One of the great pleasures of exploring the UK is found down the narrow, winding, hedgerow-lined lanes that run like capillaries through the lush, pastoral landscape. Travel down the UK’s ubiquitous B-roads for long enough and you’ll undoubtedly be given cause for a double-take, wondering whether that sign post did in fact point the way to ‘Brown Willy’ or whether you’d misread it.
But fear not, your eyesight has not failed you because, scattered across the Great British Isles like a giant scavenger hunt, are some of the most bizarre and hilarious place names you’ll find anywhere in the world.
These places are not the victims of seditious pranksters nor have had their names chosen by the cast of Monty Python; they are real, and you can go there.
One Small World presents the A-Z of the UK’s most hilarious place names.
A is for:
Take a saunter through the tongue-twisting village of Ainderby Quernhow in North Yorkshire, and be careful what you catch in Anton’s Gowt, Lincolnshire. Or venture to Scotland’s ominously named Black Isle to visit the not-so-ominously-named town of Arpafeelie.
B is for:
Take your pick! The B’s offer a valuable insight in the common ancestry of the UK sense of humour with such corkers as Boghead, Blue Vein and Balls Cross. And let’s not forget a nod to one of their favourite pastimes with the towns of Beer, Booze and Beercrocombe (which was named while burping, I suspect.)
And if there was any justice then Butt Hole Road in South Yorkshire (no longer in existence sadly) would service the towns of Bell End and Buttock. And let’s not forget Bummers Hills in Hertfordshire, Brown Willy in Cornwall and the posterior trifecta of Bottoms, Bullyhole Bottom and Bottom Flash.
C is for:
Catbrain, Crackpot and Cuckoo’s Knob. That is of course unless the gloriously named Cocklick End, Chewton Mendip or Crapstone take your fancy.
But the definite stand out: the lucky hamlet of Cockup Bottom, which sits beneath the hill, the Great Cockup, which is slightly taller than the Little Cockup. And all this happens in Cumbria.
Dancing Dicks and the not-so-likely-to-be-visited towns of Droop and Dull.
E is for:
Eccup…which is a Cockney hiccup; or one size larger than an D-Cup.
F is for:
Ludford’s great (and perhaps only) drawcard, Fanny Hands Lane. Which means that whoever’s hands they were, had recently been to Essex’s little parish of Fingringhoe…
But on the family-holiday side of things, you are also able to visit Friendly or Frisby-on-the-Wreake, or travel all the way to the Shetlands for the promise of Funzie.
G is for:
A happy-go-lucky visit to Gamlingay Cinques, Giggleswick or Golden Balls. But as we know it’s not all laughter and sunshine in the UK, particularly for the people living in Great Snoring, Grimness or Grumbla which is luckily located far away from people at Lands End.
H is for:
Lake Hen Poo, which probably doesn’t attract many swimmers. But beware of Hinton-in-the-Hedges who goes looking for his Heart’s Delight with his Haseley Knob to the Hole in the Wall, hoping to Howle.
I is for:
Idle, in West Yorkshire. We were due for a rest.
J is for:
Getting active again at the town of Jump in South Yorkshire.
K is for:
The energetic-sounding Kittybrewster in Scotland or the take-no-crap Knockdown in Wiltshire.
L is for:
Lost, which if you find this town in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, most certainly describes your situation. Beware the inescapable toilet humour at Loose Bottom and Loud Water. And be prepared for surprises at Lickey End and Lickham Bottom.
M is for:
Minges. Nuf said. Oh, and Mumbles.
N is for:
With mumbling on your mind you might as well mumble your way through the townships of Nanpantan and Nempnett Thrubwell. And be sure to visit Hertfordshire’s friendly town of Nasty.
One town I advise you to not visit is the graphically dubbed Nether Wallop. Tourism wasn’t high on their list of desirables when it came to founding the town. Nice work guys.
O is for:
The grammatically questionably Oh Me Edge in Northumberland.
P is for:
When it comes to naming a place, morbid depression should never be the angle you’re aiming for. But no one ever told that to the people of Pity Me.
Yet the townsfolk of Pisser Clough or Pease Pottage didn’t do too much better. And I’ve always wondered why Pett Bottom and Pratt’s Bottom were worthy of immortalisation.
Q is for:
The constantly terrified people of Quaking Houses.
R is for:
The mystical-sounding Ryme Intrinseca or the unimaginatively named Row of Trees. And, like the plot like of an D-grade 80’s grind flick, Ramsey Forty Foot, getting Raw, with Rotten Bottom. After which he probably had to Rest and Be Thankful.
S is for:
Strap yourself in as the UK really hits its stride with Sexhow, Shagg and the curiously descriptive Shellow Bowells.
Scratchy Bottom and Sandy Balls were probably named at the same time, while Splott and Spunkie are a little too gooey for my tastes.
And there is no way that Shitterton in Dorset was not a vindictive selection. But whoever it was, you deserve a round of applause for getting away with it.
And because of a historical spelling mistake, we have for perpetuity, Slutshole Lane in the unassuming town of Besthorpe, Norfolk.
Tongue of Gangsta, and his Titty Ho. What up, Titaboutie? All of which sound preferable to the unfortunately named Turdees in North Lanarkshire. (Curious note: There is also a Turdees Restaurant in America…yum)
Turner’s Puddle sounds like it was hardly worth naming but The Bastard, which is a hill in Kintyre, sounds like it earned its name. While Trophy Pit Crag must have been named by just picking words from a hat.
And just in case you were missing the potty humour we wouldn’t forget Tomtit’s Bottom and Tincleton, which I suspect is also used as a potty training euphemism. And Twatt, we can’t forget Twatt…
U is for:
Ugley, simple, straight to the point. And Undy (which makes me wonder whether there is a town of Panty out there as well).
V is for:
Vobster in Somerset. Which is a lobster on video.
W is for:
Wetwang, which makes me think they shouldn’t have anglicised its original Viking name of Vetvanger. But then we have the towns of Wincle and Wyre Piddle so at least it is in good company.
X is for:
Even the Welsh don’t have place names starting with X.
Y is for:
Yealand Redmayne and Yetts O’Muckhart. But while Yealand Redmayne might just have been named after a fiery-headed Viking invader, the equally striking Yetts O’Muckhart roughly translates into ‘Gate in Pig Farming Country’…
Z is for:
Zeal Monachorum. And you’ll be interested to know that the manor of Zeal Monachorum was given to the Abbey of Buckfast in 1018 by King Cnut…no, that is not a typo…but it is an appropriate place to end.
Be they intentionally unique, lost in translation, or a legitimate piece of history being sniggered at by modernity, each of these towns is a gem in the crown of country that obviously has no problem laughing at itself.
And that is of course, a good thing.
Trackback from your site.