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Primary Destinations

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Primary Destinations are the key target destinations (technically, "places of major traffic importance") within the United Kingdom that are shown on direction signs along major roads such as Motorways and Primary Routes. These destinations are important key points and are used in combination with local place names that are defined by each local Highway Authority. Primary destinations will appear above local destinations on direction signs due to a furthest first rule in the design guidance and will generally appear a closest first on route confirmatory signs.

Primary Destinations are usually important towns or cities within their areas, but some Primary Destinations (such as Brownhills or Llangurig) are relatively small towns that are located at or near an important junction. Indeed, some such as Scotch Corner refer to junctions rather than a town, whilst others (such as Erskine Bridge) refer to important river crossings. Important ports and airports are also used as Primary Destinations.

The concept of Primary Destinations was introduced in the mid-1960s in the Worboys report.

Contents

Regional Destinations

For the purposes of the long-distance directional signing of the British road network, the Department for Transport (DfT) authorizes the use of a limited number of Regional Destinations. These destinations, which are distinguished by the use of upper-case lettering are:

  • NORTH WALES
  • SCOTLAND
  • SOUTH WALES
  • The LAKES
  • The EAST
  • The MIDLANDS (also shown as: CANOLBARTH LLOEGR in Wales)
  • The NORTH
  • The NORTH EAST
  • The NORTH WEST
  • The SOUTH
  • The SOUTH WEST
  • The WEST

Within England, The NORTH WEST is to the west of the Pennines and The NORTH is to the east of the Pennines. Generally, The NORTH is preferred to The NORTH EAST, which is usually only used where both The NORTH and The NORTH WEST would appear on a single sign.

The NORTH and The SOUTH are used to refer to the relevant areas of both England and Scotland.

Inconsistencies

Whilst the above list contains all the official regional destinations, several more are actually used on signage. They are:

  • LONDON
  • Mid WALES (on roads such as M54 and A458)
  • ENGLAND (on A74(M) immediately to the north of the border)
  • The DALES (on A684 after M6 J37)

In addition to these three, The BRIDGE with upper-case lettering of the second word in the style of regional destination appears on the approaches to the RuncornWidnes Bridge.

Changes to Primary Destinations

Primary Destinations were first introduced in 1964, and have been regularly revised since then.

The most recent list across Great Britain is known as LTN 1/94, which was published in 1994. Since this date, responsibility for Scotland and Wales has passed from the DfT to the relevant devolved administration.

England

The current list for England is based upon a list published by the DfT on 18th December 2009, with changes as detailed below.

Changes up to LTN 1/94

Added: Alton • Avonmouth • Basildon • Beccles • Bishops Stortford • Bracknell • Bridgnorth • Bridgwater • Buxton • Channel Tunnel • Dartford Crossing • East Grinstead • Exmouth • Fareham • Gatwick Airport • Guildford • Hatfield • Hemel Hempstead • Hexham • Humber Bridge • Midhurst • Milton Keynes • Newhaven • Rugby • Rugeley • Runcorn • St Austell • Sheerness • Skelmersdale • Solihull • Stansted Airport • Stevenage • Swanley • Teesside • Telford • Tyne Tunnel • Wallasey • West Bromwich • Whitehaven
Removed: Bishops Stortford • Brentwood • Cockermouth • Dagenham • Devizes • Howden • Orpington • Puckeridge • Stow-on-the-Wold • Tewkesbury • Wellington (Shropshire)
Note: Bishops Stortford was added in c.1985, and removed again by 1994.

2009

December 2009 saw large changes to the Primary Destinations list, with the following changes:

Added: Altrincham • Crewe • Ellesmere Port • Garston • Heysham • Huyton • Keighley • Leigh • Manchester Airport • Newquay • Shepton Mallet • Speke • Trafford Park • Tunbridge Wells • Uckfield • Wellingborough
Removed: Alton • Avonmouth • Bawtry • Brighouse • Esher • Hatfield • March • Midhurst • Redhill • Stretford • Stroud • Swanley • Wells • Wimborne Minster • Workington

2011

In 2011, Road Classification was handed to Highway Authorities, with the DfT just being oversight for the process. Requests for new primary destinations were consulted on, and seven new Primary Destinations were added:

Added: Birmingham Airport • Colne • East Midlands Airport • Minehead • Luton Airport • Port of Tilbury • Thamesport
Removed: Stone
Proposed but rejected: Bishops Stortford • Bristol International Airport • Callington • Cambourne/Pool/Redruth (as a single destination) • Daventry Rail Freight Terminal • Dearne Valley • Ellesmere Port • Hatfield • Hayle • Ledbury • Leeds Bradford Airport • Liverpool John Lennon Airport • London Gateway Port • Looe • Lytham St Annes • National Exhibition Centre • Northallerton • Port of Liverpool • Puckeridge • Saltash • Southend Airport • St Ives (Cornwall) • Torpoint • Wellington (Somerset) • Winsford ([http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/road-network-policy-consultation-response/response.pdf list of proposals and reasons for rejections from page 10 onwards)


The five airports and ports added were suggested by the DfT, whilst Colne and Minehead were requested by the relevant Highway Authority. There was a request for Marlborough to be removed, but this was rejected by the DfT.

