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In the U.K. there are many towns and villages with strange sounding names and, in some cases, these names are not said as they are spelled, which causes a great deal of confusion for visitors.  Now I am sure this is not only a British phenomenon, there must be similar examples around the world, so if you know of any please send them to me so they can be added to this page.

There will obviously also be differences with pronunciation from area to area, as there are always many different dialects within any country.  

In the U.K. one of the most common differences is in words like "castle" and "grass".  Some areas say a short "a" sound (as in the word "as") whereas others say a long "aaarrr" sound (as in the word "chart").  This means that places like "Bath" can be said as spelled or "Barth".

An example of this can be found with "Chippenham", which one of my newsletter subscribers kindly sent to me as being pronounced as "Chipnam".  This, I feel, is the way it is said in the West of Britain whereas, in the South I think we are more likely to say it as it is spelled i.e., "Chip-en-ham".

The actual pronunciation is not going to be easy to explain but I will try to do it phonetically, it will, however, rely on visitors knowing a little about the English language.

As an added dimension to this page I have decided to include some links to other sites giving specific information on the places mentioned.

For ease of operation I have endeavoured to keep this as one page but, due to its popularity and visitor contributions, it has now become somewhat unwieldy and, therefore, I had split it into two.








Albany, Western Australia  Al-bany NOT All-bany.


Albany Creek (suburb of Brisbane, Queensland)



[it’s pronounced this way in New Zealand as well)

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Alciston, East Sussex    Aston

Stuart Pennington

Aldinga, South Australia All-dinga (not Al-dinga!!!) - see comments below

Al-dinga (not All-dinga)


Whoops, another difference of opinion!

Aldinga in South Australia is DEFINITELY pronounced ALL-dinga not AL-dinga (as in pronunciation of Alan). In fact it was a running joke in south aust because an interstate company were advertising land for sale there and pronounced it as 'AL-dinga' - people couldn't believe an interstate company that wanted to sell something to locals hadn't bothered to check the pronunciation of the place name.. Holly

Aldinga - its not a difference of opinion. All residents of Aldinga and South Australians generally pronounce it all-dinga. Only people outside SA who take a stab at it might pronounce al-dinga. As an ex-resident of the area, Aldinga was a regular holiday spot and indeed I visited there again last Christmas.

Martin Woods 

Alfreton Olfreton (although some disagree)

Ellena Lyons

Alfriston, East Sussex  All-Friston

Stuart Pennington

Allerton, Bradford, West Yorkshire Ollerton

Jeremy Double


Alnmouth Allenmouth

Martin Capps

Alnwick (Northumberland) Anic

Martin Capps

Alresford Alls-fid


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!)

Martin Underwood

Amlwch - Anglesey  Am-look

Andrew Moore

Ansty, West Sussex  An-Sty

Stuart Pennington

Ardingly (Sussex) Ardingl-eye

Joan Hall

Arlesey  Arll-Zee

Andrew Moore

Aspatria Spi'atry (by some)

Richard Tosswill

Averham, Nottinghamshire Air-rum


Barlestone, Leicestershire


Belsun (may just be locals though)

Sian Mitchell

Bamburgh (Northumberland) Bambruff

Ben Vizard


Martin Underwood

Barnoldswick (Lancashire) Barlick

Mark Iliff

Barnoldswick (as spelled)

Martin Underwood

Barnoldswick is not pronounced Barlick. Barlick is just a contraction of Barnoldswick.

Ken Ranson

Barrow-in-Furness   'Furness' is pronounced to sound like 'furnace' not 'finesse'.


Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire

Sian Mitchell

Barwell, Leicestershire



Sian Mitchell

Basket Range, South Australia Basket Range 

(Bas - as in Cash not Barsket)


You've written that it should be pronounced bas as in cash not barsket. This is a very Victorian pronunciation.

In Australia, the eastern states have a short 'a' and South Australia has a long 'ah' or 'ar' (branch, graph, grass, dance, etc) as you've mentioned in the third paragraph at the top of the page for England.

I live near Basket Range and some of my friends like in Basket Range, and it's pronounced "barsket" range.


