The NatWest Hole – Ilkeston, England - Atlas Obscura

The NatWest Hole

How did a literal hole in a wall become one of the top-rated tourist attractions in this English town? 


In the English town of Ilkeston, a hole in the brick wall outside a bank has been listed among the town’s flagship tourist attractions. The hole was introduced during a mid-1990s refurbishment as a safety feature so people using the cash machine at Ilkeston’s branch of NatWest bank could see if anyone was standing on the other side of the wall. Since then, it has unexpectedly become one of the most popular and reviewed “things to see and do” in the town.

In 2018, people started posting glowing reviews for the hole on TripAdvisor. Cheeky reviews sing the praises of the hole, calling it “a glorious masterpiece of architecture and craftsmanship” and “a thoughtful sociopolitical statement of the hollowness of capitalism.” In 2020, after the Hole had racked up nearly 100 reviews (and a five-star rating!), and so much attention that TripAdvisor briefly suspended the addition of new reviews.

Despite being rejected by editors at Wikipedia because “it is a bit of fun, but doesn’t belong in an encyclopedia,” the Hole continues to attract visitors and comments aplenty to this day. An initial flurry of fake reviews has snowballed into a town-wide effort, with parents piling in with photos of their children playing in the hole. 

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