Book chapter: What not to say or do when visiting the U.K.

As I promised, here’s a near-final draft of a chapter I’ll be putting into the second edition of the book – I’d be very interested in feedback. I have no idea when the second edition of the book is coming out – my current thoughts are that it’ll be sometime around Christmas 2010, so there’s no enormous rush for the feedback. This was written in response to a request from a reader who wanted a new chapter entitled “What not to say or do when visiting the U.K.”.

About Americans

Let’s not beat around the bush here — Americans have a reasonably poor reputation in the rest of the world. They’re broadly regarded as brash, loud, self-obsessed, ethnocentric and uncultured. Why is this? Well, the rest of the world is exposed to Americans in three ways: 

  • Television and films
  • Foreign policy
  • Tourists

 Because of television, the rest of the world is under the impression that all Americans are fantastically wealthy, and are engaged in a polygamous relationship with a homosexual dwarf whom, they will discover that evening on The Jerry Springer Show, is actually their half brother. Because of films, the world thinks each American has an unusual super-power that he’s been unwilling to use because of an accident that happened in his childhood. Eventually, when the entire world is threatened, he will use this power and save humanity. Afterwards, he will fall in love and unexpectedly die.

Because of foreign policy, the world believes that Americans hate anyone with a political system different to their own, and intend to turn the rest of the world democratic or kill them all trying. For the average American, this is a particularly unfortunate state of affairs as he or she stands very little chance of influencing things. So it goes.

Tourism, however, is another kettle of fish. It’s through tourism that Americans can show the rest of the world that they’re not megalomaniac inbreds and are actually perfectly nice people. The way that Americans can do this is, by and large, by turning a blind eye to certain godforsaken acts of complete lunacy being perpetrated by the local population. Whilst I’ll try to keep this Britain-centric, the truth is that a lot of this advice applies to Europe as a whole and some of it to the rest of the world.

One thing Europeans always like guffawing snootily about is the fact that most Americans do not own a passport. What they don’t realise is that America is so gobsmackingly large that Americans can have seen a vast proportion of the geographic spectrum without leaving the boundaries of their own country. Most Brits only possess a passport so that they can go to Mediterranean islands, get drunk, try to have sex with other Brits, then spend most of the next day looking for bacon and eggs and a pub that serves Carlsberg. Try asking Brits how many of them have been outside Europe, and you’ll get the same sort of proportions as the number of Americans with passports. Still, though, there’s a general feeling in Europe that Americans aren’t familiar with cultures outside their own, so here are some handy cheat notes to help debunk that myth.

Talking

 Of course, it’s true that most Americans are comparatively poorly-travelled with regard to exposure to other languages, and different accents. When conversing with people in the U.K., bear in mind that these people are having as much trouble understanding your weird accent as you are having with theirs.

When compared to Americans, Brits don’t do a lot of talking, and they tend to do it rather quietly. The most British of Brits simply sit in the corner grunting every so often. It’s also a general rule in the U.K. that one only really talks to one’s friends. Given this, it seems difficult to understand how a person goes about getting friends if they’re not allowed to talk to anyone, but rules are rules. Americans will normally chit-chat to one another when they are in some sort of shared limbo (in the queue at the supermarket; waiting for a store to open; et cetera). In the larger towns and cities, Brits do not do this. They will stand in stoic silence. Let’s say an alien spacecraft were to touch down in the car park at a local home improvement shop. A slimy green alien walks out towards the door of the shop, notices the “closed” sign, utters a strange disembodied sigh, throws a £10 voucher on the ground, and walks back to his spacecraft. The Brits who were standing waiting for the store to open would probably be mute. Perhaps if the alien was unusually tall, someone would mutter “he’s a big ’un” or something.

