Britain is Great! Few countries inspire quite like the United Kingdom, a lively, multi-faceted country bursting with history. Reputed for its cutting-edge capital, London, but also for the off-the-beaten track beauty of its countryside, highlands and islands, the United Kingdom is a destination of choice. So are you looking for bustling, cosmopolitan world cities or green pastures and haunted castles? Or both? Let’s discover together the treasures of this country!
Some key information about the United Kingdom
- Capital: London. This is the biggest city of the United Kingdom with nearly 9 million inhabitants. It is also the home of the Royal Family and the Houses of Parliament.
- Population: 67 millions
- Climate: not as bad as they say! Having said that, the climate of the UK is generally cool and often cloudy and rainy, and high temperatures are infrequent…
The British lifestyle
It’s quite hard to pinpoint a British lifestyle – what does a scottish farmer living in a sleepy village and a street artist in East London have in common?!
Well, a few things:
- The english breakfast, for once – a hearty breakfast composed of bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns and black puddings.
- A taste for good music – the UK is the birthplace of some of the greatest musicians and bands – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Adele… but also Jungle, Dubstep, Grime!
- Pubs as the cornerstone of social life – oh don’t we love our cosy, warm and loud British pubs!
- And last but not least, a good dose of humour – the Brits are well known for their self-irony and witty humour – think Monty Pythons, Mr Bean, The Office or Borat 🙂
Let’s dive into Brit culture
British Gastronomy – or is it?!
Let’s be frank, Great Britain is not particularly famous for its gastronomy. After all, the Brits’ favourite dish is…. curry! There are however a few traditional meals, such as:
- Fish and chips – the traditional British fast food dish, consisting of breaded fish, chips and mushy peas, which used to be served in newspaper sheets…. Fish and chips is still strong today, but it has been dethroned as the nation’s favourite takeaway meal by sliced bread sandwiches (invented by the very British Earl of Sandwich during a game of cards!)
- Bangers and mash – sausages, mashed potatoes and a good serving of gravy
- The Sunday Roast – chicken, pork, lamb, beef – roasted and served with potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding, a yummy savoury pastry
- Shepherds pie – minced lamb covered with potato puree and cooked in the oven
- Steak and kidney pie – steak and kidney in sauce covered with shortcrust pastry and cooked in the oven
- Scotch eggs – boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs
- Haggis (not for the faint-hearted!) – Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made of sheep’s pluck (don’t ask!), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked in the animal’s stomach……!
- Scones – scroll down for our special scone recipe!!
Your turn to cook a british dish : Make your own scones!
“Keep calm and drink tea” – it’s hard to be more British than that. Unless you add scones, of course!
Afternoon tea is an unmissable and typically British moment in the afternoon. You can choose between two options: the complete formula, with a mix of small sandwiches and petit fours; or the cream tea. Originating in the south-west of England, in Cornwall and Devon, the tradition has spread throughout Great Britain. All you need in addition to a hot kettle of tea is some clotted cream or curd (a very thick cream), some tasty jam … and of course scones!
Ingredients for about 8 scones (4 people):
– 230g (1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) of flour
– 150ml (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) of milk
– 60g (4 1/4 tbsp) butter, diced
– 25g (3 1/2 tbsp) of sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 sachet (1 tsp) of baking powder
– 1 pinch of salt
Preparation of the recipe:
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Butter a baking sheet or cover it with a piece of baking paper.
Evenly mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl, then pour in the milk. Add the cold butter cubes, without melting them, then knead to obtain a smooth dough. Add a little flour as you knead if necessary.
Roll out the dough to about 2 cm thick on a surface coated in flour. Cut out discs with a glass or a large round cookie cutter.
Brush the scones with the egg mixed with a little milk.
Bake on the middle rack until the scones are lifted and slightly golden brown, usually between 15 and 20 minutes. Adjust the duration according to your oven!
Taste the warm scones with a good tea, milk, jam and clotted cream. Yummy!
Music and dance
Throughout its history, the United Kingdom has been a major producer and source of musical creation – Great Britain was home to some of the world’s most famous rock bands (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Cure, Police, Oasis…), singers (Elton John, Adele…), boys and girls bands (Spice girls, the most famous girl band in the world, One Direction)… Not to mention ska, punk rock, grime… The United Kingdom has one of the world’s largest music industries today.
The UK is also home to some of the most famous music festivals – Glastonbury, Isle of Wight festival to name only a few. The UK being the UK, things can sometimes get a little muddy! London hosts the Notting Hill carnival every year in August. It is led by members of the British West Indian community, and attracts around two and a half million people annually, making it one of the world’s largest street festivals, and a significant event in Black British culture.
Finally, let’s discover together the British national anthem. It’s called “God save the Queen”. It is one of the oldest anthems in the world. Click to listen to it.
Which sports do British people love ?
…Football, of course! But not only!
The UK is a sport-loving nation, from football to tennis (with the famous Wimbledon tournament), from rugby to cricket…
In many sports, the four nations of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) compete independently – this is the case in football, rugby, cricket. Only England has won the Football World Cup, once in 1966. But Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, two-time Olympic champion, Davis Cup champion, winner of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals, and former world No. 1 is Scottish!
The rivalry between Scotland and England is strong and dates back to 2000 years ago – there is an old saying that a Scotsman supports two teams: Scotland and whoever is playing against England!
A few Youtubers made in England to continue brushing up your British skills
We have listed below some of the most popular British youtubers today – what better way to learn a language and a culture?!
The Sugg clique
Among the most famous British Youtubers are a brother and a sister, the sister’s boyfriend and a friend of the brother.
The brother: Joe Sugg, known as Thatcher Joe. With 8.2 million subscribers on his ThatcherJoe channel, Joe Sugg loves to make videos with pranks and impressions. He often collaborates with other top YouTubers who make an appearance on his channel, and vice versa.
The sister: Zoe Sugg -not only one of the top British YouTubers, but also one of the most powerful beauty influencers on social media with 16.8 million subscribers. Her thing? makeup tutorials, Q&As, and haul videos.
The sister’s boyfriend: With his pranks, challenges, Q&As, and other comedy videos, Alfie Deyes and his PointlessBlogVlogs channel has gained more than four million subscribers.
The friend: Caspar Lee is another popular prank star on YouTube. He used to share a flat with Joe Sugg. He has 7.5 million subscribers on Youtube. In addition to collaborating with YouTubers, he’s also managed to snag a few celebrity guests, too.
The Olatunji brothers
The Suggs are not the only Youtube family out there – introducing the Olantunjis brothers!
Olajide “JJ” Olatunji is one of the top British YouTubers — and one of the most loved. Over 18 million subscribers who head to his KSI channel to watch his football commentary, pranks, music, vlogs, and more.
And guess what, his younger brother, Oladeji Olatunji is also one of the top British YouTubers. His channel Comedy Shorts Gamer focuses on vlogs and prank videos and counts over 9 million subscribers.
Dan Middleton, also known as DanTDM, has one of the most-subscribed YouTube channels, where he publishes fun gaming videos daily.
And of course, there’s PewDiePie
With more than 104 million subscribers, Felix Kjellberg — better known as PewDiePie — is not only the top British YouTuber, but also one of the most popular in the world. Originally from Sweden, he’s now making videos from Brighton. He’s most famous for his video game commentaries.
So, did you learn so stuffs about United Kingdom ? Take the quizz and test your knowledge !