69 Fun Facts about the UK

by Michelle on August 3, 2012 · 48 comments

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.

photo cred: stylesectionla.com

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.

Famous Brits

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.

photo cred; api.ning.com

London

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.

Misc.

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.

photo cred: http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/

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.

photo cred: http://stardomreport.com/

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany August 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

I LOVED reading all of these, very interesting facts!!
Now I miss London..

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Michelle Michelle August 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’ve still never been to London yet! But that will change in a few months… :)

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Red Nomad OZ August 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hahaha, these are hilarious! But not sure if they’re meant to be …
It was such a relief to read #55 – that would explain Australia’s love affair with silver this Olympics!!!!

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Michelle Michelle August 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Well Canada loves bronze, so I think Australia is better off :) When it comes to swimming though, I’m always team USA!

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Audrey August 5, 2012 at 6:57 am

Fun facts! They’ve really had a lot of great music come out of there. I had no idea that animals could be put on trial back in Medieval times….

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Michelle Michelle August 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Yea it’s crazy to think what the world would be like without all those amazing British rock bands!

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S August 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

really cool facts, but, in the UK there are other countries and not just England (although its hard to imagine it!). Wales, Scotland and Northen Ireland also make up the sovereign state of the United Kingdom and prefer to be counted as separate countries.

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Alex @ ifs ands & butts August 13, 2012 at 4:10 am

I love your articles like this! That’s so awesome they’re giving the Olympic sports equipment to charity, love that.

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srt mhr December 25, 2012 at 12:43 am

ahahaha i live in the uk and didnt know any of them! just wanted to say your blog is awesomeee!!! and finally ive found a blog which i can relate to and is helping me with my travelbug!! love reading this whole blog! keep writing :)

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Michelle Michelle December 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

thanks so much! glad you like it!! :D

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Jack December 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

Firstly, I have found this to be rather interesting, informative and entertaining (hilarious that Beckham is scared of birds!), having read a couple of other of these fun facts lists. However, my pedantic nature forces me to point out the British flag you have is not the modern one, as this one dates before the adoption of the Irish flag in 1801.

I’m so sorry, I just can’t help it.

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Michelle Michelle December 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Haha it’s funny because I didn’t notice I had such an outdated flag on there until you mentioned it!! And of course I totally know how the Union Jack looks like! :p Oops! I’ll update it right now! Thanks! :)

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Naith May 1, 2013 at 7:12 am

And like above comment i cant help but say this…..
It can only be called the union jack when on the mast of a ship, any other references has to be the union flag lol

Sorry :D

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Meera February 5, 2013 at 2:20 am

I Love the UK and have been there many times but i have never heard of some of these facts!!

Very interesting!!

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Chris March 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I’m glad that you put The Smiths as the first on your list of other famous bands and I recommend them to anyone reading these facts. Well done, sir!
It made me smile to know that an Englishman wrote the American national anthem! How ironic!
If anyone is interested in watching some funny British films then I suggest “Carry On Up The Jungle”, they are as British as they get in my opinion! :)

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Michelle Michelle March 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Yea the Smiths are great! It is ironic, isn’t it? :) And I’ll look into that film! Thanks!

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NiallsPrincess March 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Just wondering why One Direction isnt mentioned here at all….

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Luanna May 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Because the world doesn’t evolve around them. I’m British and hate them. Besides, you think One Direction deserve to be on there more than The Beatles? Please.

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Ossy August 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm

That was sarcasm, wasn’t it?

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infothela May 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

its really very amazing…. :)

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Kanpachi May 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

Facts about the UK? I only see England mentioned.
Still, great article. :)

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J Nicholas May 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

Rudolf Hess was NOT the last prisoner
kept in the The Tower of London??!!
After he stood before a jury of his peers during the
Nuremburg Trials he was incarcerated in Spandau Prison,
Spandau, Berlin.

He remain there till the late Eighties when he died of
old age.

I know this because my dad was based there on his first
posting in the British Army.

Brook Barracks.
Directly across the road from the prison.
My dads company ( C Company ).
Took turns with the Russians and Americans to guard him.

Nuff Said

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Ossy August 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Alas, it’s not ”nuff said” – your facts are correct as to Hess and Spandau prison, but not regarding his incarceration within the Tower of London.

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kelci May 26, 2013 at 12:19 am

Wow.Just amazing.didnt know beckham was scared of birds that’s just…IRONIC!!!!!

