Britons have dubbed the White House, the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States, “small”. British visitors from across the UK have been unimpressed by perhaps the US’s most famous building.
A Scottish visitor found the building underwhelming and didn’t even consider the home of the US government worth visiting. The Glaswegian wrote: “It’s so small. Don’t know what I expected but it was so small.”
As well as the disappointing size of the building, the reviewer found the presence of security creepy. They said: “Kind of underwhelming and wee creeps. On the roof ready to shoot you with snipers if you try to troll them.”
The Scot advised those interested in the White House to stick to Google Maps. They said: “Seen it once won’t go back. Better just Googling a photo of it.”
Another user from Binfield, an English village in Berkshire, found the security at the site to be verging on “paranoia.” They wrote: Why is it so hard to visit?”
They had tried to visit in August 2018 but found no one would respond to their emails to get entry into the building.
They wrote: “As a U.K. national I was very disappointed that I was not only unable to visit the White House but the current security arrangements around it means that it is also very difficult to see walking around the area.
“Of course, I understand the need for security but the blanket ban of foreigners visiting and the refusal of anyone to respond to emails is simply ridiculous. Add in the road closures and lack of public viewing and you simply have paranoia! It’s easier to access Buckingham Palace.”
This reviewer wasn’t the only Briton to compare the US attraction to those in the UK unfavorably. One, who advised visitors to “get ready for disappointment,” said: “We have just returned from Washington, which is fabulous. However, having been advised that only US citizens can now visit the White House we were devastated to find that you can get nowhere near the front due to security barriers and wire fences. They are at no greater risk than any other famous buildings throughout the world.
“Add to that a corporate event taking place on the South Lawn had a huge TV screen completely obliterating the front of the house, don’t get your hopes up. Can you imagine Americans not being allowed into Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle etc or indeed corporate events being allowed to block everyone’s view?
“Think a past president once said the House belonged to the American people – well they did a cracking job at blocking their view as well. Fortunately, when we visited with our children a number of years ago we got a brilliant view and a wave from President Clinton as he went back into the White House.”
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Many were disappointed to find they couldn’t tour the White House on their trip. It is currently a rule at the White House that Britons who wish to visit must apply to do so in the UK before their visit.
The White House website explains: “Foreign nationals wishing to tour the White House must apply to their country’s embassy or consulate in Washington, D.C. This means that the U.S. Embassy in London and the Consulates General in Belfast and Edinburgh can’t arrange a tour for you.
“We understand from our colleagues at the British Embassy in Washington that they are unable to facilitate White House tours for any British citizens now or in the foreseeable future.”
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One user who went by “YorkshireGrandma” said the White House was missing a “sense of pride”. She wrote: “Unable to get near enough to get a sense of the place. On my last visit could lean against the railings and clearly see aspects of the building seen on TV.
“Could walk along the street and see the other beautiful buildings and monuments. They are now just a blur in the distance. There was a sense of pride that was missing this time.”
The British have an interesting history with the White House, after setting the original version on fire in 1984 in what is called the “burning of Washington”. The burning of Washington saw the British invade Washington City and set fire to multiple buildings, including the White House.
The British occupied Washington City for 26 hours, in a move that was in part a retaliation for the American forces looting the Province of Upper Canada, part of what was British Canada.
After the burning, only the exterior of the building remained, which had to be rebuilt due to the damage. British forces ransacked numerous objects from the original White House, few of which have been returned. The rebuilding of the White House exploited enslaved labour and free labour.
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