Hampshire’s most commonly mispronounced place names and how you should really say them

Hampshire's most commonly mispronounced place names and how you should really say them

There are some tongue twisters on the list

Farnborough Airport
TAG Farnborough Airport (Image: TAG Farnborough Airport)

We all have words, and more often than not place names, that we either find difficult to pronounce or just say completely incorrectly.

We have all been in situations where we have heard someone pronounce a place name incorrectly, but kept our lips sealed to save them the ignominy of correction.

Below are a list of tricky place names in Hampshire, and how to pronounce them correctly, to save you the embarrassment of getting it wrong in the future.

Farnborough (Pronounced Farn-brer)

Farnborough Airport
Farnborough Airport (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

Despite being home of Rushmoor Borough Council and one of the largest towns in North and East Hampshire, a surprising number of people still mispronounce Farnborough.

It is often pronounced using the full “borough” suffix, as opposed to the correct pronunciation shown above.

Elvetham Heath (Pronounced El-veth-am Heath)

A tongue-twister even when you know how to pronounce it correctly, Elvetham Heath’s pronunciation is often a source of debate in the Fleet area.

There are multiple ways to mispronounce the leafy village to the north of Fleet, including “Elve-ham” and “Elf-tam”.

Some have even been known to accidentally treble up on the middle syllable, leading to an embarrassing “El-va-va-tham” Heath.

Beaulieu (Pronounced Bew-lee)

As with others on this list, Beaulieu is a pronunciation one can be forgiven for getting wrong.

“Beau” is a word of French origin, pronounced as “bow”, meaning a beautiful or handsome man. However, in the Hampshire context it is “Bew”.

Similarly, many pronounce “lieu” as in the lieu time we take from work, but the latter syllable of the village in the New Forest is pronounced as in the name “Lee”.

Hearsey Gardens (Pronounced Hur-see Gar-dens)

Again, there are multiple interpretations of “Hearsey” from the early noughties pop music group “Hear’Say” to “hear-see”.

The area of Blackwater, near Camberley, can be a confusing one for those not local to the area.

Crondall (Pronounced Kron-dall)

Believe it or not, but some locals in the village near Farnham have been known to refer it as “Crun-dall”.

The countryside village is home to a shop, church, shop, two pubs and its correct pronunciation is exactly how it appears – “Kron-dall”.

Ewshot (Pronounced U-shot)

Road sign for Ewshot, Hampshire
Ewshot, Hampshire (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

Close to the Surrey border between Fleet and Farnham, Ewshot is another tricky Hampshire village to pronounce.

It can be tempting to take the “ew” prefix literally and pronounce the first syllable as “oo”, but this would be wrong.

Instead, it is like the female sheep and pronounced like the letter U.

Odiham (Pronounced Ode-ee-am)

Oddly, a frustrating number of people that do not know the area pronounce the area as “Odd-iham”.

We can confidently assure you that this is incorrect.

Home to a a large Royal Air Force base, the small town to the west of Farnham and Fleet is home to between 4,000 and 5,000 people.

Greatham (pronounced Gret-am)

It is pretty simple to spot how one can mispronounce Greatham.

The village just off the A3, between Petersfield and Hindhead, is not pronounced as “Great-ham”, unfortunately.

As nice as that would be, the correct pronunciation is “Gret-am”

Portsmouth (Pronounced Ports-muth)

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Spinnaker Tower and seafront, Portsmouth (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The city on the south coast is famous to most for its maritime heritage and naval base, but there are still those who occasionally get its pronunciation wrong.

Save embarrassment by not referring to the second syllable as the body part.

The pronunciation was not helped by an early noughties Budweiser football advert that suggested the football club change its name to the “Ports-mouth Pirates”.

Bordon (Pronounced Bore-dun)

Another town just over the Surrey border, Bordon is close to Alice Holt Forest and Frensham Great Pond.

Some people can take its pronunciation too literally, though, and the second syllable will turn into “don”.

Leigh Park (Pronounced Lee Park)

The pronunciation of the area is not helped by the fact there is a village and civil parish in Surrey called Leigh which happens to be pronounced “Lie”.

The suburb of Havant has a population of around 27,500 and is pronounced as in the name “Lee”.

Alresford (pronounced Uls-ford)

A tricky one, we will admit, and one that is often pronounced incorrectly by those not local to the area.

The small town, close to Winchester, can be mistaken for such pronunciations as “All-res-ford” and “Alls-ford”.

One way to get to the area is by steam train on the famous Watercress Line.

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