Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Say that three times fast. As a matter of fact, try to say it just once. The name means “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red cave”.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, or Llanfair PG for short, is a village in northern Wales that is right across the Irish Sea from Dublin, Ireland. Llanfair is actually located on the Island of Anglesey, which Wales’ largest island, approximately 25 minutes from the port at Holyhead.
Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, which means the “Mary Church by the pool near the white hazels”, was the original name of the village. However, villagers changed the name in the 1850s to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Why? Seeking to increase train traffic and tourism in the area, the village people thought changing the name would make the small community a treasured pit stop.
The village did not become the mecca the villagers thought it would, although the community did became a pit stop. However, they did manage to achieve the distinction of having the longest town name in the United Kingdom. And according to the village’s website, the 2002 Guiness Book of World Records recognized one of the linked url’s as the longest domain name in the world.
There’s not terribly much to do in Llanfair except shop in the decent-sized James Pringle Weavers shopping outlet. A small perk of visiting the shopping outlet? You can stamp your passport with a stamp that has the *entire* name of the town wrapped around the Welsh dragon.
Actress Naomi Watts is a native daughter of sorts. She was born in England, but lived for several years in the Llanfair home of her maternal grandparents with her mother and brother. She lived there long enough to learn how to pronounce the name flawlessly. Other nearby famous residents? Prince William and Duchess Kate, who lived in Anglesey for several years as newlyweds and young parents while the prince completed a tour of duty with search and rescue.
The next time you find yourself in Wales, head for Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and stamp your passport. You’ll have proof that you visited the little town with the U.K.’s longest name.