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Llanfair PG is a small town in Wales with a really big name!
In fact, its full name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is officially the longest place name in the UK.
It has 58 letters and 18 syllables, along with the dreaded Welsh double ll, which makes it difficult to pronounce for even the most native Cymraeg speakers.
Hearing people pronounce Llanfair in its entirety never fails to wow people all over the world and hearing it seems to create more questions than it does answers.
For example; how did the town have such a name? What does it mean? And, most importantly, how can I visit to see the famous sign for myself!
Well, I aim to answer all of those important questions in this post.
Here’s a complete guide on how to visit the longest place name in Wales and how to find the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch sign for a photo!
The history of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Although there has been a small settlement here on Anglesey since time immemorial, Llanfair got its absurdly long name in the 19th century.
Before that, it was a medieval township and its boundary lines could be found at Pwllgwyngyll which translates to the “the pool of the white hazels”.
The Isle of Anglesey was finally connected to the mainland of Wales via the Menai Bridge in 1818 by Thomas Telford. Then, the Pont Britannia bridge was built a few decades later in 1846.
The Llanfair railway station then opened in 1848 and this created an opportunity to drive more tourists to the small town!
In 1869, the ridiculous name was created as a publicity stunt and “Llanfairpwll” was officially extended to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
It is thought that the invention came from a quirky tailor in the town who had a taste for the absurd. But, he didn’t want anyone to know his name so the secret died with him!
The town wanted to be known as the place with the longest railway sign in the country! And it worked.
It soon reached the newspapers and tourists would flock to see this lengthy sign. Even today, it’s world-famous and sees over 200,000 visitors each year.
What does the longest name in Wales mean in English?
“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”
Which granted sounds more like directions for travellers than a place name!
Many of the residents today refer to the village as Llanfair or LLanfairpwll which simply means St Mary’s.
It’s often referred to as Llanfair PG by locals for short to avoid confusion with other similar place names in Wales.
How many letters are in the longest place name in Wales?
If you were to count it, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch has 58 letters in total. So, it’s more than a bit of a mouthful with over 18 syllables in one go.
Although you wouldn’t believe it, this actually isn’t the longest place name in the world like the town had intended it to be at the time.
The longest place name in the world is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukaka-pikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu which is 85 letters and 40 syllables in the North Island of New Zealand.
How do you pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch?
With great difficulty! As Blackadder says ‘you need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the place names. Never ask for directions in Wales Baldrick, you’ll be washing spit out of your hair for a fortnight’.
All jokes aside, it is quite hard to explain how to pronounce this ginormous street name on a blog post and in writing. It’s much better to watch a video and hear it being said.
There is a viral YouTube video of a weather presenter on Channel 4 news, Liam Dutton, who pronounces the whole thing without losing a beat!
It’s actually really impressive and you can watch the video via this link. I wonder how long he rehearsed it for or is he just a natural?!
Also, if you want a fun way to learn it, there is a Longest Train Station Song about Llanfair from the CBBC. Click here to listen.
How to visit the town with the longest place name in Wales
The longest place name in Wales can be found on the Isle of Anglesey which is an island off the coast of North Wales.
Although it is an island, it’s easily accessible overseas by car along the A55 or the North Wales Expressway.
Llanfair PG is just a few miles from popular tourist towns like Bangor and Caernarfon. So, it makes the perfect place to stop off if you’re heading here on a Snowdonia or Anglesey road trip.
When you cross over the Pont Britannia bridge over to Anglesey on the A55, you’ll find a sign for Llanfair just a mile beyond the end of the crossing. Take junction number 8 and then head into the centre of town.
Or, another great way to head into Llanfair would be by train. The longest place name sign at Llanfair train station is one of the most popular stops on the island for photos!
How to find the Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch sign!
The best place to get a photo of the longest place name sign, would be to head to the Llanfair PG railway station.
This is the area that has all of the best Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch signs to get a selfie!
There is a large free car park just outside the station along with some shops. Which makes it really easy to stop off here and take a look around.
The best Llanfairpwll signs for photos
So, there are actually three amazing longest place name signs that you can choose from in Llanfair.
All of them are great options, it just depends on what you would personally like to capture for a photo!
