England with a population of more than 59 million shares land borders with Wales and Scotland. It is also separated from continental Europe by the North Sea and the English Channel.
England has been my home for the last past 10 year. In this post, I share some fun facts about England, which helps you to learn more about English culture, food and people.
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1. England is a country in the UK
Probably you know this fact already but when I travel to different destinations, I have noticed many people in other countries often refer to England when they talk about the United Kingdom, but England is only one of the four nations in the United Kingdom. England is Cross of St. George on a white background. In another post, I am going to share more about the UK and its other nations.
2. Jumping a queue can be illegal
Queuing is very important in British culture and it is rare to see someone jumping a queue. We all know queue jumping is rude, but it is actually illegal in one place in England: the London’s Transport ticket machines. If you jump the queue to buy your ticket you can be fined up to £1000.
3. England fought the shortest war in history
The Anglo-Zanzibar War is the shortest war in history. This war began at 9 am on the 27 of August in 1896 when the five ships of the Royal Navy attacked Zanzibar’s Royal Palace. The conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes until the white flag to surrender was raised. In this short war 500 people of Zanzibar died while only one British Marine was injured.
4. England is home to one of the weirdest sports
Cheese rolling is one of the strangest sports taking place every year in Gloucestershire, in the west of England, during the spring. In this competition, an 8 pound round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of the cooper hill and participants chase after it down to the bottom. They are supposed to catch the cheese, but it is kind of impossible so who crosses the finish line first wins the cheese.
5. England is mostly flat
Much of the land in England is flat, especially in the southern area. There are mountains in the north, but all mountains rise under 1000 meters in elevation. The highest point in England is Scafell Pike in Lake District National Park at an altitude of 978 metres above sea level.
6. England is the birthplace of many famous scientists
England is home to some of the best universities in the world such as Oxford and Cambridge. Many famous politicians, scientists and novelists in the world have graduated from universities in this country. Apart from that, England is the birthplace of many scientists who had a huge impact on the globe. Just to name a few:
Isaac Newton, who discovered the law of gravitation and invented calculus.
Charles Darwin: the geologist and biologist known for his contributions to the science of evolution.
And last but not least: Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century.
7. The National dish is an Indian food
Even though there are different traditional dishes in England such as Yorkshire Pudding, Fish and Chips and Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Tikka Masala is widely considered the country's national dish, even though the origin of this dish is India.
8. No plug sockets in the bathrooms
You can not find any bathroom in England or in the UK with plug sockets. Because of health and safety rules, sockets are not allowed in bathrooms or shower rooms, unless they can be fitted at least three metres away from the sink, bath or shower.
9. The Queen is not allowed in the House of Commons
No British monarch is allowed to set foot in the House of Commons, which is the UK parliament. This rule dates back to 1642 when King Charles I stormed into the House of Commons to arrest five members. The attempt was unsuccessful and since then the monarch was banned from entering the parliament.
10. You can’t get drunk in English pubs
British are famous for their pub culture. Pubs are the main hub of various local communities and they are a place to socialise and have a drink. But you are not allowed to get drunk there, it is illegal.
11. Jam or cream first on scones?
Scones, a type of pastry, are important in British culture and they are served with jam and cream or butter. But English people can’t seem to agree on whether you should put jam or cream first. In Cornwall, you should spread the jam on your scone first, while in Doven butter or cream goes first.
12. The World Wide Web was invented in England
Www sounds familiar to all of us, but did you know who invented it?
Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web in 1989, while he was working at CERN. We are all aware of the impact this invention has had on our modern daily lives.
13. Champagne was invented in England, not France
Many people think that France invented the first Champagne in 1697, but I am here to tell you that 30 years earlier, an English scientist discovered “how to put the fizz into sparkling wine”. Champagne is basically sparkling wine and it is named after an area in France.
14. The popularity of coffee is growing
We all know that drinking tea is an important part of English culture. While tea is still the most popular hot drink in England, coffee consumption is certainly on the rise. Who knows, maybe in the future coffee will become more popular than tea.