26th September 2017

New research from Travelodge reveals that traditional British location nick names are disappearing from modern lingo


The Black Country is in Yorkshire, Manchester is the Granite City and Bristol is the city of steel - are just some of the answers modern Britons have given in a UK location survey. 

Hotel chain, Travelodge surveyed 2,000 British adults across the country to seek the nation’s knowledge to the whereabouts of our popular cities and holiday hotspots by their popular nicknames.   

Key research findings revealed that traditional British location nicknames are disappearing from modern lingo. Half (51%)of the UK adult population struggle  to identify some of the UK’s most celebrated cities that have been awarded a nickname due to their historic background, natural beauty or industrial importance.            

The research revealed that 57% of Britons don’t know that Aberdeen is dubbed the ‘Granite City’ despite it supplying granite for over 300 years which has been used to contract landmark building worldwide. Iconic buildings include:London Waterloo Bridge, The Houses of Parliament and the New York Opera House.  

Over a quarter (27%) of Britons are unaware that Sheffield is known as the ‘City of Steel’ and was the UK’s first city to produce the metal which dates back to the 18th century.  Steel has completely revolutionised the UK and historically been referred to as the economy’s backbone.

Travelodge’s findings also revealed that over 75% of British adults are unaware of York’s chocolate-producing heritage and the rightful owner of the title ‘Chocolate City’. Yet as many as 35% believe the sweet treat city title belongs to Birmingham. York dates its chocolate history back to 1725 and was home to renowned confectionary families Rowntree and Terry’s – founders of Quality Street, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Smarties, Wine Gums and Fruit Pastels.

The test also revealed that less than half (47%) of Britons cannot identify the location of the ‘Black Country’ – the birthplace of the industrial revolution famous for producing coal, iron and limestone. It is also the location of Travelodge’s latest and 551st hotel opening - Dudley Town Centre Travelodge.   

Other key findings revealed that a fifth of adults don’t know that ‘Brum’ is a nickname for Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city.

Over half (57%) of Britons could not identify that ‘Auld Reekie’ is a popular nickname for Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh. 

Over three quarters of adults are clueless to the location of the British Rivera and think it is in the Lake District rather than Cornwall.

A third of Britons don’t know that ‘The Toon’ is the nickname for Newcastle that has existed for 1,500 years.

Sixty four per cent of adults don’t know that Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and think it is Edinburgh. Also nine out of ten Britons can not identify that Dundee is the ‘City of Discovery’ – even though Dundee has pioneered radar, keyhole surgery and the adhesive postage stamp, to name but a few – clearly earning the title of ‘One City, Many Discoveries.’


The report also revealed that young adults are the worst offenders when it comes to location lingo, with over a third (34%) of the younger generation not knowing where any of most famous nicknamed cities are in the UK.


Dr Tom Clark, Lecturer in the Department of Sociological Studies at Sheffield University said:“Location nicknames provide valuable points of reference and help us to celebrate the unique heritage associated with the area of landmark. Names like ‘The Toon’ and 'the City of Discovery’ help to evoke a sense of a place - sometimes with a hint of irony, and sometimes with a touch of the grandiose. Without these descriptive adornments - and more importantly, what they represent - we could be in danger of losing a vital sense of ourselves. 


Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokeswoman said: “To support our latest hotel openings in iconic nickname locations such as Dudley in The Black Country, York, Newcastle and Inverness we thought it would be interesting to test Britons knowledge on location nicknames. Our findings have revealed that we do need to swot up and experience first-hand the locations that have helped make Britain so great, especially to help the younger generations appreciate our heritage.”      


“Interesting, as an operator over 550 hotels across the length and breadth of the UK we do see a stronger usage of location lingo as you travel up north the map of Great Britain.”



The study also revealed that men’s national nickname knowledge, on average, is greater than women’s. 75% of men were able to find ‘The Toon’, while 60% of women did not know this is another term for Newcastle, due to Geordies’ pronunciation of the word ‘Town’. Half of British men surveyed knew that Edinburgh was known as ‘Auld Reekie’ in comparison to the 65% of women that believed this was somewhere else which suggests that one of the oldest gender clichés, that men have a better sense of direction, could in fact be correct.