Tea time, fish and chips, rainy weather, and endless queues – typically English! But how many of these stereotypes are actually true?  

Stereotypes about England – Fact or Fiction? 

  1. People

If you want to get to know a country, it’s best to meet the people who live there. All in all the English are quite friendly and politically correct. They generally try to avoid insulting or offending anyone. Even tourists that show up in large crowds are well received. 

There’s a split between Northern and Southern England. The Londoners are accused of being constantly on the move and too busy to bother with anyone else. By contrast, Northern people are known for being more relaxed and open. In any case, there are cultural differences everywhere. Here are some typically English ones.

  1. Transportation 

England is famous for the London Underground transit system and “Routemasters,” the iconic double-decker buses that run all day and night. London is quite proud of its public transportation and has a well-connected network throughout the city center. If you’re driving a car, make sure you stay on the left and watch out for buses. Attempting to rush ahead is frowned upon. 

Kaplan Tip: If you’re between 16 and 25 years old, purchasing a Young Persons Railcard is worth it. For a low price you can save up to 34% on rail travel nationwide. If you travel frequently by train, this is a great way to save money!

  1. Conversation

In conversation English people are somewhat reserved and are wary of getting into other people’s private lives. Personal questions about profession, relationship status or age are usually avoided. The best way to start or end a conversation is to talk about the weather!

  1. Climate

We won’t blame you if rain is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of English weather! However, this widespread stereotype is a bit of an exaggeration. Actually the temperature is usually right in the middle – not too hot and not too cold. Wet weather is the worst in spring and autumn. It’s true, however, that the weather can be quite variable – today the sun might be shining, but tomorrow it’s already snowing! 

  1. Humor 

The English are well-known for their humor – above all, for their sarcasm and self-irony! The English are aware of their weak points and know how to use them to make people laugh. At first you might have to get used to this kind of humor, but the English really are the best in the comedy business, delighting their audiences and inspiring other comedians all over the world. Some famous examples are Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Blackadder, among many others. 

Stand-up comedy is also popular in England and many great and up-and-coming comedians perform for large audiences. Various talents can be experienced live at the Comedy Club at Leicester Square. 

Kaplan Tip: Kaplan has two language schools in London, one at Leicester Square and the other in Covent Garden. Both schools are located in the heart of the city and are very popular among language students, leading to their being frequently fully booked. The school at Leicester Square is for students aged 25 and older, whereas younger language students usually prefer the school in Covent Garden.

  1. Food and Drink

When you hear “English food,” you probably think of fried fish and chips, and there’s definitely something to that! At the same time, England is a gathering place for diverse cultures and this is reflected in its cuisine,  from traditional roast to exotic Indian curries. England is also the birthplace of the good old sandwich, which we all know and love today – our thanks to the Earl of Sandwich and his little moment of genius in the year 1762!

Kaplan Tipp: Even in the expensive city of London it’s possible to find tasty food at a great price. 

Concerning drinks, the English are especially proud of their tea (usually taken with milk and sugar) and alcohol, particularly ale and cider. In the summertime the English enjoy Pimm’s (a liquor made from various fruits) at the barbeque. 

Scroll to Top