17 UK Destinations That Famous American Places Get Their Names From

From New York to Woodstock, many well-known places in America take their name from UK destinations. Here are 17 prime examples.

The old saying goes that the United States and the United Kingdom are two nations divided by a common language. Yet English isn’t the only thing these countries share…

As you’ve probably noticed, many parts of America have the same names as places in the UK. There’s a “New” in front of it sometimes, like New York, but the names are often identical.

This is no coincidence, of course. It harks back to the early colonists, who sailed across the pond and brought the names of their hometowns with them. Fast forward a few hundred years, and it’s fascinating to see how different they’ve become.

Want to see what the British destinations that 17 famous US destinations are named after look like today? Keep reading!

1. Portland

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In the United States, Portland is Oregon’s most populated city, famous for its craft breweries and green spaces. In England, the Isle of Portland is a historic island located off the coast of Weymouth in Dorset.

Among other things, it’s famous for Portland Stone, which is quarried here and has been used to make some of Britain’s best-known buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

2. Boston

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In America, Boston is the capital and most populated city of Massachusetts. It’s a popular place most famous for its sports and many cultural sites. In England, Boston is a medieval market town in Lincolnshire, where it’s renowned for its incredible heritage buildings.

3. Newark-on-Trent

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With over 300,000 residents, Newark is the largest city in New Jersey. Nicknamed Gateway City, it’s a major transportation hub right next door to the Big Apple.

In England, Newark-on-Trent is an age-old market town on the River Trent (hence its name). It’s probably most famous for the epic castle that sits on the riverbank.

4. York

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In the United States, New York is the iconic East Coast metropolis home to Broadway, Times Square, and Central Park. It gets its name from York, a cathedral city with ancient Roman origins located in the northeast of England.

Having been at the center of countless key moments in UK history, York’s historical acumen is arguably its greatest claim to fame.

5. Richmond

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In America, Richmond is the bustling capital of Virginia. It boasts a rich tapestry of cultural attractions, including numerous world-class museums.

Richmond is an upmarket town on the River Thames in London. It’s home to the infamous Kew Gardens, which are almost as old as the city of Richmond in the US.

6. Jersey

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New Jersey is one of America’s original 13 states. It’s famous for its beaches, casinos, Frank Sinatra, and the fertile land it sits on, which earned it the nickname of “The Garden State.”

In the UK, Jersey is one of the Channel Islands (so-called for their position in the English Channel). One of its claims to fame is that it’s the only British territory invaded and occupied by the Germans in WW2.

7. Norfolk

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In the US, Norfolk is a large waterfront city in Virginia famous for its enormous naval base and the mighty WW2 Battleship Wisconsin at the Nauticus maritime museum.

In England, Norfolk is a beautiful rural county on the east coast. It’s a popular spot for seaside vacations and outdoor pursuits.

8. Cleveland

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In America, Cleveland is a storied city in Cuyahoga County, Northeast Ohio, home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The UK’s Cleveland, which means “Cliff Land,” is an ancient district of Yorkshire in the northeast of England. The pretty coastal village in the image is called Staithes, which falls in Cleveland’s coastal area.

9. Birmingham

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When Americans hear the name Birmingham, they think of the big southern city in Alabama. In England, people know it as the UK’s second city, located in the West Midlands. These days, it’s famous worldwide thanks to the TV show Peaky Blinders.

Interestingly, both the US and UK’s Birmingham have strong connections with the manufacturing industry.

10. Cambridge

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Cambridge is a legendary university town in both America and the UK. In the US, this Massachusetts city in Middlesex County is home to Harvard.

In the UK, Cambridge is a gorgeous historical town that’s home to its eponymous university. Established at the beginning of the 13th century, this esteemed institution is one of the world’s oldest universities.

11. Woodstock

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In the US, this name is synonymous with the iconic music festival that first took place in 1969. It’s also a town in Ulster County, New York.

Many people in the UK associate Woodstock with the music festival, too. Yet it’s also a historic market town close to the city of Oxford. Its biggest claim to fame nowadays is Blenheim Palace – the World Heritage Site where Sir Winston Churchill was born.

12. Lancaster

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Located in Pennsylvania, Lancaster is one of America’s oldest inland cities. It’s renowned for its history, culture, Amish community, and beautiful surrounding farmlands.

Lancaster is also one of the oldest cities in the UK. It’s located in the Northwest of England, on the River Lune. It has a storied history, with Roman origins and a mighty castle that dates to the 11th century.

13. Plymouth

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While there are a whopping 30 Plymouths in the US, the most famous is the coastal town in Massachusetts. Known as “America’s Hometown,” this is where the Mayflower Pilgrims established their colony in 1620.

Can you guess the UK city from which they set sail? That’s right, Plymouth. A port city on England’s south coast, it’s best known for its rich maritime history.

14. Chester

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Chester is a city in southeastern Pennsylvania on the banks of the Delaware River. It is the oldest city in the state and owes its name to the English Quaker William Penn, who acquired it in 1681.

In the UK, Chester is an incredibly historic town located close to the Welsh border. It’s famous for its imposing ancient walls, medieval buildings, and castle.

15. Lincoln

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It’s hard to keep track of how many Lincolns there are in the US. You find them across the country, in Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and many other states.

In the UK, there’s only one. A city in the East Midlands, it’s well-known for its eponymous Gothic cathedral and 11th-century castle.

16. Northampton

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In the US, Northampton is a city on the Connecticut River in west-central Massachusetts, which boasts abundant history and culture. It’s been called the “Number One Best Small Arts Town in America.”

In the UK, Northampton is one of England’s largest towns. It’s located in the Midlands and is traditionally famous for its shoe-making industry.

17. Dover

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America’s City of Dover is the capital of Delaware. Founded in 1683, it’s a historic place popular with NASCAR enthusiasts. In England, Dover is an iconic town and ferry port on the southeast coast. It’s famous for the White Cliffs of Dover and the epic Dover Castle.

Interestingly, Delaware is also home to the cities of New Castle, Wilmington, and Lewes. All three of these place names are found in England, too (although New Castle is one word, Newcastle).



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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including MSN.com and news sites across the US.