The United Kingdom is one of the most influential nations on Earth. So naturally, people tend to think they know more about it than is often the case. Even the locals may find the following facts about the UK a little surprising…
1. The UK is amazingly diverse.
You can find over 300 languages spoken in the UK. For 300 years the British were all speaking French!
2. The UK really is a tea-drinking nation.
As the stereotype dictates the Brits drink more tea than anywhere else in the world (about 165 million cups a day).
There are some very strange laws in the UK. For instance it’s illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day, despite tradition.
7. The UK is a hub for super-chefs.
Britain is considered (stereotypically) to have some of the worst food in the world, however London is also home to many Michelin star chefs, including Gordon Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal and Marcus Wareing.
Britain holds the record for the world’s shortest war; just 38 minutes!
British cows have regional accents…
10. British names can be varied, but…
The most common name is John Smith.
11. The UK’s golfing history is ancient.
Scotland is home to the world’s oldest golf course, Musselburgh. Although, this has recently been reassigned to St. Andrews.
12. Try saying this…
Wales has a railway station named “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”.
Flag of Great Britain – ‘The Union Jack’
13. The UK led the (sub)way.
London was the first city in the world to trial an underground railway.
14. The UK has pubs everywhere.
The most remote pub in Britain is 107 miles from the nearest city.
15. What do you give the lady who has everything?
Queen Victoria was once given a giant cheese wheel measuring 3 meters in diameter.
A red Royal Mail post box
16. Be careful posting letters…
It is considered treason to paste a stamp upside down.
17. The London Eye is a record breaker.
England is home to the largest Ferris wheel in Europe: The London Eye.
18. Her Majesty is banned from some areas of parliament!
The Queen may not enter the House of Commons.
19. Scotland loves malt.
Scotland produces over 250 million litres of whisky each year; Scotch whisky is world famous.
20. Think Scotland is kilt-friendly?
Kilts were temporarily illegal in Scotland.
21. The British have a way with words…
Sausages used to be named “Bags of Mystery”.
22. The UK is a country full of diverse dialects.
The British accent changes every 25 miles.
Tower Bridge, on The River Thames, London
23. British trousers can be fatal.
6,000 people in Britain suffer serious harm every year because they tripped over their trousers. Some of them fall down the stairs while trying to put their trousers on. Quite a number actually die.
24. A card for a century.
The Queen sends personalised birthday cards to people in Great Britain who turn 100. She also does this for those who turn 105 or older.
25. Britain loves a curry!
The world thinks that ‘Fish and Chips’ are the UK’s favourite meal. But UK residents once voted Chicken Tikka Masala as their favourite dish.
Curry is Britain’s favourite dish, not fish and chips or roast beef
26. Tea, coffee – it’s all the same!
As well as tea, British people like coffee too – and drink 70 million cups every day.
27. Britain has a weight problem.
25% of adults in Britain are obese. The UK has the highest rate of obesity on the planet.
28. The UK is close from coast to coast.
The UK covers 93,000 square miles. However, no location in England is further than 75 miles from the sea.
The port of Dover, Kent
29. Take a short flight!
It takes two minutes to fly from Westray to Papa Westray. The scheduled flights between the tiny islands are the shortest in the world.
30. The UK isn’t actually Britain.
‘UK’ and ‘Britain’ are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. The UK includes Northern Ireland.
31. There are score of cities in the UK.
There are 69 official cities in the UK. Can you name them all?
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
32. Don’t die in parliament!
The law prohibits any one from dying in the houses of parliament.
33. Worried about your cremation turnout?
In England, you can hire mourners for a funeral.
34. Football has some fairly shocking origins…
When a Danish Warrior’s skull was discovered by Anglo-Saxon farmworkers, they started kicking it around, partly out of anger, partly out of amusement. This created a game called ‘Kick Dane’s Head’. This eventually became football.
35. There was a curfew in the UK on domestic violence.
In the 16th Century, husbands were prohibited from beating their wives after 9PM because the noise produced disturbed the sleep of those in the vicinity.
36. Capital punishment ended in the UK in the ’50s.
A British man was wrongfully accused of killing his wife and daughter. He was eventually executed in 1950―this compelled legislators to outlaw the death penalty.
37. Windsor Castle is seriously old!
Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest royal residence. It came into existence in 1080.
38. British books are big money!
The UK produced the world’s first billionaire author in J.K. Rowling.
39. Postage labels are very British.
Stamps originated from the UK. The first stamp, the Penny Black was issued in 1840.
40. It’s what’s inside that counts.
People think that ‘Big Ben’ is the name of the famous clock tower. But they are only partly right. It is specifically the name of the bell.
Big Ben, Westminster, London
41. Laws are flexible in Britain.
Britain doesn’t have a written constitution.
42. British ancient history is… well, ancient.
Stonehenge, a popular tourist attraction in Wiltshire, is older than the Pyramids.
43. Charles is waiting for his chance.
Prince Charles is the heir to the British throne. He has held this position for over seven decades!
44. Kids can drink beer in the UK.
The law permits children over five years to drink alcohol as long as they’re on private property.
FAQs about The UK
Are The UK and Britain the same??
Great Britain doesn’t include Northern Ireland - whereas the United Kingdom does.
Is the UK technically still in Europe?
The United Kingdom is still a part of the European continent, however, they are no longer part of the European Union.
Does the Queen have any power?
Yes, the Queen of England still has final say over some things, such as whether or not a Prime Minister can form a government.
Do you know any fun facts about the UK? Share them in the comments below!