Service Expectations

Europeans tend to believe that Americans are demanding little princesses, always wanting this that or the other some strange way and never being happy to just fit in with what everyone else is doing. This is, of course, because Europeans love to get really, really bad service. This pervades society at a very fundamental level. Sometimes it means standing in a restaurant’s entrance for forty minutes before being told there’s an hour-long wait for a table. Sometimes it means not being let onto the plane because the instructions said clearly to print out the confirmation number, and all you did was write it down. Sometimes it means that no, there is no possible way that this particular dish can be served without the lettuce. Call bullshit on this great tradition and you will end up being the problem, because none of these Brits would know what good service looked like if it came up and bit them on the bum. When the waitress absent-mindedly pours soup in your lap and then claims that it was because you were in her way, just nod and smile. Professional malpractice is just one of those things that happens in restaurants! Get on with your day. Standing up and appealing to the sensibilities of the other restaurant-goers is not going to work. The minute you get up and say “Oh, man, it’s all down my front!” the assembled masses are not going to think “Boy, what a clumsy waitress.” They are going to think “Here we go; another American whining about something.” Changing this system will take many hundreds of years of societal evolution. It is not something that you should even vaguely attempt while on vacation.

 

In addition to their expectation of appalling service, Brits simply adore waiting for things. There is nothing more exciting to a British person than walking into the supermarket the day before Christmas and discovering that only one checkout is operational and the person serving there has learning difficulties. When faced with a selection of different queues for the cash machine, Brits will inevitably join the longest one. Do not mess with this system either. If there’s a twenty minute wait at the pharmacist’s counter when there also appear to be three would-be pharmacists sitting back there making chains of paper clips, do not dare suggest that they open another counter. Just thank the Lord that there’s someone there at all. If there’s nobody there do not, whatever you do, drum your fingers on the counter. You’ll be that little American princess again. I know, it’s hard. Count to ten.

Heritage

Many Americans have some British heritage. It’s tempting to try to engage Brits on this topic because, hey, you have something in common. They’ll want to chit-chat about their own heritage and perhaps you’ll find some sort of commonality. Right? Wrong. Brits just take for granted that they come from hundreds of generations of other Brits and they don’t give a flying fuck about their heritage. Most of them couldn’t tell you where their great grand-parents came from. The fact that your family are the McDonalds from Airdrie is going to be about as interesting to the average Brit as the fact that your ex-husband worked in Wal-Mart. In fact, the latter is probably much more interesting. Their eyes will light up as they ask “Hey, is it true they sell guns in Wal-Mart?”

Clothes

If you wish to be a stealth-tourist, there are two items of clothing which you must not, under any circumstances, wear.

The first of these is traditional clothing from the place you’re visiting. A quick look around Glasgow will reveal few, if any, people in kilts. These items of clothing are to be taken home and worn on special occasions, not to be worn while browsing the fungal itch creams in Boots.

The second item of clothing you must never wear is white socks. I know. Everyone in America wears white socks. In the United Kingdom, only pikeys wear white socks. Take a look around a high street in the U.K. Observe the correlation between colour of socks and fear that the person may kill you.

Comparisons with American Things

Finally, Britain has a large number of tourist attractions. Like all tourist attractions everywhere, they all pride themselves in being the best/oldest/deepest/tallest of something. Because America is a very large country full of ambitious people, the superlatives claimed by British tourist attractions are, by and large, ball-bouncingly shit when compared with their American equivalents. The Brits secretly know this, but are very hurt if you mention it. Your vacation will generally fly by easier if you keep phrases such as “I think there’s one bigger than that in my yard” or “This is IT?” to yourself.

Armed with these handy tips, you should be able to avoid being labelled as the bad variant of American tourist. And, if you get fingered all the same, you can always pretend you’re Canadian.

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36 Responses to Book chapter: What not to say or do when visiting the U.K.

  1. Cathy says:

    Wow! I can’t believe that NO ONE has commented on this! Well, allow me to be the first. I had decided long ago, that if fortunate enough to travel to the UK, I would make double sure that I would behave as my mother raised me to behave in public, like a lady. Ladies do not talk loudly or brashly. Ladies keep any comments about the locals or the country that my not be appreciated to themselves. If you can’t say anything nice……etc. I’ve read many comments from Brits in your online newspapers that express Brit’s pleasant surprise to visit the US and find that Americans perfectly nice people, who have an apparent fondness for Brits. True dat.