Bawburgh, Norfolk





Bearsted Beerstid

Stephen Burgess

Beaulieu Bewley


Bedworth Bedduth

Anna Bland

Belvoir Beever                  

Sheila Fox

Berwick on Tweed 


Berik on Tweed



Brenda Young

Billesdon, Leicestershire   Billsdon


Bisham near Marlow, Bucks


Bis-Um  (NOT Bish-am)

Dave Bennett

Blackley, Greater Manchester  Blakely

Peter Draggett

Blidworth (Nottinghamshire) Blidduth

John Stolarski

Blidworth, is NORMALLY pronounced (by the vast majority of locals) as Blid-worth.


Bolsover (Derbyshire)   Baa-zer

John Stolarski

Boughton, Lincolnshire Bootun

Jed Bland

Bozeat, Northants. BOHzhut

Mark Wheaver

Bradley near Wolverhampton Braid-Lee

Craig Wilson

Bradwell Bradl                          

Liza Hicks

Braughing (Hertfordshire) Braff-ing

Janet Horton

Brewood, South Staffs near Wolverhampton    Brood

Keith Sedgley

Brisbane (Australia)



Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Brough, East Yorkshire Bruff
Burpham, Surrey or West Sussex  Ber-Fam

Stuart Pennington

Burton Lazars, Leicestershire

Burton Lazzers not Laz-aars

Sian Mitchell

Cairns (Queensland) Cans

Rozzie Chapman

Canberra, Australia




Canowindra (New South Wales)   Ca-NOWN-dra

Rozzie Chapman

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Chedzoy in Somerset  Chedzee 

Derek Appleyard

Chichester  Chidistr

Paul Haden

I personally think maybe a case of local dialect as opposed to actual pronunciation as I think many people would still say Chichester.

Chiddingly, East Sussex Chidding-Lie

Stuart Pennington

Chili, N.Y. Cheye-lye (both syllables rhyme.)

Karen Zethmayr

Chippenham (see comments at top of page)


Chipnam    (locally)   Sent by Ann Cook

Chipenum                      James Bruton

Chiswick, New South Wales, Australia Chizzik

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Chiswick, London Chizzik
Cholmondeston, Cheshire   Chumston
Cholmondley  Chumly

Bob Moon

Chop Gate (North Yorkshire)   Chopyat

Steve Watson

Cirencester As far as I know, this is the only "-cester" name to be pronounced as spelled: bearing in mind Gloucester, Leicester and Towcester), though I believe an obsolete pronunciation is Siss(i)ter (with or without the I in the centre)

Martin Underwood

Both my father and grandfather called it "Sissiter" as mentioned earlier, while my less "rural" mother refers to it as you spell it.

Ron Gosling

Cley (Norfolk) Cly (as in fly)


Cogenhoe Cook-no

Jacqueline Olford & Tony White





Coober Pedy, South Australia


Coo-buh pee-dee.

It's not Coober Peddy.


Costessey, Norfolk:


Cowbit, Cambridgeshire. Cubbit


Cranbourne (suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Creswick, Victoria, Australia Crezzick

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Croughton, S. Northants.  Crowton (rhyming with cow)  OR

Crowton (rhyming with crow)

Robert J. Croton

Croxton Kerrial. Leicestershire
Crow Sun Kerry ull (bird not people)

Sian Mitchelll

Cuckfield, West Sussex Cook-field

Alex Browning

Cuck-field (rhymes with 'luck')

This is one is contested a lot locally.

Patricia Whiteside

Cuckfield is, in fact, local to me (my children went to school there) and we have always called it Cook-field - it seems like another one of those places where those born and bred in a place pronounce it differently to 'incomers'.

Culzean, Ayrshire, Scotland Cul-ain

Lionel Bell

Daresbury (Cheshire) Darsberry


Darwen, Lancs Darren

Peter Draggett

Derby Darbie

Jörg Müller

Dewsbury, West Yorkshire Jewsbry


Doncaster, Victoria, Australia Doncassta

Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)

Duchally (in Auchterarder,Scotland) Duck-ley

Gayle Jones

Dulwich (South London and South Australia) Dullitch


Dun Laoghaire (Nr. Dublin, Ireland)


Dunn Leery (when speaking English)

Doon Lair-uh (Irish pronunciation - but not generally by the locals)

Rhoda Draper

Dunwich (Suffolk) Dunij


Eaglesfield Egglesfield

Richard Tosswill

Earley, Berkshire.  Erlee

Hamnet Quinn

Edinburgh, Scotland Edinbruuh or Edinburruh
Edinburgh, (suburb of Adelaide, Australia)


Peter G Gleeson, BA (Macq)



