Vocabulary practice: English towns

Here is some English vocabulary for places in a town which are useful for tourists. You can also hear people talk about these places when they give directions.

General facilities

post office = where you can buy stamps and post letters and parcels
(a post box or letter box is the box on the street where you can post letters)

bus station = where you can buy tickets for a bus and catch a bus

railway station / train station = where you can buy tickets for a train, and catch a train

bank – where you can withdraw money or pay money in to your account, and also change money from one currency to another

"bureau de change" = where you can change one currency to another

town hall = a building for local government

police station = where you can report a crime

fire station = the central place for fire engines

petrol station / filling station = where you can fill your car up with petrol

chemists / pharmacy / drugstore = where you can buy medicine and personal care products

hospital (A&E or Casualty department) = where you can go if you have an accident or if you fall ill

public toilets / public conveniences = here you pay to use the toilet

Leisure and cultural facilities

park = where people can walk and sometimes play sports. Parks often contain benches where you can sit down, and there are also often ponds (= small lakes) with ducks or other birds and fish, etc. In large cities, you can also find a "Common" (= common land), a type of wild park.

playground = a small area for children to play on with typical children's facilities such as a swing or slide.

stadium = where you can play or watch a football match

sports field = here you can play or watch a team game, such as football or rugby

tennis court = where you can play tennis

swimming pool = where you can go swimming. You can sometimes find outdoor swimming pools, but most of the time, swimming pools are inside sports centres or leisure centres which also contain a gym and fitness rooms.

place of worship = depending on the religion, this can be a church, synagogue (pronounced "sin – a – gog"), mosque (pronounced "mosk") or temple, etc.


cinema = where you can watch films

theatre = where you can watch actors perform in a play, or go to see comedians perform comedy

pub = where you van meet and socialise with friends, and have an alcoholic drink. People often refer to pubs by their name, such as "The Red Lion" or "The Kings Head".

wine bar = a more modern type of pub, where there is a larger selection of wines to drink

club = there are different types of clubs, such as political association clubs ("The Conservative Club"); nightclubs, where you can go dancing; and youth clubs, where teenagers can meet.

For more vocabulary, see our page Words for entertainment in English.

Places to go shopping

The High Street = many English towns have a main street called something like "The High Street" where you can find lots of shops

shopping centre = these are either in the centre of a town, or out of town

open-air market = these are a collection of stalls where you can buy fresh food, or clothes

covered market = similar to a market, but the stalls are covered by a roof

car park = shopping centres often have car parks (either on one level, or multi-storey)

For tourists and visitors

Tourist information = an office where you can ask for information about local events or places of interest

hotel = where you can stay

B&B (Bed and breakfast) = a small hotel managed by a couple or a family

guest house = a small hotel which is like a private house

hostel = a cheap hotel, often for younger people

Asking questions

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