The UK has its fair share of weird and wonderful place names.

Here’s our pick of the quirkiest ones across three of its nations – England, Scotland and Wales. Why not explore places local to you for your daily exercise or venture further afield post-lockdown?

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Train station building in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Luckily, the name of this Anglesey village can be shortened to Llanfair PG if you want less of a tongue twister. Its full title makes it the UK’s longest place name and the world’s second, with a whopping 58 characters. It translates to the just-as-catchy ‘St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the Red Cave’.

Locals changed the name from a shorter version to its current length in the 19th century to attract tourists and it seems to have worked. No visit is complete without taking a picture of the railway station sign – which has the village’s full name on proud display. Not sure how to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch? Hear weatherman Liam Dutton say it (without pausing for breath!).

Explore Llanfair PG with one of Ordnance Survey’s maps of Anglesey

Bland Shire Council's General Manager, Ray Smith, at the the Bland, Dull and Boring billboard on the Newell Highway, Bland Shire, Australia. Image taken by Donna Smith
Bland Shire Council’s General Manager, Ray Smith, at the the Bland, Dull and Boring billboard on the Newell Highway, Bland Shire, Australia. Image taken by Donna Smith

Dull

The village of Dull is officially linked with Boring in Oregon, USA and Bland in New South Wales, Australia. The three make up the League of Extraordinary Communities, an alliance formed to draw tourists to the areas. The ‘Trinity of Tedium’ celebrates its union with an annual party, which we’re sure is anything but dull.

The name of the Scottish village likely comes from the Pictish for ‘field’. It may be small – with one row of houses and a church – but its location in the Highlands makes for some stunning scenery and walks.

The OS Explorer map of Perth and Kinross is available from Ordnance Survey

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho! is the only place in the UK to feature an exclamation mark in its name – a fun fact for future pub quizzes. Its other claim to fame is that it’s named after a book, Charles Kingsley’s novel of the same title. Based in nearby Bideford, the book became a bestseller when published in 1855.

Local entrepreneurs capitalised on its success to grow tourism in the area. They built a hotel and other holiday accommodation, which they named after the book, and the growing resort also became known as Westward Ho!. If you visit the area today, you’ll find lots on offer, including a Blue Flag beach, surf schools, and England’s oldest golf course.

Find out more about the area in an Ordnance Survey map

Puddletown

The delightfully-named Puddletown is a pretty village in Dorset, formerly not-so-delightfully-named Piddletown. According to the BBC, ‘piddle’ means ‘fen’ or ‘marsh’ in Old English. The village’s location on the River Piddle may also be the origin of its name. Puddletown is another place in our list that has a literary link. Thomas Hardy grew up nearby and featured this area of Dorset in many of his works.

Visitors can see Hardy’s Cottage – the birthplace of the author – nearby, go for a wander in Puddletown Forest or explore Athelhampton House and Gardens, a 15th century manor with ornate grounds.

Discover the area in an Ordnance Survey map

Overlooking the beach and cliffs at Beer in Lyme Bay Devon England UK
Overlooking the beach and cliffs at Beer in Lyme Bay Devon England UK

Beer

The seaside village of Beer is the perfect spot to enjoy a cold, takeaway beverage. It’s located along the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and boasts a shingle beach, superb walks on the South West Coast Path, and a quaint fishing harbour.

Beer is a longstanding settlement – with a reference in the Domesday Book. Sadly, its moniker doesn’t refer to the drink but may come from ‘bearu’, an Old English word for ‘grove’, in reference to the forest around the original settlement.

See more of the area in one of Ordnance Survey’s maps

Discover more about Britain’s quirkiest place names in Strumpshaw, Tincleton & Giggleswick’s Marvellous Map of Great British Place Names.

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