Real-world inspiration: Wales / The Cotswolds / Greendale from Postman Pat

We're not sure if two houses technically constitutes a village, but you and your rival Hop start out in Postwick, a picturesque little corner of Galar bound by rolling fields and just outside Wedgehurst. It brought to mind any number of Welsh villages, but could equally by a hamlet in the Cotwolds or any quiet countryside retreat. Lovely.

Its little streets and rolling hills also took us back to our childhood and Greendale from Postman Pat. Check out the intro below and wonder how many Pokémon Pat has crammed in the back of his van:

You heard it here first - Jess is actually a special Galarian Meowth.

Slumbering Weald

Slumbering Weald

Real-world inspiration: Winter

A mysterious fog drifts through the woods in the Slumbering Weald. The creeping mist might seem attractive in a brooding, romantic, Wuthering Heights kind of way, but most of us don't awaken to see the fog rolling evocatively over the moors at daybreak.

Actually, for us this place exemplified just how grim and grey it can get over here. The ever-changing conditions of the Wild Areas also do a good job of capturing the changeable weather, with shadows from the clouds above constantly racing over the landscape, but the Slumbering Weald gives a pretty authentic impression of the murkiness most of the UK wakes up to for at least six months of the year. When it's not raining, that is.

Blenheim.JPG© Nintendo Life

Still, sometimes it's rather pleasant.



Real-world inspiration: Margate / Folkstone / any urban centre at 3 in the morning

A depressed coastal town, Spikemuth is a stand in for a whole bunch of places. Margate and Folkstone spring to mind, although those places have changed a lot since the mid-to-late 20th century, and Spikemuth's shuttered storefronts and bleakness mirror virtually any town centre area in Britain at 3am in the morning. Yes, some of us are lucky to live in picturesque villages with rustic pubs, bakeries and boutiques, but most of us head down high streets like this of an evening when we're meeting mates for a beverage and a chat.



Real-world inspiration: Erm, well, it's... we'll get back to you!

Despite all the inspiration and similarities, it's important to remember that the Galar region is not actually Britain, and nowhere is that more apparently than in Stow-on-Side. Despite having an appropriately British-sounding name, there's really not much besides the red brick buildings that we found very familiar. The lighting, the dust, the corrugated steel sheet roofs on the houses - as with Ballonlea, Game Freak gave themselves some leeway with Stow-on-Side. Maybe it's a nod to the infinite diversity in infinite combinations that makes up the fabric of the British Isles! With Andean pan pipe-style music, because that always goes down well. Remember Dragon Roost Island?



Real-world inspiration: Avebury / Salisbury / Stonehenge

Turffield channels Avebury, Salisbury (sawls-berry) and their respective stone circle monuments (the most famous being Stonehenge, where the demons dwell). The white figure on the hillside also resembles the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire. The game plays into the ancient legends and myths surrounding the rocks that scatter the landscape and of all the inspirations, this is one of the easiest to identify.



Real-world inspiration: Wells, Somerset

Despite concept art from Game Freak designer Shigeru Ohmori showing a sketch from Windermere in the Lake District which apparently informed the look of the first real town you come across, it immediately brought to our minds the town that stood in for Sandford from Hot Fuzz. As a general rule, having a cathedral is a good indication of city status; Wells is the smallest city in England.

Not a million miles away from a 'typical' British abode, if such a thing exists. You know, a weekend place for when we get bored of our castles.
Not a million miles away from a 'typical' British abode, if such a thing exists. You know, a weekend place for when we get bored of our castles.

To be fair, rolling fields and livestock can be found all over the UK, but something about the infectious joviality of Wedgehurst and its residents made us think of Sandford - it's almost too perfect, you know? Of course, we're not implying that Wedgehurst residents are actually a bunch of cultists that meet in the dead of night to perform weird rituals on Pokémon. No, we never said that. Stop thinking that.

And finally, Wyndon


Real-world inspiration: Swindon

Only joking. Wyndon is obviously based on the English capital London. Tall buildings and landmarks aplenty, it'd be tough to miss the parallels with this one...

Landaaan Town.JPG© Nintendo Life

Oh course, there's plenty missing from Game Freak's interpretation on this green and pleasant land - ugly concrete flyovers, roundabouts, absurd one-way systems in the city centres - but overall Galar gave us a great shot of nostalgia for the old place. We did very much enjoy the naming of the Lake of Outrage, too.

If you're eager for a full list of the 400 Pokémon available in the Galar Pokédex, check out our snazzy Galar Pokédex database tool. You can also find out more about the three Pokémon Sword and Shield starters and their evolutions, hunt out Easter Eggs in Pokémon Sword and Shield, and find out how to find and evolve Galar region Pokémon from Sirfetch'd to Frosmoth, Alcremie and many more.

Let us know below how you're getting on in Galar, which areas you have particularly enjoyed, and if any of the places we've mentioned reminded you of different real-life locations. Ta-ra for now!