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NInika May 30, 2013 at 6:55 am

these all facts are really interesting….I just love UK

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Gareth Steed June 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

J. Nicholas: You are half right in that Rudolph Hess wasn’t the official last prisoner in the tower. He was however incarcerated there in May 1941 when he surrendered to the British. He obviously couldn’t have been incarcerated in Spandau at that point. The official last prisoners had amongst them the Kray Twins for failure to report for national service.

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kirsty August 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm

10. The English drink more tea than anyone else in the world.

Actually the Irish do. (Not NI, as in ROI or Éire)

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Martyn Jones August 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

The UK doesn’t have the worst food, just the worst prepared food. Fresh basic ingredients are fantastic; fish, meat, veggies, etc.

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Matthew September 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The London Eye is not a ferris wheel, despite what places tell you.

We invented FOOTBALL not soccer. Soccer is a retarded name given to it by Americans and nobody else uses it.

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TC October 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm

The name ‘soccer’ is English. It comes from ‘association football’ it was what we called the game originally. As with a lot of americanisms, they just retained it and we stopped using it.

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TC October 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm

The name ‘soccer’ is English. It comes from ‘association football’ it was what we called the game originally. As with a lot of americanisms, they just retained it and we stopped using it. Surprisingly recently as well. Growing up in the seventies and early eighties it was always called soccer. It’s only really been discarded in the last thirty years.

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michaelmyers October 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm

yea fun facts Awesome

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Sean Kelly October 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

i live in Northern Ireland !!! these are fun facts but not all true.. the UK is over populated as alot people already know. and where i live in the UK its quite rural. there’s alot of fun places to visit in the UK like London. or Belfast. i do love my country. and its a great place! to live. but i also love ireland and its spectacular views and culture. just to say i’m Irish and over the whole island of ireland theres so much tea drunk. its in our genetics!!

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Trevor October 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yes, what would the world be without us?
And, may I say, we’re not as interesting a you think. I do believe that I am the only person taking advantage of the wonderful British rock bands( at least, where I live); the remainder are all obsessed with blooomin’ One Direction!

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Libs April 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Hey, I feel you! What happened to Bon Jovi? Music has changed! :)

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Ivanka October 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Fun fact about England

In England it very cold.
This summer in 2013 is was very hot in England.
Thames is the biggest rive in uk and London it the…….?
London it very big.
Big Ben it in London.

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Ivanka October 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Uk is very big

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Ivanka October 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Hello

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mizan October 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Oh. tomorrow is my presentation on this topic and your article and all the information was really helpful. Thanks a lot brother and keep it up.

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Ivanka November 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Fun fact for kids.
Ok I am gone be your miss.
My name is miss vana. Ok let start.
That it your homework.
In your homework you gone do lot of things about uk.
1.is uk big or smoll.?
2.is in 2013 is was very hot or very cold……….?
What shops are in uk…………..?
What songs uk sing……………..?

From miss v. Have nice time to do. You homework.

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asdg January 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

Why 69. I wonder?

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martin February 6, 2014 at 2:16 am

12. “The Star Spangled Banner” (the American national anthem) was created by an Englishman. ….not true…I’d question a lot of the others….check your facts…I’m not English :)

Francis Scott Key circa 1825
Born August 1, 1779
Carroll County, Maryland, U.S.
Died January 11, 1843 (aged 63)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity English
Occupation Poet, lawyer, district attorney
Religion Episcopalian
Children Philip Barton Key II
Alice Key Pendleton
Relatives Philip Barton Key, uncle
Francis Key Howard, grandson

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martin February 6, 2014 at 2:23 am

64. England is 74 times smaller than the USA……WRONG

The United States of America is 3,537,441square miles.

The United Kingdom is 94,251 square miles.

3,537,441 / 94,251 = 37.5

The United States of America is a 37.5 times bigger than the United Kingdom.

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Michelle Michelle February 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

England not the whole UK

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Anonymous March 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Fun facts about the UK from a person who lives in England:
1. It rains all year round no matter which season
2. This winter where I live we haven’t had any snow
3. Many a time because we call one of our meals ‘tea’ in some parts of the country when referring to meal time as ‘tea time’ some people literally think we have a time for drinking tea when actually its our evening meal
4.If we have a half decent summer and we get a heatwave where our temperatures are at about 25 degrees people begin to freak out and then we have water shortages and its actually quite funny since it RAINS SO MUCH

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cloe bragdon April 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

why is the spice girls at the bottom of the page?

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Dave E June 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

The tea thing – the UK isn’t even second on the list of tea drinkers; the Irish drink more than the British and the Turks drink nearly twice as much as either.

On the bad food thing; the UK has more Michelin 3 star restaurants than Italy or the USA…

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arnie kaye December 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm

this thing about England having the worst food is nonsense. A hangover from ww2?

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