2012

In 2012, a revised list of primary destinations was produced, adding the seven new destinations from 2011 to the 2009 list, plus making the following changes:

Added: Stone • Northwich
Removed: Tilbury

Scotland and Wales

  • Scotland - Using LTN 1/94, plus assumed changes as indicated by direction signs and maps
  • Wales - Using LTN 1/94, plus assumed changes as indicated by direction signs and maps

At the time of writing, no official lists post-1994 are seemingly available for either Scotland or Wales.

Changes up to LTN 1/94

Scotland

Added: Arbroath • East Kilbride • Erskine Bridge • Forth Road Bridge • Hawick • Kincardine Bridge • Montrose • Tay Bridge
Removed: Erskine

Wales

Added: Bridgend • Cwmbran • Llanelli • Pembroke Dock • Queensferry • St Clears • Tenby
Removed: Pontypool • Queensferry • Raglan

Assumed changes after LTN 1/94

Added: Uig
Removed: Arbroath • Braemar • Coldstream • Peebles • St Andrews

English Destinations

In England the lists from the DfT are presented by Region,which has been repeated here.

East

Basildon • Beccles • Bedford • Bury St Edmunds • Cambridge • Chelmsford • Clacton • Colchester • Cromer • Dartford Crossing • Diss • Downham Market • Dunstable • Ely • Felixstowe • Great Yarmouth • Harlow • Harwich • Hemel Hempstead • Hertford • Huntingdon • Ipswich • King's Lynn • Lowestoft • Luton • Luton Airport • Newmarket • Norwich • Peterborough • Port of Tilbury • Southend • St Albans • Stansted Airport • Stevenage • Sudbury • Swaffham • Thetford • Watford • Wisbech

Former: Hatfield • March • Puckeridge • Tilbury

East Midlands

Ashbourne • Boston • Buxton • Chesterfield • Corby • Derby • East Midlands Airport • Gainsborough • Grantham • Hinckley • Kettering • Leicester • Lincoln • Loughborough • Mansfield • Market Harborough • Matlock • Melton Mowbray • Newark • Northampton • Nottingham • Oakham • Skegness • Sleaford • Spalding • Stamford • Wellingborough • Worksop

Greater London

Note: Primary destinations in Greater London other than Heathrow Airport and London will generally only be signed within the M25 Motorway

Barking • Bexleyheath • Brent Cross • Brixton • Bromley • Central London • Clapham Junction • Croydon • Dalston • Docklands • Ealing • Enfield • Hammersmith • Harrow • Heathrow Airport • Holloway • Hounslow • Ilford • Kilburn • Kingston • Lewisham • London • Peckham • Richmond • Romford • Stratford • Sutton • The City • Uxbridge • Walthamstow • Wembley • West End • Westminster • Wimbledon • Wood Green • Woolwich

Former: Blackwall Tunnel • Dagenham • Greater London • Orpington • Woolwich Ferry

North East

Alnwick • Ashington • Berwick-upon-Tweed • Bishop Auckland • Consett • Corbridge • Darlington • Durham • Gateshead • Hartlepool • Hexham • Middlesbrough • Morpeth • Newcastle upon Tyne • South Shields • Stockton • Sunderland • Teesside • Tynemouth • Tyne Tunnel

North West

Altrincham • Ashton-under-Lyne • Barrow • Birkenhead • Blackburn • Blackpool • Bolton • Bootle • Brough • Burnley • Bury • Carlisle • Chester • Clitheroe • Colne • Congleton • Crewe • Ellesmere Port • Fleetwood • Garston • Huyton • Heysham • Kendal • Keswick • Kirkby Lonsdale • Lancaster • Leigh • Liverpool • Macclesfield • Manchester • Manchester Airport • Morecambe • Nantwich • Northwich • Oldham • Penrith • Preston • Rochdale • Runcorn • Salford • Skelmersdale • Southport • Speke • St Helens • Stockport • Trafford Park • Wallasey • Warrington • Whitehaven • Widnes • Windermere • Wigan

