Riviera Lloegr / The English Riviera

A photo of Paignton beach and pier

The towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham in the county of Devon in the south west of England are marketed collectively by the local tourist board as ‘The English Riviera‘. Their website offers provides information in a number of languages – the usual suspects like French, German, Italian and Spanish, and also Dutch, Polish, Chinese and Japanese. Recently they’ve had part of the site translated into Welsh – a first for English holiday resorts, according to this article.

A spokesman for the English Riviera Tourist Board said,

“We are a popular destination for visitors from Wales. The Welsh language should be used more on publicity like this in England. It is a UK language.

The board’s director, who used to be in charge of tourism in Anglesey, doesn’t speak Welsh herself, but has a fondness and commitment to preserving the language.

There are also plans to provide downloadable MP3 walking tours for the area in Welsh.

This entry was posted in Language, Travel, Welsh.

8 Responses to Riviera Lloegr / The English Riviera

  1. Polly says:

    but has a fondness and commitment to preserving the language.

    “Save the Wales”?


  2. Joe DeRose says:

    I’m curious, is there any substantial English-only sentiment in the U.K.? Or is inclusion of Welsh and other non-English traditional languages limited only by lack of familiarity with them in most of the country? Or is there some more nuanced approach to other languages (e.g., Welsh is okay, but Spanish is not)?

    Here in the U.S., of course, the English-only sentiment is reaching plague-like levels. And is particularly galling in that we are unambiguously a multi-lingual country: As long as we insist on retaining Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico as a territory, the arguments for excluding Spanish are self-evidently unethical. And that doesn’t even get into issues like Hawai’ian, French (indigenous in southern Louisiana), German (indigenous in parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the Upper Midwest), and all of the native languages.

    — Joe / Atlanta / USA

  3. Joe–

    Exclusion–the suppression of a language–is not what I think most reasonable people are talking about. I do think there needs to be a common language in order to bind a people and a culture together…I think that what most *reasonable* people are advocating is that people become bilingual: cultivating their English skills AND keeping up with whatever their native language is. (And in reverse, in my case I believe that native English speakers ought to learn at least one language that is not theirs.)

  4. Rhys says:

    Diolch am y ddolen Simon.

    Thanks for the link Simon, I’ll certainly try and make the effort to visit the area. It’s a shame that many more tourism sites in Wales itself would make more use of Welsh. The Welsh tourist board either doesn’t think there’s such a thing as internal tourism or that there’s no point bothering with Welsh. I’d go as far as to suggest that Welsh speakers are more likely to holiday in Wales than non-Welsh speaking Welsh people, but I have no data to back that up.

    @ Joe, regarding the lack of use of Welsh (and other Celtic languages) in tourism advertising in Wales, I’d put it down to lack of familiarity with them in most of the country This lack of familiarity exists in Wales. On one hand I’d put this down to the fact* that a lot of bosses in the tourism industry (both public and private sector) are from outside Wales, usually England, but having said that English people are more likely to have visited the sceinic Welsh speaking heartlands of the north and south west as tourists themselves compared to the majority of non-Welsh speakers from south east Wales.

    *agian I have no stats to back this claim

  5. Owein says:

    Isn’t Torquay the supposed to be where John Cleese’s “Fawlty Towers” took place? I remember the idea of it being the “English Riviera” seemed to be played as an inside joke on the show… people complaining about not seeing the sea from their windows.

  6. Simon says:

    Owein – “Fawlty Towers” was based on a real hotel in Torquay called the Gleneagles, where John Cleese and the rest of the Pythons stayed filming while Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV series in the early 1970s. More details are available here.

  7. Ann says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

  8. George says:

    Thank you for bringing such nice posts. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

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