  2. Stu says:

    So I put three of the themes here together, tourists, service expectations, and talking and wound up with a question. How do all of these impact asking someone for directions?

  3. SepticTone says:

    I suspect Stu, that your perspective as an American, is unduly skewed by your being an American. No disrespect, old boy. But a few home truths about the English ( as a tourist, you’ll never leave England, as nobody in their right mind visits Scotland, Ireland or, least of all, Wales)

    A) Do Not expect Service. Anyone engaged in service industries here is by definition a pikey, thus an untouchable wretch. Treat anyone engaged in service industries with contempt & disdain: it’s what they expect & deserve.
    Do not leave a tip. The English do not tip. Tipping someone here is like spitting in their face, & acknowleging that they’re poorer than you. Even pikeys have pride. The price is the price. Order, get food, eat food, pay net bill, leave.
    B) Tourists. Do Not, under any circumstances, wear little white socks. This sad custom marks you out immediately as a pitiful American from the 1950’s. Black socks, OK? Do not have a fat wife, or be fat yourself as fatness is a sign of Americanness, so you’ll be stabbed at worse & your low-tech non-chip & pin cards stolen, only to be discarded later, as not working in our holes in the walls. At best, you’ll only be laughed at openly.
    C) By all means ask for directions. But do not expect the directions to be correct, as you have an American accent. I routinely direct Americans to a toilet in Houndslow when they ask for directions to the British Museum, as Americans do not pay UK taxes, thus should not be allowed free access to our museums.

  4. Meep says:

    Great piece of blog but you forgot to mention the girls. Definition of an english girl is a fat, frumpy, alcoholic, binge-drinking, foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, pub-trawling entity with bad teeth and no fashion sense. Avoid at all costs and don’t let them see the size of your wallet. In the eyesof an english woman it really is size that matters.

  5. rick says:

    I think your chapter is helpful to Americans traveling to England. (or Uk or GB). but you might want to remove the Anglo Saxon from your prose. Rick Steves readers dont like the Anglo Saxon bits.

  6. Kris says:

    I didn’t see anything about boys in shorts (short pants?) – my son backpacked around, hosteling and whatnot, and wore the shorts once. He was 18 – at what age do young men have to give up the comfort of shorts? And now I’m intimidated as I am a curvy plush midwestern girl, pink cheeks and all – will I be considered a “fat wife”? Gah.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’m responding to your blog rather late, so who knows if I will get a response back, but I was hoping for an answer to a certain question regarding my touring London alone. I was going with a group of friends, but now they are all broke. However I’m determined, I will go to London if it kills me. But I’m nervous about being alone. I keep hearing things that indicate that making friends in England is next to impossible. Just what are the odds of an semi-cute, mid-twenties loner American girl of making friends? Should I even bother, or should I keep my mouth shut and just enjoy the view?

  8. Andrew says:

    Just to say, I laughed a lot at this chapter – and the feedback all seems right on the button. I am a Brit living in Austin and loving it and Texas! If you are an American who wants to visit London, try your best not to go in Jan -Feb, I know the flights are cheaper but the weather really is horrendous! London, like so many places in the world, can be beautiful but not when it’s freezing cold and grey and miserable. As for Jennifer, you will be just fine and have a great time! – I have lots of friends similar ages and can forward on email addresses to you if you want some girlfriends to show you around in the evenings etc… ps.. be prepared to drink. One thing I’ve noticed here is that people just don’t seem to get drunk…

    Have fun and good luck with the book.

