What’s in a street name? We’re not talking about those weird and wonderful road names that the UK is rather well-known for (Dingley Bells, anyone?).
No, we’re talking about all those Streets, Roads, Avenues and Lanes you probably see every day, but never give much thought to!
We’ll, it turns out that those road name suffixes actually have very different meanings. And knowing what these are can often make it easier to get around new places (unless they’re lying to you – did you know that Downing Street is technically not a Street at all? It’s more of a close as it’s closed at one end!).
The most common road name suffix is, well, “Road”.
That’s because it has the widest general definition. It’s basically a thoroughfare or route that connects 2 points.
Streets, meanwhile, are a type of road – they generally have buildings on one or both sides.
Lanes are narrow, often winding roads that are common in rural areas – although these days, many “Lanes” have turned into Streets and Roads, but kept their old names.
“Drive” is a common suffix that is different whether you’re in the US or UK.
In the UK, a Drive tends to be a private road that gives access to a small group of houses or structures. While in the US, a Drive is much larger and usually defined by nearby geographical features, e.g. lakes or mountains. As a result, American “Drives” are often very scenic!
On the less common side of things, a Mews is a row of houses that have been converted from stables (or in newer areas, built to look like stables), while an Esplanade is a road that fronts onto the sea (sometimes you’ll see it called a Promenade).
Here’s a handy infographic that explains all…