How To Pronounce the Names of Places in London

A street sign for Leicester Square
••• Julian Love / Getty Images

There are many London place names that have a less than obvious pronunciation, so this quick guide should help you fit right in with the locals when asking for directions. While many visitors struggle with pronunciations, Londoners can find a number of the city's place names puzzling too. In fact, when recorded announcements were first introduced on the London Underground, Plaistow (an area in east London) was pronounced incorrectly.

Pronunciation Guide

Some classic mispronunciations include Borough (Bu-ra), Greenwich (Grin-idge) and Leicester Square (Less-ter Square). Note that the schwa (the most common vowel sound in English) is a frequent sound in the London dialect so the -er ending in many London place names with two syllables will often be pronounced as a weak vowel sound. Also, Londoners have adopted the 'non-rhotic' accent over the years which means that the written letter 'r' is not pronounced unless it's followed by a vowel, e.g. Earls Court and Anerley.

London Place NamePronunciation
AldwychAuld-witch
BermondseyBer-mun-zee
BoroughBu-ra
ChiswickChiz-ik
ClaphamClap-um
DulwichDull-itch
EustonYoo-sten (not Houston)
GatwickGat-wik
Gloucester RoadGloss-ter Road
GreenwichGrin-idge
Grosvenor SquareGrove-na Square
HolbornHole-bun or Ho-bun
King's Cross St PancrasKing's Cross Saint  Pan-cras (not Pancreas)
KnightsbridgeN-eye-ts-brij
Leicester SquareLess-ter Square
MaryleboneMar-li-bun
PlaistowPlarse-toe
PlumsteadPlum-stid
RuislipRye-slip
StreathamStre-tem
SouthwarkSuth-irk
Tottenham Court RoadTot-num Court Road
West/East India Quay, Heron Quay  West/East India Kee, Heron Kee (as in 'doorkey')  
WoolwichWool-idge