During the IELTS Speaking exam candidates may be asked to talk about hometown or favourite city. Therefore, it is important to know how to describe it. You could use these phrases to talk about any city or town.
Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking component can be quite challenging if candidates are not sure of what to say for about 2 minutes. Two minutes can feel like two hours if you are not fully prepared for it and you can end up sounding like a broken record: repeating the same words and the same ideas over and over again. Unfortunately, what’s worse is that there is no choice in the kind of topic to discuss, so they will have to make the best use of the situation by preparing and practising for common topics as much as possible.
Describing a Town/City vocabulary with definitions
- boarded up shops: shops that are no longer doing business
- chain stores: well-known brands with shops in multiple cities
- to close down: to stop doing business
- ethnic neighbourhood: a district forming a community with a common national or cultural tradition within a town or city
- fashionable boutiques: fashionable clothes shops
- to get around: to travel around
- high-rise flats: multi-story apartments
- inner-city: the central part of a city where people live and where conditions are often poor
- in the suburbs: the outer area of large towns and cities where people live
- lively bars/restaurants: bars or restaurants with a good atmosphere
- local facilities: local buildings or services serving the public
- multi-story car parks: car parks on several floors
- office block: a large building that contains offices
- out of town shopping centre/retail park: large shopping centres outside of the town or city
- outskirts: outer areas of a town or city
- pavement cafe: cafes with tables outside on the pavement
- places of interest: buildings that have a particular interest for visitors
- poor housing: housing that is not in good condition
- public spaces: areas in a town or city that are open to the public
- public transport system: public vehicles such as buses and trains that operate at regular times on fixed routes
- residential area: an area where people live
- run down: old and of a poor standard
- shopping centre: an area consisting of multiple shops
- shopping malls: large indoor shopping centres
- sprawling city: a city that has grown over time and which covers a wide area
- tourist attraction: a place of interest to tourists
- traffic congestion: heavy traffic making it difficult to move around a town or city
- upmarket shops: expensive fashionable shops
Idioms about Towns/Cities
“The rat race” is a nice idiom for the fast pace of modern city life where no one has the time to sit back and enjoy life
Lets practice abovementioned vocabulary in IELTS Speaking model questions and answers.
IELTS Speaking model questions and answers
Part 1 Questions and Answers
Q: What is it like where you live?
A: I live in a residential area of a busy town in the south of my country. We have all needed facilities, such as good public transport and quite big shopping centre. At the same time it is starting to be developed with increasing number of infrastructures and establishments.
Q: Do you like living in the city?
A: Yes I do … I like going out with my friends and there are lots of lovely bars and restaurants within walking distance of my apartment … I’m a bit of a culture vulture as well so it’s great to have access to art exhibitions and that kind of thing …
Q: What do people in your town do?
A: Agriculture and fishing are common in my hometown. Also, with the presence of modernization, there are now many office jobs in my town
Q: Do you get many tourists visiting your area?
A: Not really no … I live in the inner-city and the area is a little run down … it’s basically a lot of high-rise flats and many of the shops are boarded up … so nothing to interest tourists really …
Q: Is it easy to travel around your hometown?
A: Yes, it is. It is a small city but there different kinds of transportation are available
Q: Would you prefer to live somewhere else? (Why?)
A: For the moment I’m happy living here, but at some point I’d like to live in a country with a warmer climate, and I’d like to live near a beach!
Part 2 Questions and Answers
Describe your home town. You should say:
- Describe the place
- What is special about it?
- Compare it to other cities in the world
A: My hometown is called … . I was born and raised in there and I can say it is my favorite place. It is located in the southernmost tip of the largest island in my country. It is not a very big province. It is both traditional and modern. It is traditional because it still has many festivals that are celebrated by the locals, yet modern, as it is starting to be developed just like other provinces having more and more infrastructures and establishments.
… is a province that is about 12-hour bus ride from the capital city of the country, but the main roads are part of the national highway so they are wide and huge. It is an important place because it is a passage for buses and cars that would cross from other provinces and regions in the north of the country to the south of it.
… is also special as it has many tourist attractions. For example, it has woods and a lake with very beautiful scenery.
Among all the places I have been to, I think … is one of the best, so it’s out of comparison. It has beautiful places to visit. It is not crowded, not polluted. It has many places that are not yet developed and are very peaceful and relaxing to stay in. Many people visit this place to experience virgin nature.
Describe an interesting town or city in your country that visitors might enjoy. You should say
- what the place is called
- where the place is
- what the facilities are like
and say why visitors might enjoy going there.
A: Anyone who comes to my country really should spend some time in Barcelona, it’s a beautiful place, it’s not what you would call a sprawling city. It’s quite compact really and you could walk across the city in a couple of hours, but there’s no need to do that as we have a fantastic public transport system so it’s easy to get around. There are various districts all with their own character, there are the upmarket shops in the centre. So, you’ll find lots of chain stores you’ll recognise from your own country but also local brands as well. We have the narrow streets in the Gothic district with lots of fashionable boutiques and tourist attractions. There’s the Olympic area and the beaches along the coast … and dotted around the city are some lovely public spaces, parks and squares in the city centre and on the outskirts of Barcelona where people relax with their friends and family and of course pavement cafes everywhere. All that and some great historical places of interest … so a great destination for tourists …
Part 3 Questions and Answers
Q: What are the advantages of living in a city?
A: I think it’s having access to local facilities, local shops as well as access to larger shopping malls in the city centre … and if you’re well-off you can afford to live in the suburbs away from the busy traffic …
Q: In your experience are city centres usually attractive places?
A: Some can be yes … especially those with a historical interest, but sometimes they’re full of ugly office blocks, multi-story car parks, and residents living in poor housing. I believe, it depends on the city.
Q: What are some of the challenges facing towns and cities?
A: I suppose traffic congestion is a major problem … and the growth in out-of-town supermarkets and retail parks mean lots of town centre shops are closing down … plus a shortage of good quality housing … I think these are the major challenges …
For better practicing don’t forget to check Recent IELTS Speaking questions (2018)