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.
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 Name||Pronunciation|
|Euston||Yoo-sten (not Houston)|
|Gloucester Road||Gloss-ter Road|
|Grosvenor Square||Grove-na Square|
|Holborn||Hole-bun or Ho-bun|
|King's Cross St Pancras||King's Cross Saint Pan-cras (not Pancreas)|
|Leicester Square||Less-ter Square|
|Tottenham Court Road||Tot-num Court Road|
|West/East India Quay, Heron Quay||West/East India Kee, Heron Kee (as in 'doorkey')|