What’s the most British thing ever? There are lots of things people associate with Great Britain, but it’s hard to say which has the strongest association with our country. Britain is well known all around the world, and despite being a small island nation, it’s left a big mark on modern society in terms of culture and technology.
One of the things our nation is most famous for is the strange quirks and customs that make us unique. Whether it’s our fondness for tea, our insistence on good manners or our love of sarcastic humour, we’re a country that it’s easy to be proud of.
To celebrate Britishness and the things that make this country so unique, we’ve made a list of the top things that people first think of when they hear the word Britain. Read on for our full list of British cultural quirks and customs and see if there’s any you can think of that we might have missed.
Queuing might not be the most interesting thing about being British, but it is something that seems to set us apart from other countries. It seems there are unwritten rules on queuing in the UK that everyone follows no matter what.
Pushing in front is seen as a mortal sin, and anyone breaking this rule will be met by all manner of disapproving looks and tutting. British people are masters of forming an orderly line whether they’re waiting for a pint or queuing up to use the loo.
Bingo is based on a game that is first recorded as being played in Italy in the 16th century. Although it might not be a British invention, it’s become something of a British institution with bingo halls found in almost every major town.
In the UK, the 90 ball version of bingo is the most popular way to play, and although bingo halls are popular, online bingo Britain has taken over in recent years. Around five million Brits have admitted that they regularly enjoy a good game of bingo with their friends, and the game has gotten even more popular in recent years.
3. Fish and Chips
Britain might not be famous for its cuisine, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t know good food when we see it. Fish and chips are an essential British meal, and few things beat a delicious, battered cod or haddock with homemade chips.
Mushy peas are optional, of course, and although fish shops have become less common over the years, you can still order fish and chips at most UK restaurants. It’s estimated that British people eat 167 million servings of fish and chips every year, showing the tradition certainly hasn’t gone out of fashion.
4. Talking about the Weather
The weather in the UK is famously rainy and unpredictable, hence why we love to talk about it so much! Small talk definitely isn’t much of a talent for the majority of British people, which is the other reason why we seem to bring up the weather so much.
Whether it’s talking to neighbours, colleagues or the shop attendant, few topics are as commonly visited as what’s going on with the weather today. No matter what the weather is doing, we always seem to find a way to bring it into the conversation, sun, snow, rain, or hail, you can bet that it will come up when having a chat.
5. Roast Dinner on Sundays
The traditional Sunday roast is something almost every family in the UK abides by. Whether you prefer chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or a vegetarian option, it’s hard to beat. Add in some gravy, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and a side of veg, and you’ve got a perfect meal that will keep you full all day long.
If you struggle to make a roast dinner on Sundays, the vast majority of restaurants and lots of pubs will offer it as an option. Of course, few things beat homemade, but it’s good to give yourself or your mum a break from cooking.
6. Saying Sorry Too Frequently
Apologies for this one, but saying sorry is one of the most commonly used British expressions, and it’s something that British people are known for all over the world. Politeness almost comes naturally in our society, and while there are outliers, we seem to enjoy saying sorry a lot and apologizing, even if things were outside of our control.
This isn’t a bad thing, of course, provided the apology is sincere and not said sarcastically, that is. However, there are times when we say sorry even if we don’t really mean it, for example, if someone bumps into us or we’re politely telling someone to keep the noise down.
7. Shorts and Sunglasses When the Sun Comes Out
Britain only seems to get a few days of sunshine a year, so perhaps it’s no surprise that when it does finally happen, people tend to get a bit carried away. No matter what the temperature is, a bit of sunshine seems to send us into a state of euphoria and the shorts, t-shirts, and sunglasses come out straight away.
Whether it’s mid-April, July or September, British people are keen to never let a day of sun go to waste, and it’s not long before the barbecues are fired up, and the parks are packed with revellers.
This typically ends in sunburned arms and legs, however, as our skin usually doesn’t have much experience with direct sunlight outside of our holidays abroad.
8. Having a Stiff Upper Lip
British people are famous for keeping a stiff upper lip and going about their daily lives no matter what’s happening. The most famous example of this is the Keep Calm and Carry On slogan that was first used during World War 2.
While London and other UK cities were the targets of devastating bombing campaigns by the German Airforce, the vast majority of people went about their day as normal, putting up with the constant air raids and refusing to let it bother them.
Although things are very different today, British people are still good at putting up a front and staying calm in the face of crisis.
Share your thoughts on British things
Whatever your thoughts on Great Britain and its people, it’s hard to argue that these things help set the nation apart from anywhere else in the world. Great Britain may not be the biggest country, but it has had a big impact on the world we live in.
Today, it’s easier than ever to interact with people all over the world, so cultures are becoming less unique and more homogenized. Still, Britain will always remain unique in its culture and customs thanks to its long history of upholding traditions.
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