Tourist slams UK cities as ‘tatty, poor and grim’ with ‘signs of decay’

A brit who lives in the Netherlands has enraged people by saying the UK "looks and feels like a poor country". She dubbed the nation "shocking" and said that it was "tatty" in comparison to other European countries.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Alison K Montijn, @alisonkatebr, an educational leader and writer, is a British national who settled in the Netherlands. However, she claims that visiting the UK since left her with a bad taste in her mouth. While admitting that some areas of Britain like "most of Cambridge, parts of London, parts of Bristol, parts of York" and "well-heeled posh villages" were "pockets of loveliness" she slammed the rest of the country. Alison even said that the "majority" of the UK is "grim".

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In her post, Alison commented: "Much of the UK looks and feels like a poor country. We visit from NL, and it's shocking at times. Everything's tatty. Dysfunctional, high streets boarded up, trains and buses no shows, broken machines, signs of decay and poverty everywhere. It doesn't have to be like that.

"This is obviously not true of pockets of loveliness like most of Cambridge, parts of London, parts of Bristol, parts of York, well-heeled posh villages. But the majority is grim. It is disgraceful how run-down it has been allowed to get – all political choice, all fixable."

In a series of other tweets she added: "I could also go on: the ever-growing number of pawn shops, frequently situated next to betting shops. A sign of economic need if there ever was one. Ads for short-term loans and pay on instalment options. Really bloody awful."

In replies to angered Brits she said: "Some parts of York are really lovely! I only wish the whole country could be the same. Nothing wrong with the people, and the desire is there. It's just being run down to shreds. Many of the measures it would take to make places look and feel nicer to live in, and create a more positive energy, aren't even that dramatic…

"We've been visiting over the last nine years, watching the slowly creeping decline. It is really upsetting. People outside the UK have absolutely no idea what a dreadful state some places are in."

Over 1.4million people have viewed the post Alison, who is from the North of England, and were quick to share their own opinions – unfortunately, they were not always positive.

One person, Mira, wrote: "When I fly from my home country Poland I’m shocked every time. Who would have thought!? Poland in comparison is beautiful, everything works and so clean. I live in Greenwich London for over 20 years. In comparison UK now is grey, everything is broken and the rubbish."

While a woman said: "I visited (from Germany) for six weeks this summer and had exactly the same impression – neglect everywhere, many people who want to blame anyone except the party they voted into govt, some who are voluntarily, with limited resources, trying to stop the rot and others who've given up."

Another Brit abroad said: "Been in Hilversum for 6 years now and the thought or returning to the UK scares me. Every time I go back I feel like I'm stepping into a Charles Dickens story."

But, some posters hit back at the comments and claimed that elsewhere in Europe is just as bad. One man said: "Many European cities look like ghettos especially at night time."

While another added: "We visited from Germany this year, we went to different towns and we didn’t had this impression at all."

A third noted: "Weird – the places where I live and spend almost all my time in the UK are some of the loveliest in the world (having travelled widely)."

However, perhaps surprisingly, most of the Brits in the comments agreed with her sentiment. One said: "Although there are very affluent areas of the country the gap between the haves and have nots is widening. This disintegration has been happening for some time and is very evident in many decaying northern towns. Levelling up was never needed more but just isn't happening."

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