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 Name Pronunciation
Aldwych Auld-witch
Bermondsey Ber-mun-zee
Borough Bu-ra
Chiswick Chiz-ik
Clapham Clap-um
Dulwich Dull-itch
Euston Yoo-sten (not Houston)
Gatwick Gat-wik
Gloucester Road Gloss-ter Road
Greenwich Grin-idge
Grosvenor Square Grove-na Square
Holborn Hole-bun or Ho-bun
King's Cross St Pancras King's Cross Saint Pan-cras (not Pancreas)
Knightsbridge N-eye-ts-brij
Leicester Square Less-ter Square
Marylebone Mar-li-bun
Plaistow Plarse-toe
Plumstead Plum-stid
Ruislip Rye-slip
Streatham Stre-tem
Southwark Suth-irk
Tottenham Court Road Tot-num Court Road
West/East India Quay, Heron Quay West/East India Kee, Heron Kee (as in 'doorkey')
Woolwich Wool-idge
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