimer.

KELLY: Quote, "because of an influx of review submissions that do not describe a firsthand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing."

SHAPIRO: And Paul Miller says that's a shame.

MILLER: Evidently, TripAdvisor have took exception to this. They've - what they don't want is a laughingstock, and they don't want TripAdvisor being made a laughingstock of.

SHAPIRO: But Miller says there is a real reason to visit Ilkeston - a 150-year-old railway viaduct. He invites visitors to come and see it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHIGETO SONG, "DETROIT PART II") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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