    Andrew

  9. Matteo Watkins says:

    Some very classic “nail on the head” stuff… yer killin’ me… I made the mistake of speaking to somebody who I see almost daily at the school drop off… I made an attempt at some small talk as we were looking over the same section in our local little market… and I could swear she was this close to screaming rape! I had inadvertantly scared the shit out of her by mentioning that it must be nice having her braces off her teeth, and that I remember how nice it felt… horror of horrors. My British wife laughed and encouraged me to not give up…and to continue to scare the locals by “talking to them”.

  10. Judith says:

    “Great piece of blog but you forgot to mention the girls. Definition of an english girl is a fat, frumpy, alcoholic, binge-drinking, foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, pub-trawling entity with bad teeth and no fashion sense” – Hmmm, Meep I wonder if this diatribe was caused by you being turned down when you were in the UK – obviously us British girls have more taste than you give us credit for:)

  11. Cooper says:

    Sorry mate, what a load of rubbish this is.
    Some of the points were correct bsut a lot of them are just stupid.

    “Do not leave a tip. The English do not tip. Tipping someone here is like spitting in their face” — Its actually common courtesy in England to tip at least 10%

    Any Americans who read this, if you want to get by in the UK without being noticed as tourists. Just wear jeans or tracksuit bottoms. Thats pretty much all you need to do. What this guys on about with the white socks ordeal i don’t know.
    Oh, and don’t wear crocs or sandles.

  12. Anthony says:

    LOL, Thanks for writing this mate, its wrong 99% of the time but as a Brit that does actually demand good service i agree that our service is just shocking.

  13. Daniel says:

    Don’t mention the word “Fanny” this means something COMPLETELY different in the UK. “Hey guys, I just fell on my fanny” will get you some very strange looks – some may ask how you managed it!

    BTW I live in the North West of England and strangers do talk to you all the time here. IMO that’s more of a South East thing.

  14. Mr A says:

    LOL, most of this is complete bull! XD

  15. Rach says:

    Well this was interesting, maybe no one in London speaks to you when you talk because they are all foreign and dont speak English? Im from the south and quite enjoy speaking to strangers, apart from pikies! I found this article to be an interesting perspective but not very accurate. I think most of the world does not like Americans as a whole but they have no idea why!

  16. Carol Katrawitz says:

    Do NOT use the expression ‘pissed’ for being fed up. To be ‘pissed’ in English is to be drunk!
    The other thing we find strange, is the amount you guys eat for breakfast! Earlier this year I was in Costa Rica and almost without exception you guys would have: a fry up, pancakes/waffles a ‘Tico’ breakfast and sometimes fruit as well! Most of us would not have eaten that amount by the middle of the afternoon!

  17. Emily says:

    This is the biggest load if drivel I have ever read. If you truly want information I’d look somewhere else.

  18. alan says:

    I am married to an American and have lived in the US for 4 years. We lived in the UK before that. Yes she is loud and often coarse and is geographically blind and a few more of the behavioural stereotypes – and dresses like a vagrant – – apparently I am a snotty condescending Brit and Amanda Knox is innocent. She asked me yesterday if we had groundhog day. I told her we didn’t have groundhogs and she replied ” Yes, but do you have groundhog day”. An American woman in York asked me if Norway was in the north of England too, as she was going there tomorrow. ALL the stereotypes are true and those about the Brits are too. I try to hate Americans but I am one myself now so its difficult. They cant help it and once you relax on all this stuff, they can be very generous – tit for tat. Oh and they don’t say tit bits coz its rude – they say tid-bits. They are nipple-o-phobes and disapprove of drinking and breasts (janet jackson’s freak em). God save America and God bless the Queen.

  19. Brenda says:

    Thank you for sharing this chapter; I quite enjoyed it and may even have laughed aloud in a few places.
    Since my superpower is editing, and I have decided not to wait for the world to be endangered before using it for good, please forgive me for pointing out that the last sentence of the second paragraph – “…he will fall and love and unexpectedly die.” – ought to read “fall in love”, yes? (although, it’s usually the contrived love interest that does the dying, seems like.)
    Also, the last sentence under Heritage: “Their eyes will light up as they as ask…” – need to remove that second ‘as’.
    And I probably shouldn’t mention the extra space under Comparisons with American Things: “…being the best/ oldest/deepest/tallest of something”.
    Thanks again for the tips, and the giggles.

