Manchester might boast a lot of things to keep us entertained – art, music, culture, sport, nightlife, shopping and green spaces – but if you ever needed a reason to escape the city this might be it. Located just two hours away from Manchester is a village famous for a very unique reason- the length of its name. Consisting of a whopping 58 letters, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest place name in the UK and one of the longest village names in the world.
Situated on the island of Anglesey in Wales on the Menai Strait next to the Britannia Bridge and across the strait from Bangor, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is also named Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll or Llanfair PG for short. The name means “The Church of St Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio near a red cave”- talk about scenic. You can pronounce it by breaking the name down into small parts like so: “Llan-vire-pooll-guin-gill-go-ger-u-chwurn-drob-ooll-llantus-ilio-gogo-goch”.
History of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’s name
Originally known as Pwllgwyngyll – “the pool of the white hazels” in medieval times, the village went on to have numerous names, including its lengthy one used today. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is said to incorporate various place names although not many people know the real story behind the village name’s origin.
According to Sir John Morris-Jones – a Welsh grammarian, academic and poet – a local tailor (whose identity was never revealed) created the long name for the village’s railway station in 1869 as part of a publicity stunt. The intention was that the over the top name would bring tourists to the destination, generating some much-needed income for the Welsh village.
A directory published several years before the tailor’s supposed renaming of the village shows that the village had a slightly shorter form of ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerbwlltysiliogogo’. This suggests the tailor cheekily added 18 letters to create the longest place name in Europe. Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu in New Zealand holds the record as the longest place name in the world, with 83 letters.
To have the accolade of the longest place name in Europe, the tailor added the reference to the whirlpool in the Menai Strait known as the Swellies (“y chwyrn drobwll”) and to the tiny St. Tysilio chapel located on a nearby island (“Llantysilio”). The red cave reference (“gogogoch”) is said to have been inspired by the Cardiganshire parish of Llandysiliogogo in West Wales- so not all local references.
What’s there to do in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch not only has a lengthy name but also a lengthy list of things to do in and around the area. You of course can’t miss views of the huge Menai Suspension Bridge, the crossing between the island of Anglesey and Bangor in mainland Wales.
For those who love the great outdoors, you’ll find Plas Cadant Hidden Gardens, National Trust Caeau Glan-y-mor nature reserve and Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber (an iconic Neolithic tomb with a celestial secret) all a short drive away. Plus, other activities you can enjoy whilst in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch include a visit to Pili Palas Nature World, James Pringle Weavers department store or the local galleries, rock climbing at The Indy Climbing Wall, and even a boat trip down the Menai Strait.
Another place to visit is Plas Newydd Historic House and Gardens, the ancestral family home of the Marquess of Anglesey, which sits on the shores of the Menai Straits. Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of Snowdonia, the surrounding gardens and extensive woodland walks with a possible chance of spotting a red squirrel.
How to get to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
If you’re bringing a set of wheels, then it should take around two hours to get here – depending where you’re coming from in Manchester and on the traffic conditions of course.
Alternatively, if you’d rather come to the village with the longest name in the UK via train, then you’re best hopping aboard at Manchester Victoria and then changing at Chester. The journey should take around two hours and 40 minutes and cost about £40 give or take.
So if you’re looking for your next day trip out of Manchester, then why not head to the village with the longest name in the UK? With scenic walks, history galore and a couple of pubs to keep you fed and watered – what’s not to love!?