With the Olympics currently going on and taking place in London, I think this has only fuelled everyone’s obsession with everything British – because really, everyone has at least one totally British thing they love (Whether it’s rock music, Harry Potter, the Royal Family, tea, soccer, culture, or the lovely British accent).
So here’s 69 fun facts about the UK. Enjoy!
1. Big Ben does not refer to the clock, but actually the bell.
2. London has been called Londonium, Ludenwic, and Ludenburg in the past.
3. French was the official language for about 300 years
4. The shortest war against England was with Zanzibar in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.
5. There is nowhere in Britain that is more than 74.5 miles from the sea.
6. The first telephone directory published in England contained 25 names.
7. While the Great Fire of London was largely destructive, the casualty rate was just 8.
8. The first hot chocolate store opened in London.
9. There are over 300 languages spoken in England.
10. The English drink more tea than anyone else in the world.
11. In the Medieval Times, animals can be put on trial for crimes (and be sentenced to death!)
12. “The Star Spangled Banner” (the American national anthem) was created by an Englishman.
13. “Pygg” used to mean “clay” in olden day English. People kept their coins in clay jars that were called “pygg jars,” which have evolved into what we currently call piggy banks.
14. Gargoyles were originally used as drain pipes!
15. Buckingham Palace has its own police station.
16. Chickens outnumber humans in England.
All about the Royal Family
17. Windsor Castle is the largest royal home in the world.
18. The Queen has 30 god children.
19. The Queen owns all the sturgeons, whales and dolphins in the waters within 3 miles from the UK.
20. The Queen sent her first e-mail in 1976.
21. Prince William wanted to become a cop when he was younger.
22. He also has his own postage stamp.
23. It’s considered treason to place a stamp bearing the King or Queen’s image upside-down.
24. Prince William paid $200 to sit in the front row and watch Kate in the fashion show.
25. Kate Middleton is allergic to horses.
26. According to biography.com, when Kate was younger, the boys in her school rated her a 2 out of 10 for looks and personality.
27. Prince William had a poster of Baby Spice on his boarding room wall.
28. Prince Harry got in trouble for dressing as a Nazi to a costume party.
29. When Nelson Mandela met the Spice Girls, he called them his “heroes.”
30. Ginger Spice was originally Sexy Spice, but changed to better suit their younger fans.
31. Francesca Gray wrote J.K. Rowling her first fan letter, but thought she was a man, and began her letter with “Dear Sir…”
32. J.K. Rowling is the first person to make a billion dollars from writing books.
33. James Bond’s code “007″ was inspired by the author Ian Fleming’s bus route from Canterbury to London.
34. No portrait was ever painted of William Shakespeare when he was alive.
35. Macbeth is the most produced play ever written. On average, a performance is staged every 4 hours somewhere in the world.
36. In the final episode of Skins Season 2, where Sid is looking for Cassie on the streets of New York, the reactions from people were real and unscripted.
37. Kate Moss is good friends with Daniel Craig.
38. David Beckham has a fear of birds.
39. London is home to 4 World Heritage Sites – The Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, and Kew Botanical Gardens.
40. The London Eye is the tallest ferris wheel in Europe.
41. 25% of the people living in London today are born in another country.
42. There are 409 escalators in the London subways.
43. 16% of UK’s restaurants are located in London.
44. The London Bridge is rumoured to be haunted…people have claimed to see a woman in black roaming in the night.
45. Everyone calls it the Tower of London, but the building’s full official name is His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London.
46. London is the first city in the world to have an underground subway system.
47.If London were a country, it would be the 8th largest in Europe.
48. Angel Tube Station has the longest escalator in Western Europe.
The 2012 Olympics
49. London hosting the 2012 Olympics is the first time a city has ever hosted the Olympics three times.
50. The London 2012 Olympics is the first time that every country has at least 1 female athlete.
51. The London Olympic Stadium is the lightest stadium in the world.
52. Survival by Muse is the official song of the games.
53. It’s expected that 4 billion people will watch the opening ceremony (more than half the population of the world!)
54. Sports equipment used in the olympics will be given away to charity.
55. The gold medals used are actually 93% silver and 1.3% gold.
56. William the Conqueror ordered everyone to be in their beds by 8 pm.
57. 80,000 umbrellas are expected to be lost annually in the London tube.
58. There are over 30,000 people with the name John Smith in England.
59. Rudolf Hess was the last prisoner kept in the Tower of London.
60. England has the highest rate of obesity in Europe.
61. England brought the world soccer, rugby and polo.
62. The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5 degrees in Kent in 2003.
63. The first fish and chips restaurant was opened in 1860 by a Jewish immigrant.
64. England is 74 times smaller than the USA.
65. The English invented the world’s earliest railways.
66. The Beatles originally called themselves the Blackjacks, and then the Quarrymen.
67. Other famous musicians/bands include: The Smiths, New order, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, The Cure, Black Sabbath, The Who, The Clash, Radiohead, Coldplay, Muse, Pink Floyd…(the list goes on and on!)
68. Bristol is known as the “Seattle of England” because of its youth culture and fashion.
69. England is thought of as having the world’s worst food.