22 Things Locals Want You To Know Before Visiting England

22 Things Locals Want You To Know Before Visiting England

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I asked some locals what they wanted tourist to know before visiting their country!


Milkaela says:

1. ”I don’t live in a touristy area. I guess I would like people to know that British and English aren’t the same; to queue politically.”

2. ”London isn’t the only city.”

Siobhan says:

3. “You do tip in the UK, but it’s usually a very small amount. For instance, if your meal or service came to £16.80, you would pay with a £20 note and tell them to keep the change. It’s good manners to tip hairdressers, long distance taxis and tradespeople, but not always expected. If you got a good service, then you tip.”

4. “In the UK, the drinking age is 18. This is not often strictly adhered to, but don’t bother trying to get in a club if you’re underage. You can buy whatever alcohol you like from 18, provided you have an ID. You will get refused service in most places if you are drunk, because it is technically illegal to be drunk in a pub, club or bar in the UK – but what classes as ‘too drunk to serve’ is usually violent or unsafe behaviour.”

5. ”The reason policeman’s helmets are shaped like that is to stop them being struck in the head by blunt objects.”

6. ”If you ever want to strike up a conversation with a British Millennial, complain about the price of a Freddo. It’s a small chocolate bar that used to cost 5p when I was a kid, and now costs 25p. This is a cause of much consternation amongst my generation.”

7. ”Whilst Britain is a nation based upon politeness, it’s also based upon banter as well. Basically, if someone is polite to you, they don’t like you, and if someone insults you, they do like you.”

8. “You always thank the bus driver.”

9. ”Don’t sit next to someone on public transport when there are empty seats available.”

10. ”Don’t strike up a conversation with a stranger, but if you must, there are only a few accepted starters: the weather, these kids today, the price of (petrol, Freddos, beer), or you can remark upon something unusual that just happened.”

11. “Dog parks are rarely a thing. They just poo everywhere. I’m sorry.”

12. ”Most buildings in Britain are historical, and most are haunted. You can take a bus to nearly anywhere and find something of interest.”

Zoe says:

By Zoe Pickburn from EatsLeeds, a gluten-free and vegetarian food blogger, content writer and recipe developer, serving up (mostly) healthy and always delicious recipes and foodspiration from Yorkshire.

13. “People in Yorkshire may have a reputation for being grumpy, but we’re actually some of the friendliest people around. Some of us may (try to) look gruff, but we’re a generous bunch really, and we also have a great sense of humour. Case-in-point: just take a look at some of our place names. Giggleswick? Slackbottom? Shitlingthorpe? Blubberhouses? Wetwang? Come on guys, who isn’t laughing?”

14. “Drinking and Pubs are, of course, part of the culture across the UK, and nowhere more so than in Yorkshire. As with everywhere else in the UK, you can legally purchase alcohol from the age of 18. Usually, pubs in Yorkshire don’t provide table service – order your pint (or any other drink you like) at the bar and pay, then wait for your drink and take it back you your table.”

15. “At the pub we typically drink in rounds. In a group (of, say, 2-4 people) we’d each take turns to buy all the drinks for the group – weaselling out when it’s your round is considered very rude (as is taking part in a round if you’re drinking something far more expensive than everyone else).”

16. “The food in Yorkshire is far from bland. When eating out, Yorkshire has a huge stack of dining options, with cuisines catering to just about every palette (and pocket). For typical Yorkshire fare, head to the coast for Fish and Chips; tuck into a Sunday roast with all the trimmings (including Yorkshire puddings) in a country pub; get the ultimate in fancy afternoon tea at Betty’s in North Yorkshire; head to Bradford, crowned ‘curry capital of Britain’; or grab some of Wallace & Gromit’s favourite cheese in (you’ve guessed it) Wensleydale. In Yorkshire we’re pretty loyal to home-grown, local businesses, so whatever you eat, make sure to support one of our local treasures.”

17. “In terms of tipping: a discretionary tip of around 10% is typically expected, for table service (unless the service is terrible!). Tips at the bar (and elsewhere) are not expected, but greatly appreciated – there is usually a ‘tip jar’ for this purpose.”