Former: Stretford • Workington

South East

Amersham • Andover • Ashford • Aylesbury • Banbury • Basingstoke • Beaconsfield • Bognor Regis • Bracknell • Brighton • Canterbury • Channel Tunnel • Chichester • Crawley • Dartford Crossing • Dover • Dorking • East Grinstead • Eastbourne • Fareham • Farnham • Folkestone • Gatwick Airport • Guildford • Hastings • High Wycombe • Horsham • Lewes • Maidenhead • Maidstone • Margate • Milton Keynes • Newbury • Newhaven • Oxford • Petersfield • Portsmouth • Ramsgate • Reading • Reigate • Ringwood • Sevenoaks • Sheerness • Slough • Southampton • Staines • Thamesport • Tunbridge Wells • Uckfield • Winchester • Worthing

Former: Alton • Esher • Hungerford • Midhurst • Redhill • Swanley

South West

Barnstaple • Bath • Bideford • Blandford • Bournemouth • Bodmin • Bridgwater • Bristol • Bude • Cheltenham • Chippenham • Cirencester • Dorchester • Exeter • Exmouth • Falmouth • Frome • Glastonbury • Gloucester • Helston • Honiton • Launceston • Liskeard • Marlborough • Minehead • Newquay • Okehampton • Paignton • Penzance • Plymouth • Poole • Redruth • Salisbury • Shepton Mallet • St Austell • Swindon • Taunton • Tavistock • Torquay • Trowbridge • Truro • Wadebridge • Warminster • Weston-super-Mare • Weymouth • Yeovil

Former: Avonmouth • Devizes • Stow-on-the-Wold • Stroud • Tewkesbury • Wells • Wimbourne

West Midlands

Birmingham • Birmingham Airport • Bridgnorth • Bromsgrove • Brownhills • Burton upon Trent • Cannock • Coventry • Dudley • Evesham • Hereford • Kidderminster • Leamington Spa • Leek • Leominster • Lichfield • Newcastle-under-Lyme • Nuneaton • Oswestry • Redditch • Ross-on-Wye • Rugby • Rugeley • Shrewsbury • Solihull • Stafford • Stoke-on-Trent • Stone • Stourbridge • Stratford-upon-Avon • Tamworth • Telford • Uttoxeter • Walsall • Warwick • West Bromwich • Whitchurch • Wolverhampton • Worcester

Former: Wellington

Yorkshire and the Humber

Barnsley • Bradford • Bridlington • Dewsbury • Doncaster • Goole • Grimsby • Halifax • Harrogate • Huddersfield • Hull • Humber Bridge • Immingham • Keighley • Leeds • Pontefract • Ripon • Rotherham • Scarborough • Scotch Corner • Scunthorpe • Selby • Sheffield • Skipton • Thirsk • Wakefield • Wetherby • Whitby • York

Former: Bawtry • Brighouse • Howden

Scottish Destinations

Aberdeen • Arbroath • Ayr • Braemar • Campbeltown • Coldstream • Crianlarich • Dumfries • Dundee • East Kilbride • Edinburgh • Elgin • Erskine Bridge • Forfar • Forth Road Bridge • Fort William • Fraserburgh • Galashiels • Glasgow • Greenock • Hawick • Inverness • Irvine • Jedburgh • Kilmarnock • Kincardine Bridge • Kirkcaldy • Kyle of Lochalsh • Mallaig • Montrose • Newtonmore • Oban • Paisley • Peebles • Perth • Peterhead • St Andrews • Stirling • Stranraer • Tay Bridge • Thurso • Uig • Ullapool • Wick

Former: Arbroath • Braemar • Coldstream • Erskine • Kincardine • Peebles • St Andrews

Welsh Destinations

Abergavenny • Aberystwyth • Bala • Bangor • Betws-y-Coed • Brecon • Bridgend • Builth Wells • Caernarfon • Cardiff • Cardigan • Carmarthen • Chepstow • Conwy • Cwmbran • Dolgellau • Fishguard • Haverfordwest • Holyhead • Llandeilo • Llandovery • Llandrindod Wells • Llandudno • Llanelli • Llangollen • Llangurig • Machynlleth • Merthyr Tydfil • Milford Haven • Mold • Monmouth • Neath • Newport • Newtown • Pembroke Dock • Porthmadog • Port Talbot • Queensferry • Rhayader • Ruthin • St Clears • Swansea • Tenby • Welshpool • Wrexham

Former: Pontypool • Raglan

Super Primary Destinations

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For detailed information about this topic, see Roads UK:Primary Destinations

The following Primary Destinations were, before 1994, considered to be more important primary destinations, signed first: Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dover, Edinburgh, Exeter, Fishguard, Glasgow, Great Yarmouth, Harwich, Holyhead, Hull, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Portsmouth and Southampton.

Folkestone was also a Super Primary Destination in 1970.


One can probably add Felixstowe and the Channel Tunnel as de facto Super Primary Destinations just before 1994.