British Culture – 9 Things that Make Britain Different to the Rest of the World.

Continuing our series on British Culture:

A Few Little Differences

A few little differences

In an increasingly global world it can be difficult to see the differences between countries, but if you look closely you can always find them. Here’s a few you might come across in the UK.

  • Driving on the left! Perhaps because we are an island the Brits have never seen the need to go over to driving on the right. However, we are not alone. 76 other countries and territories also drive on this side of the road, including several in Europe (Ireland, Cyprus and Malta).
  • Talking about driving, when on the road you should remember that all distances are measured in miles and not kilometres. There are about 1.6 kilometres to the mile. Very few countries still use this form of measurement though the United States still does.
  • Like in most of the rest of the world, when you stop at a petrol station you will buy your petrol in litres. Naturally, some Brits still insist on using the old measurement when calculating liquids, which is the gallon. There are about 4.5 litres to the gallon.
  • By law, all shops must calculate weight in kilos and grams. However, a lot of Brits still like to use the old Imperial forms such as stones, pounds and ounces. There are 12 ounces in a pound, 14 pounds in a stone. Easy to understand, isn’t it? OK, to understand it more clearly there are about 2.2 pounds in a kilo.
  • Generally, height is calculated in centimetres. Nevertheless, lots of people like to use the Imperial forms of feet and inches! There are 12 inches in a foot. What does this mean?? Well there are 30 centimetres in a foot. Clear??
  • When you are in a pub, do not say when ordering drinks ‘I’d like a beer, please’. The bartender might start laughing! Instead use the correct size of glass as well as the name of the beer you would like. So, for example, you might say ‘I’d like a pint of Carlsberg, please’. If you wanted a smaller size you could say ‘I’d like half a pint of Carlsberg, please’. One pint is about 0.56 litres. Still clear??
  • Opening times tend to be shorter in the UK. Most shops open at 9.00am and close at between 5.30 – 6.00pm, though most supermarkets stay open for longer as do many shops in London and other large cities. Unlike in a lot of countries many shops are also open on a Sunday. Pub opening times tend to be 11.00am to 11.00pm, though in recent years a lot of pubs stay open until midnight or even later, especially in the big cities.
  • Remember that British electricity sockets take a three prong plug compared to the two prong variety used in many other countries. You will need to buy an adaptor if you want to use your electrical equipment here.
  • Though more modern bathrooms are different, many wash-basins and baths still come with separate taps for hot and cold water. Do not worry, they are really easy to use!