On this page, we will look at some vocabulary for describing places in English. As with all new vocabulary, make sure to use it often to help you remember it, and if possible write it down in a notebook or a piece of paper so you can review it in a few days.
Useful vocabulary for talking about features and landmarks:
- It’s well known for…
- You shouldn’t miss the…
- A popular visitor attraction is…
- It’s popular with tourists because…
Useful vocabulary for talking about location (where the place is):
- It’s on the coast
- It’s by the sea
- It’s in the country
- It’s beside a river
- It’s in the south/east/north/west of…
- It’s in the mountains
- It’s in the desert
Positive ways to talk about the character of a place:
- It’s very peaceful, especially down by the lake in the morning.
- It’s a quiet place, so you can hear the birds.
- It’s a very lively place – there’s always something going on!
- It’s such a beautiful place, with old castles and narrow streets.
- It’s so picturesque (looks very pretty), especially when the flowers are in bloom.
- It’s a very cosmopolitan place (has people from many different countries) – you can hear people speaking different languages and there are all kinds of different foods to try.
- It’s totally unspoiled with very few tourists.
- It’s absolutely stunning! (looks amazing)
- It’s has a lot of contemporary buildings, made with just glass and metal.
- The people are so hospitable that I was invited for dinner by three different people in one afternoon!
Negative ways to talk about the character of a place:
- It’s so boring! There’s nothing to do here.
- It’s a very noisy place, so I got a headache after a few hours.
- It’s so overcrowded that it’s hard to even cross the road!
- It’s very polluted so it was very hard to see very much.
- It’s so expensive – I couldn’t even afford to buy dinner!
- The city centre’s quite rundown now, with lots of shops closed.
- It’s pretty touristy – all the shops are just selling cheap souvenirs and the restaurants only serve English food.
What you can do in a place:
- It has a great nightlife – you can go dancing until 4 in the morning if you want to!
- You can easily spend a day sightseeing, especially in the old part of town!
- You can visit museums and art galleries, and there are always concerts and exhibitions.
- You can go for a wander (walk at a comfortable pace, with no exact destination) around the old town.
Parts of a town
- All the best shops and cinemas are in the city centre.
- A lot of people work at the industrial park, just 2 kilometres from the centre.
- I live in the suburbs, but for a good night out I like to go downtown.
- The city is OK, but the residential areas are very quiet after about 6pm.
Now you’ve looked at some of the vocabulary for describing places in English, let’s move on to putting sentences together into full examples.