Summer is basically here now, so it’s got us thinking…
The UK is filled with fabulous and bizarrely named places and it was pretty difficult keeping this piece short. You might think the towns of Nasty, Booby Dingle and Twatt are only good for a laugh, but the places on this list will not only make you chuckle, they’re also great places to visit. This summer we’re going to have to fall back in love with the great British holiday, so why not combine a trip to a beautiful new location with a humorous selfie?
50 miles outside of London is the scenic Hertfordshire village of Nasty. Nasty is actually nothing of the sort, filled with picturesque cottages and rolling hills. Its name derives, like many UK destinations, from the rather mundane Anglo Saxon æt þǽm éastan hægeI, meaning “at the eastern hedged enclosure’.
Booby Dingle, Hereford
If you’re heading over for a walk in the stunningly beautiful Brecon Beacons, why not pop into sleepy village of Booby Dingle, which boasts such landmarks as the Standing Stone and the unmissable ‘Old Farmhouse’. As well as some pretty farmland and the opportunity to take a picture of the should-be-famous sign, you can also go for a leisurely stroll up Cat’s Back, allegedly one of the most beautiful routes in the Black Mountains of South Wales.
Spankers Hill Wood, Richmond Park
Sounding like a location to be found on the infamous Hampstead Heath, this former game reserve in Richmond Park is a lovely open space home to herds of roving deer. There’s good walking around the hill and through the woods, and the surrounding area of Richmond is a lovely place to spend a day eating, drinking, and exploring.
Hot on the heels of Nasty, Ugley is our second contender for an alternative Seven Dwarves line-up. Ugley is actually anything but, a lovely Essex village completely at odds with its name and a vibrant social scene. The Women’s Institute, a riotous farmers market and much more makes this a delightful place to pop in to for tea. The misleading name was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Ugghelea, meaning ‘woodland clearing belonging to someone called Ugga’.
Tickle Cock Bridge, West Yorkshire
The subject of a hilarious 2008 headline, Tickle Cock Bridge in Castleford, West Yorkshire was made famous by the controversial decision to renovate and rename the bridge Tickle Cott. A local group of over 50’s was having none of it. Thanks to their valiant effort, Wakefield council backtracked and a plaque bearing the original name was, erected. While you’re exploring Yorkshire, Tickle Cock Bridge is only a stone’s throw from the pretty town of Pontefract, known for its ancient castle ruins and liquorice.
Nob End, Lancashire
Amazingly, in the mid-19th century Nob End was used as a tip for toxic alkali waste from the production of sodium carbonate by the Leblanc process, who knew? What’s funny about this is that the waste, a blue sludge known as ‘galligu’, was predominantly calcium sulphide and stank of rotten eggs. Now a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, Nob End is home to rare orchids and stunning wildflowers which grow in the alkali rich soil, the perfect place for a beautiful walk with plenty of photo ops.
Be very careful if you feel like venturing into the village of Crapstone on the Western edge of Dartmoor in Devon, for the locals are fiercely defensive of their little home. The irate villagers once started a fearsome Facebook campaign complaining about a television advert that claimed to be set in Crapstone but was actually filmed near Tavistock, would you believe it? It has been acknowledged that Crapstone’s industrial hub is the Crapstone Business Park, while its financial district can be found within the local post office.
The Bastard, Argyll
The Bastard is a mountain summit in the Knapdale and Kintyre region in the county of Argyll and Bute, a stunning part of Scotland off the western mainland, famous for its nature and single malt whiskey. At 188 metres high (0.1 of a mile), the many walks up and around The Bastard aren’t the most challenging in Scotland, but the surrounding natural beauty, combined with the added bonus of being able to tell your friends you’ve ‘climbed The Bastard’, bring the people to this Scottish Isle. The nearby town of Campbeltown is famous for its whiskey, and also worth visiting is the nearby peak of Cockalane, well why not?
The Bitches, Pembrokeshire
Hot on the heels of The Bastard are The Bitches of Pembrokeshire. Already a highly desirable location for a holiday, the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast is home to castles, puffins and beautiful beaches, but it’s also worth a visit to see the famous Bitches, a set of rocks between Ramsey Island and the Pembrokeshire Coast. A popular tourist destination and playspot for extreme sports enthusiasts, The Bitches are also a the location of many famous shipwrecks.
The Blind Fiddler, Cornwall
Quite disappointingly, actually, The Blind Fiddler is a standing stone between Penzance and St Buryan in Southernmost Cornwall. So, why has such a mundane inanimate object got such an intriguing name? Well, The Blind Fiddler serves as a warning to all those impious people practicing Pagan rituals and ceremonies. The stone was reportedly once a musician who neglected his Christian duties and angered god by playing music on the Sabbath, and so was turned to stone as punishment. The stone itself is fairly self-explanatory, seen one seen em’ all, but the surrounding area, especially the stunning harbour village of Mousehole is a must-see.
Bushy Gap, Northumberland
The northernmost county in England, Northumberland is also the least densely populated place in the England, with only 62 people per square kilometre. What the county lacks in people it makes up for in stunning scenery, incredibly preserved Roman settlements, Saxon castles, Vikings, and incidentally some of the best seafood in the country. It’s also the location of many contenders for this list, but I’ve chosen the inimitable, Bushy Gap, which incidentally is in close proximity to Gusset. Both good walking spots, Bushy Gap is also close to the central Northumberland town of Rothbury, a pretty place to base yourself if you want to explore this beautiful part of the UK.
Great Bottom Flash, Basingstoke
Only 50 miles outside of London is the idyllic Basingstoke Canal, home to Great Bottom Flash. A ‘flash’ is actually the wider part of a canal, used as mini reservoirs for the canals, often doubling up as nature reserves. Great Bottom Flash is a nature lovers haven, with an abundance of dragonflies, water birds, plenty of fishing opportunities (good for bream), it’salso home to a family of famously aggressive swans, Google it. It’s a great place to walk the canals and take in the beautiful surroundings, also a bit of peaceful kayaking. Flashing is optional.
Twatt, Orkney and Shetland
Amazingly, more than one person though Twatt was a great name for a place. One of the more famous places on our list, both Twatts regularly have their signposts photographed by amused tourists, and both the Orkney and Shetland locations ranked 4th on a list of the most vulgar-sounding names in Rude Britain. Twatt Orkney’s Wikipedia sadly states that the local post office which opened in 1879, sadly closed in 2002. Tragic.
Bell End, Birmingham
This street in Birmingham has been the source of much hilarity to passers-by but not for local residents who, unlike the enthusiastic inhabitants of Tickle Cock Bridge, campaigned in 2018 to change the name to something more sanguine. Sadly for the put-out residents, the local council has since stated it has no plans to rename the street. The town is also home to the Cock Inn pub (visited by the Inbetweener boys on their Rude Place Names Tour for Comic Relief), but also Mincing Lane and Hawes.
Muff, County Donegal, Ireland
Finishing on a high we have the village of Muff in County Donegal, Ireland. The border land between the Republic and Northern Island is actually home to an incredibly diverse range of marine life, from basking sharks to seals, prompting the local residents to set up the Muff Divers Club. An absolute bargain at £29.99 to become a lifetime member of the Muff Divers Club, the joining fee includes a complimentary t-shirt. On a serious note, Ireland is a spectacular place and the landscapes of County Donegal are well worth a look, and hey while you’re there why not help the Muff Divers Club to fulfil their dream of becoming the largest scuba club in the world. You also might want to coordinate your visit with the annual Muff Festival. You’re welcome.