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10 Fun Facts about Britain

Fact #1: There’s nothing to do outside London

Yeah… watching the sun rise through the 5,000-year old boulders that make up the world’s most famous prehistoric monument is pretty ordinary. Catching a gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles played 292 times – nah, nothing special. Road tripping in the Scottish Highlands where James Bond, Harry Potter and Braveheart were filmed and making friends with the hairiest, shaggiest, cutest Highland coos – you can do that anywhere can’t you?

Fact #2: Everyone speaks with a posh accent… or else in cockney rhyming slang

We don’t all speak with super-posh accents like Lady Mary from Downton, but nor do we chat to our china plates* down the Battlecruiser** in rhyming slang (much as that would be entertaining). There’s an extraordinary array of accents across Britain, from super-sexy Scottish to the irresistible, lyrical lilt you hear in Wales. They vary dramatically; in parts of Yorkshire, you might be identified to the very village you come from by your accent.

(*mates, **boozer)

Fact #3: All British people eat is fish and chips…

We’ll devour a midweek masala dosa in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, and go for oysters and langoustines at Crabshakk on a fancy Friday night out in Glasgow. It’s got to be a Hawksmoor brekkie anytime we wake up just a little hungover in Manchester (with a Bloody Mary)… And yep. Take us to Brighton Pier on a sunny Sunday and we probably won’t say no to fish and chips – and a bag of donuts.

Fact #4: …and all they drink is tea

Tea is terrific and coffee is delicious in Britain, but what they’re pouring into teacups down at The Blind Pig speakeasy in Soho isn’t such an innocent brew… the live jazz and 1920s vibe give the game away – gin is in. Tour the state of the art new Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery in idyllic Hampshire, join a Gin Journey in London, Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh and even blend your own booze before crashing at London’s brand new ‘gin hotel’, The Distillery.

Fact #5: Well fine, but Brits still drink their beer warm

No – just – no. Ok, beer nerds won’t drink it icy cold because it kills the taste, but most beer is stored in cellars that stay cool year-round. You can’t move for craft breweries in Britain these days – BrewDog is one to look out for. The ‘punk brewery’ started with two employees (and one dog) in 2007 and now has 540 employees and 30 bars across Britain (and one dog). Make ours a Punk IPA.

Fact #6: It rains all the time

Actually, London is drier than Paris, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Brisbane. We’re not denying you might want to pack a brolly, but the thrilling changeability of Britain’s weather means you’re just as likely to need your shades. When it does rain hard, head for the Bat Cave – Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons National Park starred as the entrance to Batman’s lair in The Dark Knight Rises and is spectacular after a downpour.

Fact #7: Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool… that’s it, right?

Wrong! There are 20 clubs in the Premier League, which means agony and ecstasy up and down the country for football fans from August to May. Head to a pub on match day to celebrate/commiserate with local fans, meet soccer royalty and go behind the scenes on a Legends Tour – offered by most stadiums – or, when in Manchester, defer to the eternal wisdom of the Black Cab driver on a footy-themed Taxi Tour.

Fact #8: Looking at castles is boooo-ring

So stay the night in one. How about a four-poster bed (after your Tudor banquet, that is) at Anne Boleyn’s old haunt, Hever Castle? Or make like a medieval knight at Warwick Castle, reaching your sleeping quarters via 55 spiral stairs. From the 641 castles scattered across Wales, choose roaring fires and turreted bathrooms at Castell Deudraeth, located on a private peninsula with its own micro climate.

Fact #9: The beaches are nothing special

Yeah, horrible, aren’t they?

Fact #10: Heathrow is Britain’s only airport

Britain is compact and easy to get around, thanks to excellent air, rail and road connectivity, making it easy to hop from hip urban hubs to the bracing countryside in a few short hours. Did you know that nowhere in this nation is more than two hours away from the coast? And when it comes to choosing where to fly into and out from, take your pick: touch down in Edinburgh and join the party at one of the city’s 12 amazing festivals; land in Newcastle and head 2,000 years back in time at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall; you can also arrive into Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow, all of which have easy air links with Europe – though between making your own gin, banqueting in a castle and working on your cockney accent, why would you want to leave?!

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