1. At the Llanfairpwll Train Station
So, first up, are all the longest place name signs at the Llanfair railway station. Ever since the 19th-century these signs were what made the town famous.
There are a few of them on either side of the platform, so you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Luckily, unlike other stations in the UK, there are no platform or train tickets required to enter the Llanfair platform. It’s unmanned with no ticket booth and so you can walk all around here to your heart’s content for free.
Both sides of the station can be easily accessed via a small footbridge over the railway lines. So, you can have fun taking photos on either side.
I will go out on a limb here and say that this could be the most photographed railway station sign in all of the UK! You’ll always find people here snapping a selfie.
2. Outside James Pringle Weavers shop
So, after you’ve explored the railway station, you can head to famous James Pringle Weavers department store.
Outside the front of their shop, they have the longest place name sign at the entrance and a street sign to the side of the building too.
These signs have the English translations underneath so they make a good photo for a reminder of what the longest place name in UK means!
Of course, after your photos, you must take a look around this department store which is almost an institution on Anglesey. They have anything you could want to buy here!
You could browse all their Welsh souvenirs with the town’s name on them. They have a section with locally made Welsh food & spirits. But, there is also luggage, knitwear, clothes, and much more in this labyrinth.
If you were a bit peckish, they have a restaurant that serves up coffee, cake, and traditional Welsh delicacies!
Furthermore, there is a post office inside. So, if you wanted to send a postcard, you can do so with the longest place name stamped on it!
3. The old Llanfair railway station sign
After your visit to the department store, if you head towards the back of the railway station car park, you’ll find my favourite Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch sign for taking photos!
It’s one of the original railway station signs on the back of the old platform building in a bright gorgeous red colour.
What’s even better is the building has some red features on it too which compliments the sign perfectly. In my opinion, this spot looks much prettier for photos than the modern railway station sign if you were looking for an Instagram-worthy location.
Another bonus is that as you’re not on the railway station itself, so it will be less crowded for your photos.
FAQs about the longest place name in Wales
- How many letters are in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch? 58 letters and 18 syllables!
- What does the longest place name in Wales mean in English? “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”
- Is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch the longest place name in the word? No, it’s actually the second. The first is in New Zealand. It is the longest place name in Europe though.
- Where is the longest place name in Wales? On the Isle of Anglesey in Llanfair PG, North Wales!
Even more amazing things to do in Llanfair PG
If you have the time, I would definitely check out a few more attractions in Llanfairpwll!
Although the town is world famous for its curious name, there are quite a few notable historical events that happened here.
For example, the first UK meeting of the Women’s Institute happened here in 1915. This was a movement that began in Canada which soon spread across the British Isles.
If you were looking for more attractions, there are a few art galleries to check out like the Naughty Gull Coastal creations and Oriel Ger-Y-Fenai.
There is also the famous St Tysilio’s Church which is mentioned in the longest place name.
Or, you could take a look at the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column. This was a monument erected in 1817 dedicated to Henry William Paget, the first Marquess of Anglesey. It was to celebrate his efforts in the Battle of Waterloo where he lost his leg. Usually, you can climb up 115 steps to take in the views from the top but it currently closed to the public and under renovation.
You could head over to the National Trust’s Plas Newydd House and Gardens which is just a few miles away. Or, pay a visit to Bryn Celli Ddu, one of the oldest prehistoric sites on the island!
Looking for more places to visit on the Isle of Anglesey?
The Isle of Anglesey makes an incredible road trip in North Wales. It’s huge and there is so much to explore here.
After your visit to Llanfair, I would recommend stopping at the ancient Bryn Celli Ddu located just a few miles from the town. It was a burial chamber built 3,000 years ago and you can actually walk inside it today!
The most famous attraction on Anglesey is the atmospheric tidal island of Ynys Llanddwyn. It can be accessed on foot from Newborough Beach when the tide is low.
In fact, the Anglesey coastline is home to many Blue Flag beaches which are perfect for the summer months! They all overlook the peaks of Snowdonia National Park.
You can cross the famous Menai Strait over the Menai Bridge. The coastal town of Beaumaris is also a must-visit with its colourful houses on the West End.
Or, you can head over to the dramatic South Stack Lighthouse on the far end of the island! Nearby, you can head overseas to Belfast or Dublin via the Holyhead Ferry Terminal.