18. “Yorkshire tea is the best tea. Brew it strong, in a mug, with milk and a sugar or two. Lovely.”

19. Don’t say Yorkshire is small. Yorkshire is the biggest county in the UK, and spans coastal towns like Whitby, Filey and Scarborough; cities both historic, like York, and contemporary, like Leeds; as well as over 1,700km of green space in the Yorkshire Dales National Park alone.”

20. “Don’t worry too much about understanding the accent. It is said that there are as many accents in Britain as there are in the entire of North America, and some people worry that the Yorkshire accent might be indecipherable. But don’t worry – most of us don’t have a very broad accent, and we’re always happy to repeat ourselves if you don’t quite catch it the first time.”

21. “You may need to adjust to the dialect. A few of the most common misunderstandings come from ‘owt’ (anything) ‘nowt’ (nothing) and ‘summat’ (something), as well as using ‘off down’ to mean ‘going to’, ‘while’ to mean ‘until’ and ‘right’ to mean ‘very’. Common greetings include ‘orrite’ (alright?) ‘now then’ and ‘ey up’, and the usual response is to repeat the greeting back to the greeter. Swearwords and insults (like ‘plonker’, ‘pillock’ or ‘pratt’) are often used as terms of endearment between close friends (they are also frequently used as actual insults, you just have to pay close attention to context).”

22. “If Yorkshire was a country, we’d have placed 12th in the 2012 Olympics, and beaten Jamaica, Spain, South Africa, and Brasil. We just want you to know this because we’re still very proud of ourselves.”

Drinking Tip: Age 18


Map of England

uk-flag  england-flag

UK Flag                                                   England Flag

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article! Please feel free to give me more suggestions down in the comments or email, and I can add you to the list! 

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Two Traveling Texans
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26 thoughts on “22 Things Locals Want You To Know Before Visiting England

  1. I spend a fair amount of time in England and the one thing that I have learned that I think not enough people get is that while London is amazing there are so many other cities in the country that are worth seeing! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  2. Interesting post. I surely didn’t know most of these things. However, considering a 25% tip “very small” sounds ridiculous (£16.80, you would pay with a £20 note and tell them to keep the change). I guess we should be thankful we are only supposed to pay 15% in the USA. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Yes, we only pay 15-20% in U.S. and really that is not even a lot. I am not a fan of tipping, but if that’s what you are supposed to do then that’s what I do. I know it’s not required, but they make so little here.

    • hm.. that is interesting. I didn’t do much driving in London. We were never caught in traffic anywhere. (My travel partner did all the driving, but either way, we didn’t have any problem with traffic)

  3. Since the culture in the UK and Australia are quite similar, many of these apply to Australia too (perhaps not the politeness ;)), so no big surprises. The accents would have to be my biggest challenge but its good to know people don’t mind repeating themselves. Always good to get a local look at things. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. Re: 25% tip.

    That’s only for great service though – it was just mediocre you’d probably give them £1 or not even bother. The act of tipping really is just ‘keep the change’ however much change there is.

    – Siobhan

    • I didn’t know either! :0 I figured it out as I was looking, and I had to really read and research to make sure I was understanding about the flags. I am not sure if I tipped when I went either. I didn’t really have great service from what I can remember. I am glad you learned something from these tips! I always learn something too! 🙂

  5. Hi Chasa,
    I’m glad I came across your blog over at Jay’s blog because my wife is determined to go to England…lol
    She love British singers and their music and so do I.
    So please let us know where we can go to enjoy some of their good music.
    I learned a lot from this post.

    • Oh no! Music is something I actually did not even think about when I was visiting England! I know there are probably bands/singers that play in pubs, but I am not sure that is something you would like to do. Maybe someone else on this thread can let you know of a good place to listen to music. If y’all like comedy I can give you an address to place where I went. I am not sure if it’s just a comedy venue or maybe they have other events that go on like music. In fact, I will make a note to ask some of my pen pals and see if they have any good suggestions! Hold tight!

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