Never Do These 10 Things When Visiting the United Kingdom

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Planning a trip to the United Kingdom? Navigating cultural nuances can be tricky, and there are a few things you should never do after crossing the pond – but we’ve got your back.

From mastering the subtle art of queue etiquette to navigating the sacred tea rituals, we’re here to make your British adventure a jolly good show!

Jump a Queue

Queuing in the United Kingdom
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The Brits take queuing very seriously, and anyone who skips them will aggravate an entire nation. It’s not that they enjoy the process of waiting in line; it’s just deep-rooted in their way of living. So if you see a big old line, suck it up, and take your place at the back!

Call the United Kingdom “England”

Angry Person
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The absolute number one way to annoy over 10 million people? Call the UK “England.” The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (its full name) is made up of four countries – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. Historically, each nation has a rocky relationship, especially with England, and the residents of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland do not take kindly to being called English!


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Never respond to “How are you?” with anything but “Yeah, I’m alright, thanks. You?” Despite it being framed as a question, you’ll seldom find a Brit who genuinely wants to hear about your day. This does vary in different regions, but a general rule of thumb is to avoid deep, meaningful conversations until you get to know the person or you’re both boozed-up at the pub – listen, we never said it’s a healthy way of living!

Turn Your Nose Up at a Cup of Tea

Cup of tea
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It’s one of the cliches that is absolutely correct about the British: they do love their tea. It’s an acquired taste, one that’s gently forced upon any self-respecting Brit from around the age of three. You don’t have to actually drink tea when in the UK; just don’t go on a rant about how awful it is to the person who offered it.

Stand on the Left Hand Side of Escalators

London Escalator
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Primarily a no-nonsense rule in London, when it comes to escalators, always stick to the right side if you plan to stand still. The left-hand side is for commuters and the ultra-fit, who like to run up moving stairs. Or, expect some very passive-aggressive coughs and harrumphing, as the British are so well known for.

Try and Do a British Accent

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This one is for the Americans. We know it’s frustrating that so many of your British cousins can nail a generic US accent – Brits have dominated American characters on the silver screen for decades. But that’s because they grow up with a steady stream of American TV, film, and music. So if the temptation to do your best British accent pops up, best to ignore it for fear of sounding like Dick Van Dyke.

Mention ‘the War’

WWII British Planes
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So you know that whole “America riding in to save the day” version of WWII history you were taught in school? Well, the British see it in a different way. One where they valiantly stood up to Hitler while the Americans sat back and watched before finally deciding to get into gear and help out. Right or wrong, that’s the way most of the Brits see it, so it’s best just to avoid bringing up the war at all!

Talk About Brexit

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There are few topics more likely to cause verbal fisticuffs in the UK than kicking off a conversation about Brexit. Casting a long shadow over the political landscape since 2016, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t sick to death with it. The general public is fed up with discussing it with friends and family, let alone tourists, so make sure to steer well clear of any mention of the “B-word.”

Drive in Cities If You’re Not Confident

Roundabout in the UK
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Driving in the UK isn’t the easiest of tasks, especially in cities. Even if you’ve got your head around driving on the left-hand side, you’ll need to contend with small British roads that were not built for cars. Most Brits will avoid driving in big cities like London, Manchester, or Birmingham if they can, so it’s best to follow suit and hop on a train or bus instead.

Criticize British Food

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The Brits feel like their food has an unjust target on its back, and for good reason. Despite its unfair reputation, thanks to immigration, Britain has some of the best foods from across the globe on one small island. Make sure you try out food markets for some authentic delights and stay away from clinical, uninspired chain restaurants.

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