British English: How Do You Pronounce some of Britain’s Strange Place Names? Check out This Massive List of British Place Pronunciations

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One of the most perplexing things travelers in Britain can come across is how to properly pronounce the place names in Britain. Places that have the same name in somewhere like the USA or Australia, will be pronounced completely different in the UK. We posted a handy chart for London pronunciations a few weeks ago and it was very popular, so we thought we’d create one for the rest of the UK. See the London Chart here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are plenty of those out there. We’ve kept the list focused on popular places that Americans would be likely to visit and also places that are particularly indecipherable to an American tongue. There are also local pronunciations that will differ – we’ve tried to focus on how anyone in Britain would say it based on convention.

This list is a ‘living’ page so feel free to add your own places and pronunciations in the comments and we’ll keep adding them to this list.

  • Alciston, East Sussex - Aston
  • Alfriston, East Sussex - All-Friston
  • Allerton, Bradford, West Yorkshire - Ollerton
  • Alnmouth - Allenmouth
  • Alnwick (Northumberland) - Anic
  • Althorp (where Princess Diana is buried) The village is pronounced Olthorpe but the House is pronounced Orltrop (notice the reversal of the O and the R!)
  • Ansty, West Sussex An-Sty
  • Ardingly (Sussex) - Ardingl-eye
  • Bamburgh (Northumberland) - Bambruff or Bambro?
  • Beaconsfield - Bekonsfield
  • Beaulieu - Bewley
  • Bedworth - Bedduth
  • Belvoir - Beever
  • Berwick on Tweed - Berik on Tweed
  • Bicester - Bister
  • Boughton, Lincolnshire - Bootun
  • Brough, East Yorkshire - Bruff
  • Burpham, Surrey or West Sussex  Ber-Fam
  • Chippenham (see comments at top of page) - Chipnam    (locally)   Sent by Ann Cook Chipenum – James Bruton
  • Chiswick, London - Chizzik
  • Cholmondeston, Cheshire - Chumston
  • Cholmondley - Chumly
  • Edinburgh – Edinboro or Edinburah (just NOT Edinburg)
  • Eltham, SE London - El-tum
  • Etchilhampton  (near Devizes Wilts) - Eyeshalton
  • Fowey (Cornwall) Foy
  • Frome - Froom
  • Gillingham, Kent - Jillingham
  • Gillingham, Norfolk & Dorset - Gillingham (hard sounding “g” as in girl)
  • Gotham, Nottinghamshire - Goat’am
  • Glasgow – Glazga
  • Gloucester – Gloster
  • Greenwich – Grenich
  • Grosmont, North Yorkshire - Grow-mont
  • Grosvenor – Grovenor
  • Harrogate – Harrowget
  • Hastings, Sussex - Haystings
  • Holborn, Central London - Hoe-burn
  • Hunstanton (Norfolk) - Hunston
  • Keswick, Cumbria, England - Kezik
  • Kettering (Northamptonshire)Ke’-rin - Apostrophe indicated glottal stop
  • Launceston (UK) - Lawnston
  • Leadenham, Lincolnshire - Led’nam
  • Leicester – Lester
  • Leominster - Lemster
  • Lewes, East Sussex - Loowis
  • Mildenhall (Wilthsire) - Minal  (to rhyme with spinal)
  • Milton Keynes - Milton Keens
  • Mousehole, Cornwall - Mowzel
  • Norwich - NORRich
  • Penistone - Penny -stun
  • Plymouth – Plimuth
  • Ruislip - Ryeslip
  • Salisbury, England - Sawlsbry
  • Scone, Perth, Scotland - Skoon
  • Shrewsbury - Shrowsberry
  • Slough - Slow (to rhyme with how/now)
  • Southwark – Suthuk
  • Truro, Cornwall - Tru-row
  • Warwick – Warrick
  • Welwyn - Wellin
  • Weymouth, Dorset - Waymuth
  • Worcester - Wooster (as in Bertie Wooster)

Do you have any other places you’d like to see on the list? Leave them in the comments below!

Comments

  1. avatar says

    I have been going to Hunstanton since I was a little girl and I have never heard it pronounced Hunston. It is pronounced as it is spelled. Also Glasgow is pronounced Glasgoe .. maybe Scottish people pronounce it differently?

      • avatarChristine says

        I lived in Hunstanton in the 1950s and certainly then some local people called it Hunston – maybe it’s just an old pronunciation that’s died out.

  2. avatarLaura Mackfall says

    Meopham (Kent) – Mepp’um
    Wrotham (Kent) – Root’um
    Trottiscliffe (Kent) – locals call this Trosley
    Ightham (Kent) – Eyetum
    Dodworth; Cudworth (both in S Yorks) – locals… Dodduth; Cudduth

  3. avatarWim Stroman says

    oohh yes as a Dutchman who regular goes to the National Tramway museum, I always hear different ways to pronounce the towns name “CRICH” I mostly hear: craitch, or even croitch, but it is absolute not krik, what they suggest in London…..

  4. avatarJackie says

    I think some of these are in Wales, but I would love a phonetic pronunciation for them because know I am mangling them badly when I try to pronounce them. Llanfarian, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

  5. avatarJulian Cox says

    Well done on most of these, esp. the ‘Althorp’ variations….but Kettering?, I can tell you it’s pronounced ‘Kettrin’.by locals & non locals alike. (Also ‘Solsberry’ for Salisbury, not ‘Sawlsbury’ unless spoken by a true tosser) JMHO. :-)

    • avatarNicholas E says

      Salisbury as ‘sorsberry’ & Marborough ‘morbra’ instead of ‘maarl-borough’ are indicators of being of a certain age and education and mark one out not as a tosser, i would hope, but just a dinosaur. (goes with pronouncing often as ‘offen’)

  6. avatar says

    Norfolk, Suffolk… here in the States people say “Nor-folk”, where in England, they pronounce it “Nor-fuk” and “Suf-fuk”…which always made me laugh because I thought people were swearing ;)

  7. avatarKate says

    All mine are Scottish because that’s where I lived! Kirkcudbright = Kir-COO-bree. Milngavie = Mill-GUY. Strathaven = Stray-ven. Culzean- Cull-ayn.

  8. avatarLindsay Quigley says

    Glasgow should have read Glesga, but only for some. An interesting one on the outskirts of the city is Milngavie pronounced Mill-guy.

  9. avatarMark says

    Edinburgh is NEVER pronounced “Edinboro”. Ever. And Glasgow might be pronounced “Glesga” or “Glesgay” but not “Glasga”.

  10. avatarSteve Smith says

    I thought Islay was pronounced “EYE-la,” but then I’m Canadian. And my in-law who comes from Edinburgh pronounces it “EDin-bruh.”

  11. avatarSoos says

    We tend to shorten “ham” at the end of town names to “um”. So Birmingham is pronounced “Birmingum” and Gillingham is “Jillingum”.

  12. avatar says

    Bamburgh – Bam-bruh

    Flitwick – Flit-ick

    Luton – Loo-tun – actually as someone who grew up in the town, there is no “t” in Luton, so Loo-un

  13. avatar says

    there is no “standard” pronunciation for place names really. there are some places with the same name but, depending on whereabouts in the country they are, they can be pronounced differently.

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