England stereotypes: Fact or Fiction?

Common English stereotypes summarised by the team at Kaplan International Colleges

Whilst the stereotypes of England are usually related to cups of tea, fish and chips, rainy weather and endless queuing, there is a lot more to see from this famous island. We take you behind the scenes and show you the ins and outs for those looking at taking an English course at one of our schools in England.

a)   People

The most important thing to know about any country – the people who live in it! On the whole, England is a polite and very politically correct country, with the population trying their best not to offend! They are generally accepting of tourists and crowds. There is a common divide between the North and South, with Londoners being the main stereotypical culprits of dashing around, too busy to interact with others on the way, whilst Northerners are said to be more polite and relaxed.

b) Transport

England is best known for the London Underground and its Routemasters or iconic bright red buses that run throughout the day and night. London takes great pride with its public transport, with links running throughout the centre. If you drive, make sure you keep to the left and with public transport; queue jumping is definitely frowned upon! Oh, and if you are going to stand on the escalator, remember to stand on the right!

A good tip: if you’re between 16-25 years old, it’s worth investing in a Young Persons Railcard. From £26 per year, you can save up to 34% on train journeys throughout the country – a good idea if you make continuous journeys by train.

c) Conversation

English people are known to be quite reserved in their speech, knowing not to pry too far into someone’s personal life. Questions to do with weight, profession, relationship status and age are normally avoided. Typical icebreakers of conversation usually start and end with the weather!

d) Climate

If the first image you thought of was rain, we don’t blame you! The great stereotype of English weather however, can be a little over-exaggerated. It’s usually in the middle temperature wise – not too hot, not too cold and does have wet weather in spring and autumn. What is correct about the stereotype is its unpredictable nature – it can be sunny one day and snowing the next!

d) Food and Drink

When thinking of English food, the common images that spring to mind usually consist of fry up breakfasts and fish and chips, and they wouldn’t be wrong! However, England is a huge pick and mix of different cultures and the food reflects this – from roast dinners to curries. England is also the homeland of the trusty sandwich that we eat today, thanks to the Earl of Sandwich in 1762. When it comes to drink, the English are very proud of their Tea (milk and sugar being the usual extras) and Alcohol – especially their ales and cider. In the summer, Pimms (commonly known as a liqueur with different fruit added to it) is known to be great at a barbeque.

e) Humour

England is well known for its humour – that of the self-deprecating and sarcastic variety. They know what their faults are, using it to their advantage when it comes to comedy! It can be an acquired taste, although a very tasty one with some of the best writers in the business captivating audiences and inspiring fellow comedians around the world. Good media examples range from Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Keeping up Appearances and Blackadder amongst others.

Stand up comedy is also popular in England, with some great names and upcoming stars performing to large live audiences. The Comedy Club located in Leicester Square in London is a great spot to see all sorts of talent!

Enjoyed the blog? Why not become a part of it by joining one of our world-class English language Schools today? Kaplan International Colleges (formerly known as Kaplan Aspect) have been providing International students, like you, with the learning opportunity of a lifetime for over 40 years. Take a look at our website, Kaplan International Colleges, to see what our English courses could do for you.

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