Llanfairpwll or Llanfair PG

By | Category: Travel destinations

These are two of the abbreviated names for Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch which is to be found just over the Menai Bridge on the island of Anglesey.

the famed sign for must-have photographs. Image – James Pringle

A favourite answer in pub quizzes, now it seems to have become the fall-back tourism story when overseas news broadcasters want a story about the UK that is a bit quirky.

Known as the longest name in the UK, the latest overseas channel to run a story about it is France 24.It suggests that because British travellers can’t go abroad that one of the options is to visit the town and in particular the railway station where the full name is displayed. Except that the railway station hasn’t been used in last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

It is the place that Lonely Planet calls, “the small town with the absurdly long, consonant-mangling name.”

Legend rather than fact suggests that a tailor wanting to encourage more tourists to the area coined the name in about 1869 or 1870 although much of the name existed before that date. Maybe he added a few more words to the station’s name which means something like “the area (meaning the land surrounding the church) St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a spiralling whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.

But are we, as France 24 suggests, visiting the station to have photographs taken with the sign in the background and trying to pronounce the name to impress people back home?

If we are then the local tourist board isn’t taking advantage of the fact. On the Visit Anglesey website, it lists two attractions in the area but doesn’t seem to highlight the town and the fame it has won elsewhere on the website. On the Visit Wales website, it doesn’t give the name much visibility either.

Nearly six years ago, the tourist information centre closed

Maybe the name appeals more to overseas visitors than domestic ones?

Whatever the answer is, the notion of using the name to attract tourists seems to have worked – at least where overseas media networks are concerned. But in wales, there seems no appetite to trade on one of the most widely known things about Wales!

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