Like them or loathe them, there’s no substitute for a public toilet if you suddenly get the urge to go when you’re out and about – but they aren’t always the nicest or most pleasant of places.
In fact, a new public poll by Soap Supplier found the average score for the UK’s public toilets was a thumbs-down 3.9 out of 10.
Lisburn in Northern Ireland was voted the worst place to spend a penny in the UK, receiving a miserable 2.1 rating. Southampton’s public toilets were ranked the second worst, with a score of 2.5, closely followed by Portsmouth, with a score of 2.7.
Bad smells are the worst thing about public toilets for 34.6% of the people surveyed, followed by no toilet roll (27.1%), no mirrors (15.1%), no soap (10.4%), a toilet that doesn’t flush (7.9%), and a broken hand-dryer (4.9%).
But what about the locations with winning loos? Here are six of the UK places with the best public toilets:
Soap Supplier’s poll found Britain’s best public loo was in Worcester, with an impressive rating of 6.7 out of 10.
Edinburgh came in second in place, with a decent-enough 5.6 out of 10.
Wolverhampton was third with a score of 4.8.
4. St Andrew’s Precinct, Droitwich
The UK’s Best Public Toilet category in the 2017 Loo of the Year awards was won by Wychavon District Council for the public toilets in St Andrew’s Precinct, Droitwich, in the West Midlands. Run by the British Toilet Association, the awards encourage the highest standards in all ‘away from home’ washrooms, with inspectors paying a visit to each toilet and scoring them on a range of factors, including cleanliness, safety and hygiene.
5. Wembley WC, London
One of the best designed public loos in the UK is at Wembley – but not in the stadium. The Wembley WC, designed by Gort Scott, is on a street near the stadium and made it into sixth place on a global ‘Rest Room Oscars’ list to celebrate creativity and design in buildings often perceived as dull.
Standing over 5m high and with a stylish gold perforated metal facade, this cool public toilet is in the middle of a landscaped and pedestrianised area of Wembley. It has a hard-wearing concrete base, and above head-height, the arty public convenience becomes a filigree-decorated shiny metal screen, allowing for light and ventilation without letting people see in. And to set the seal on this design masterpiece, a perforated water-cut screen creates the effect of a glowing lantern after dark.
Experts from the website Design Curial sifted through thousands of entries to list public toilets from China, Japan, Switzerland, Poland, New Zealand and the US in the top 10 best designed loos. The number one spot was taken by the ‘architectural marvel’ Centennial Park Amenities in Sydney, Australia.
6. Hafod Eryri toilets, Snowdon
The Hafod Eryri public toilets are the highest toilets in Wales, in a spectacular setting on Snowdon. The loos are in the architect-designed visitor centre on the 1,085m (3,560ft) peak. The centre opened in 2009 and receives around half a million visitors a year, so while the loos are in a beautiful place, they may well be very busy!
Another public toilet with stunning views was the old Cornish coast toilet block in Charlestown, where BBC blockbuster Poldark was filmed. However, the ladies’ and gents’ public loos, which had ‘stunning panoramic and jaw-dropping sea views’ southwards across St Austell Bay and its historic harbour, were sold for a whopping £115,000 in 2015, to a former model who wanted to convert them into a romantic holiday home.
Curious about how the loos near you scored? Soap Supplier have compiled an infographic map showing how each public bathroom was ranked across the largest cities in the UK.