It's fair to say that when it comes to countries with unusual quirks and eccentricities, Britain is up there with the best of them.
Aside from the the orderly queues, our penchant for cups of tea and even the odd cheese rolling competition, the UK also has an array of interesting (and just plain funny) place names to be proud of.
While some are steeped in local history and can give a glimpse into a city or town's past, others just make for an amusing way to pass a road trip. So to kick off Unusual Week at Hotels4U, let's take a look around the country at some of Britain's most weird and wonderful place names...
Image by Anne-Lise Heinrichs via Flickr
At just 32 metres in length, Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is one of York's shortest and most impressively named streets. Once called Whitnourwhatnourgate, which is Anglo-Saxon for "neither one thing, nor the other", the street adopted a more fitting name after it became the location for the public floggings of petty criminals held in the 16th Century. If you fancy seeing it for yourself, you'll find plenty of York hotels within walking distance (and thankfully, not a whipping post in sight).
Image by Philip Talmage via Creative Commons
Bogey Lane, Orpington
We'd love to regale you with the deep, historical meaning behind this little footpath in Orpington, near Bromley. Unfortunately, we're not sure there is one. However, this amusingly named path does form part of the London Loop, a 152 mile route split into easily walkable sections that orbit the capital city, which is a great way to discover the outskirts of London.
Image by Bernt Rostad via Flickr
World's End Close, Edinburgh
When it comes to weird place names, they don’t get more
ominous than this. Situated on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, this alleyway once
marked the Netherbow – the defensive wall that formed the outer limits of
the city - where Edinburgh’s old town ended and neighbouring Canongate began. These
days, the nearby World’s End pub is a good spot for a pint and a bite of haggis
if you’re kipping over in one of the nearby Edinburgh hotels.
Image by Jim Linwood via Flickr
Bleeding Heart Yard, London
Behind some of London's more unusual street names lie some pretty fascinating urban legends about the capital's past. Like Bleeding Heart Yard in Farringdon, so-called after Lady Elizabeth Hatton was apparently found murdered there in the 17th Century. The cobbled courtyard's fame doesn't end there, with Charles Dickens using it as a setting in his novel Little Dorrit as a place "inhabited by poor people, who set up their rest among its faded glories".
Image by David Smith via Creative Commons
Scratchy Bottom, Dorset
Over to Dorset, an area of the country which certainly isn't short on unusual place names. Our favourite is Scratchy Bottom, the name given to a valley once thought to have been a river near Lulworth. This picturesque part of the country lies just past Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast, and can also be seen in the opening scenes of the 1967 film, Far From the Madding Crowd. Other than that, the source of the name is a mystery, but we're assured it is no relation to Happy Bottom, located further east in Corfe Mullen.
Want more? Here are some others that caught our eye:
If you know of a quirky place name, let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook and Google+ pages.
- Smellies Lane in Dundee
- Great Snoring and Little Snoring in Norfolk
- Catbrain Lane in Bristol
- Carsick Hill in Sheffield
- Shoulder of Mutton Alley in London