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Visit the London Cone! China renames UK attractions

Do you think "Garden of fashion" whenever you hear about London's super-stylish Shoreditch or does the Scottish Highland Games remind you of a "strong-man skirt party"? …Yes? Well you're not alone, as one community has now been given the opportunity to rename some of the U.K.'s most iconic treasures.

To coincide with the Chinese New Year, VisitBritain, a national tourism agency has released a list of 101 alternative Mandarin names for popular British attractions and customs.

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London Shard
Graham Custance | Getty Images

The new names aren't direct translations, but reflections of what they represent to the Chinese community, VisitBritain says. For instance, Knightsbridge - known for Harrods and luxury shopping – has been named "A place filled with things to attract Yuppies and fashionable ladies". The Shard has been called the "London Cone."

VisitBritain has started its £1.6m ($2.45m) "GREAT names for GREAT Britain" campaign in the hopes of attracting more Chinese tourists. Every year, Chinese tourists contribute £500 million to the U.K.'s tourism sector; however VisitBritain's aim is to double it, by 2020, according to the report.

"Our ambition is to get the whole of China talking about Britain. This campaign will not only increase awareness of the experiences that Britain has to offer but help encourage these valued Chinese guests to explore our nations and regions" said Sally Balcombe, chief executive at VisitBritain in a statement announcing the campaign.

Since the campaign's launch 10 weeks ago, more than 2 million individuals have been drawn in by the campaign's official website, which asks Chinese individuals to give a Mandarin nickname for a popular UK landmark.

Consequently, 13,000 suggestions have been put forward, and voted for by the Chinese community. The top votes went to the likes of "made of sheep's stomach and smells good" for that Scottish delicacy 'haggis' and 'custom-made for Rich People Street' for Savile Row, London.

Jian Fei Cun's 'Healthy-lung village' for Welsh town Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch came out top, with a record number of 15,177 votes.

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"Overseas visitors are coming to Britain in record numbers and spending more money than ever before. But we are working hard to encourage more visitors from key markets such as China to come and experience the best of Britain," said Helen Grant, the U.K. minister for sport and tourism in the statement.

Are there more quirky names to come? The campaign suggests that it will release all of its new Chinese expressions in March.

VisitBritain's Chinese variations for U.K. landmarks, things, people:

  1. 'Healthy-lung village' – (Llanfair-pwllgwyn-gyllgo-gery-chwyrn-drobwll-llanty-silio-gogo-goch)
  2. 'Mysterious pool, happy sea' – (Blackpool)
  3. 'Monster of the glens and lochs' – (Loch Ness Monster)
  4. 'A place filled with things to attract yuppies and fashionable ladies' - (Knightsbridge)
  5. 'Garden of fashion' – (Shoreditch)
  6. 'Curly Fu' - (Benedict Cumberbatch)
  7. 'Remembering the old days street' – (Carnaby Street)
  8. 'A place full of pleasant fragrance' - (Harrogate)
  9. 'Gentlemen with long hair' - (The Beatles)
  10. 'Baa-baa pudding' and 'Made of sheep's stomach and smells good' – (Haggis)
  11. 'Funny Beans' – (Mr Bean)
  12. 'Sounds like "Cornish" and means delicious pasty' (Cornish pasty)
  13. 'Sounds like "Devon" and means taste of tea with milk' - (Devon Cream Tea)

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