Eltham, SE London El-tum

Peter Roberts

Erith, Kent   Eer-ith

C. Smith

Esher   Eesher


Etchilhampton  (near Devizes Wilts)  Eyeshalton

Keith Lewis

Ewell Yoo-all


Eyam (Peak District)


Martin Capps

Eyre Peninsula, South Australia


Air Peninsula




Gary Ware

Forster, New South Wales Foster


Fowey (Cornwall)   Foy

Andrew Nott

Fwoy (Cornish pronunciation)

Keith Lewis

Fremantle, Western Australia  Fre-MANTel, NOT FREE-mantel




Furneux Pelham (Hertfordshire) Fir-nooks pellum

Janet Horton

Gallipolis, Ohio GAL-uh-puh-LEECE

Sounds like "Gal a police."

Gary Rector

Gamaliel, Missouri Ga-mail-ya

Tyler Pruett

Gillingham, Kent Jillingham 


Gillingham, Norfolk & Dorset

Gillingham (hard sounding "g" as in girl)

Rebecca MacMillan

Glamis, Angus Glarms

John Butler



Goatacre near Lyneham, Wilts   Goadoccur

Keith Lewis

Godmanchester (Cambs.) Gumster (old pronunciation)

Philip Robinson

Goonoo Goonoo (New South Wales)   Gunna Ga-NOO

Rozzie Chapman

Gorinchem (Netherlands) Horkem

Andrew Nott

Actually, it's CHorkem, with CH as in the Scottish pronunciation of "loch". There's no equivalent in English, but the Germans, Spanish and Arabs are among the people who can pronounce this.

Ivo Bouwmans

Gotham, Nottinghamshire   Goat'am


Goudhurst, Kent



Stephen Burgess




Grinnitch                              JD

Greenwith, South Australia   Grenith


Greysouthen Graysoon

Richard Tosswill

Groby Grooby                   Sent in by Sheila Fox
Grosmont, North Yorkshire Grow-mont

Peter Draggett

Grosvenor, Adelaide, South Australia Grove-ner


Guisborough Gizbrur or geezbrur
Happisburgh (Norfolk) Hazeborough

Moray Smith

Harewood (between Leeds and Harrogate) 

Harewood - locals

Har-wood  (upper class/gentry)

Martin Underwood

Harrogate Ha-rughget - locals

Rod Bell

Hastings, Sussex Haystings
Hawick (Scottish Borders) Hoyk

Peter Neale

Herstmonceux  Hurst-mon-soo

Ken Dryden

Hertford (Hertfordshire)   Har-fud (by some)

Janet Horton

Heather Heether                   

Sent in by Sheila Fox

Hele Bay, Devon Heel Bay
Hellingly    Hellingl-eye

Joan Hall

Hessle Hezzle


Heysham, Nr. Morecambe   Hee-Shum or Hee-Sham

Andrew Moore

Highams Park (NE London) 


Himes PAHk

Gary Taylor

Hoddesdon (Hertfordshire) Hods-dun

Janet Horton

Holborn, Central London Hoe-burn

Claire Wright

Holme, Nottinghamshire Home


Horsted Keynes   Horsted Canes

Faye Davies

Houghton, Cambridgeshire

Tony points out there are several Houghtons in the UK, and several pronunciations.

although to outsider ears the locals seem to pronounce it more as “Hoot’n”

Tony Chabot

Houghton, Leicestershire Hoeton

Jed Bland

Hunstanton (Norfolk)  Hunston

Keith Lewis

Idridgehay, Derbyshire

It's great hearing people stumble over this one. When pronounced more locally the emphasis of the H disappears and it becomes 'eye dri jay'.

Les Kirk

Ightham I-tem (Eye-tem)

Ken Dryden



   Contributed by Eric Bishop

Kedleston, Derbyshire



Jed Bland

Keighley (Yorkshire) Keethley


Keswick, Cumbria, England


Keswick, South Australia




Kettering (Northamptonshire) Ke'-rin

Apostrophe indicated glottal stop*

John Stolarski



Kirdford Curd-ford

Paul Haden


* A glottal stop is a speech sound articulated by a momentary, complete closing of the glottis in the back of the throat. Glottal stops occur in many languages and usually pattern as consonants.



The name "Devon" for the river in Nottinghamshire is not synonymous in pronunciation with the county in Western England. The Nottinghamshire river's name is pronounced "Deevon". Candida Lycett Green says so in her book "Unwrecked England".

William Sitwell



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