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


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!

Read More at Anglotopia


    • avatar says

      I found ‘Keighley’ on a world atlas, and, assuming it was pronounced ‘Kay’ lee’, named my youngest daughter after the town…..;-) I found out years later how it was pronounced in England. How do you get ‘Keith’ out of ‘Keigh’?

    • avatar says

      I was about the say thing Gloria – guess why??? Elise – the word “Thoroughly’ might give you the answer;the suffix ‘ghly’ [with or without the ‘e’] give the ‘th’ sound – hence it is not Keith – lee’ – it’s ‘Key -thly’ – hope this helps.

    • avatarAndrew says

      Edinburgh is never, but never ‘Edinboro’ but ‘Edinburu (short ‘u’)’ or ‘Embru’ ‘Strathavon’ is ‘Straven’., ‘Avoch’ is ‘Och’, ‘Anstruther is ‘Anster’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Aberchirder’ is pronounced ‘Foggy’.

  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?

  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 😉

    • avatarMarcia says

      Well C.S.Janey it is our country and you lot naff up most things, how the ek do you get Marsha out of Marcia?

      • avatar says

        Hey, I’ve always made sure to learn to pronounce things the correct way, not just the way Americans do in general. Lol. But I’m not sure on Marsha…I would pronounce Marcia “mar-see-uh”…not Marsha. :)

  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.”

    • avatar says

      New -uk gives too much emphasisi on the short “u”, I think.

      New-ack gives too much emphasis on the short “a”.

      It is almost a short “e” sound, New-erk, but don’t make the “er” too pronouunced, like you are unsure about something “errr”. :)

      It almost has an absence of a vowel there in the way that we say it (not far from newark).

      I don’t know the proper symbols, I am afraid.

  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.

  14. avatarJennifer says

    Trying to catch a train from London back to Banbury. No one could tell me where to go, cause here, it’s pronounced Ban-brie, instead of Ban-burry. I had to point it out on a train schedule.

  15. avatar says

    I had to smile when I read Salisbury… When I was a student in England, I used to travel a lot with a friend, every weekend we went to different places. One day, we wanted to visit Salisbury and Stonehenge and hat to change trains somwhere on the way (I think it actually was in Slough 😉 ). We asked the guy at the train station where we had to go to get the train to Salisbury (pronounced it something like “Sailsbury” or so) and he was like “What, where you want to go?” We were quite puzzled and he was laughing his bum off. He then went “Oh, you mean Sooolsbury?” – and we were having a good laugh and a running joke for the next few days.

  16. avatarLynette cumming says

    It is pronounce ‘shrews’ bury! Not shrowsbury! I live in shrewsbury, an for some strange reason people who dont think its pronounced shrowsbury, from its original name, in 400ad of shrosenbury!

    • avatarSharon says

      I was visiting the UK in 1979 and was asked by a train conductor my destination. I told him ‘shrews’ bury. When he called the station, he said ‘shrows’ bury.

  17. avatarsarah says

    It isn´t hard it’s only the people trying to be posh or complete outsiders that don’t know any different (and basically can’t read) that pronounce it Shrowsbury. The locals and “normal” people call it “Shrews bury” as in a few Shrews the little mouse like thing and Bury like the place.

  18. avatarJacqui says

    Wrotham – Kent…………Rootum

    Beaminster -Dorset ……..Bemster

    Trottiscliffe Kent …………..Trosley

    • avatarDave says

      Nonsense, Shrewsbury has always been pronounced Shrowsbury, and I was born and brought up there. It was only during the influx of people from west midlands county during the 70s and 80s that they started to pronounce it (incorrectly) as it’s spelt

  19. avatarvesper1931 says

    Mytholmroyd – the first time I tried to pronounce this my Yorkshire boyfriend at the time took a lot of pleasure telling me how wrong I was

  20. avatarJuliet Wallace says

    Visited a friend in Folkestone…was quickly corrected after saying Folk-stone. He told me its pronounced Folk-stun.

  21. avatarChris says

    Holborn has no “r” sound … it’s more like “HO’bun”
    Marylebone is “Marlbun” or even “Mol’bun” not to be confused with:
    Malvern which is “Mol’vun”
    Chichester – the “i” is short, as in “if”, not long as in “eye” …
    and of course :
    Horsted Keynes is “Canes” and Milton Keynes is “Keens” …

  22. avatarNuneatonian says

    Bedworth is pronounced as it’s spelt, unless you come from it. I was born and grew up in the other half of the borough and I never heard it called Bedduth unless I went to it. Edinburgh is NEVER pronounced Edinboro except by Americans who haven’t previously been told how to say it.

  23. avatarCon Jager says

    Cirencester, please? Can’t figure that one out despite riding the bus over there – announcement was unintelligible :-)

  24. avatarDaniel says

    I heard an American at a station pronounce Loughborough as ‘Looga-barooga’.
    Never fails to make me smile :-)
    The correct pronunciation is ‘Luff-burra’.

  25. avatarMark says

    Carlisle – Car lile, Longtown (north of Carlisle) Longtoon, Barrow-in-Furness – Barra, places where I was born and brought up. oop north like. When Cumbria was better known as Kumberland!

  26. avatarJane says

    Greenwich is generally pronounced ‘Grenitch’ even by Londoners, but I now work in the area and it is usually pronounced ‘Grinidge’ by locals. There is a town called Meols near Liverpool, which should be pronounced ‘Mells’. My favourite though, is a road junction in Birkenhead called ‘Charing Cross’ but pronounced with a long ‘ar’ sound as in ‘spar’. When I moved to London I was teased incessantly for pronouncing it like that, as the station in London is said ‘Charring Cross’ as in ‘chariot’!

  27. avatarLynn Simpson says

    Wymondham (Norfolk) is pronounced Windham but the same spellin for a village in Leicestershire is pronounced Wy-mond-ham

  28. avatarMorris Coleman says

    Got one for you…just mispronounced on BBC News…. Caldmore, near Walsall……is….. Kar-ma… As in “Calmer”

  29. avatarPaul Sexton says

    Well you might try these
    Ipswich IPS- WITCH, Norwich NOR- IDGE, Greenwich GREN- IDGE,Dulwich DUL -IDGE why WICH is pronounced differently I dont know

  30. avatarWang Xin says

    How about writing in all capitals where the stress of the syllable is? A few of the names I’m uncertain of the stress, though most are on the first I believe.

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