  20. Alissa says:

    Abso-bloody-lutely amusing. Roaringly insane and I must say, quite correct. I find the British-stereotype scenario funny and sadly, true. Poor Americans- such a bad rep.

    … and the first question I asked my Uncle in America was if they sold guns in Wal-Mart.

  21. Chris Richards says:

    Americans visiting UK – Don’t overdo the please and thank you’s. I know it is acceptable form in UK to be good mannered but once is enough.
    Saying that, the US tourists that I meet in Stratford Upon Avon are fine ambassadors for their country. Always polite and friendly.

  22. jordan says:

    well im engaged to a brit and plan to visit England in a few months and he said all of this (except the bad service) is a load of rubbish
    also the thing about stereotypes is not everyone fits into their stereotypes…. not all americans are like that and not all brits are as you said but i did find this blog very amusing and even though brits may hate me because im american i will always have a facination and general admiration of brits, i like them, theyre a nice change from what i see everyday

  23. Alli says:

    Sheesh! I’m glad I read the comments to find out the truth or to go search for correct information elsewhere. It’s like you’re trying to scare Americans away from the UK, or making them aware of all the bad things to expect.

  24. Laura says:

    Yes, sound advice about white socks…not under any circumstances ok?

    A couple of other do’s and don’ts

    Do; drink as much tea as humanly possible. The brits consider tea to have magical powers and the ability to immediately rectify any situation, ie sudden deaths of all your close family.

    Do keep your big yankee trap shut whilst engaged in the deadly serious business of queing. Brits DO NOT make this kind of casual chit chat. You will be considered a) insane b) a serial killer

    Do not: be a Christian or mention God. Brits call this ‘having the lord’ and its spoken of in hushed tones and considered the mental equivalent of having cancer.

  25. john says:

    im british and this is all nonsense, well most of it anyway

  26. Elinor says:

    My god, this isn’t a ‘what not to say in U.K’ text at all, this is just an excuse to insult Britain and european people in genral. If you’re upset about how you’ve been treated by a small part of the popuation, make you’re text more specifik and don’t blame the whole continent for some jerks bad behavoir. Stop saying that we ‘love this’ and ‘hate that’ because everyone’s different, not clones with identical personalities and grudges. As a swedish euroepean, I’ve never thougth amarikans were loud and arrogant, so please do some research before posting somthing like this. Even thought it’s meant to be humorous, you’re making fun of the wrong facts, which makes it offending.

  27. Martha Baehr says:

    Yikes! My husband and I and cousins are trying to plan a trip to Ireland, possibly England. I’ve been looking at suggestions for both. I laughed so hard the dog came up from the basement to see what was the matter. I guess we will be shunned as ‘plastic paddys’ since we’re very attached to our Irish heritage and totally happy and proud to be Americans. I know from my own experience with British relatives that the “flat affect, non-communicative” thing is absolutely true (sometimes). These same people also said service in England is non-existent. Still, I look forward to the trip. I already know that everyone is supposed to hate us, so I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised. What I really want to know, since we’ll all be well over 60, traveling to the UK for the first time, is this: what are we supposed to wear with our comfy touring tennis shoes if not white sox?

  28. shivani says:

    LOL! I live in the UK none of this is true!

  29. emma says:

    My husband and I are planning a trip to London next week and reading this has really frightened the begeebees out of me. I think common courtesy is a basic global thing but where do we go to find the truth on how to be accepted in a culture that is so different from ours? Or so it seems.

  30. JHon says:

    Most of this is rubbish.
    You don’t know what a pikey is, you mean chav.
    Trying to make a joke about people with learning difficulties isn’t funny, it’s just offensive and crude.
    However, i read on because it is sometimes humorous but still incorrect.

  31. N says:

    Can I just say, as a Brit, we do tip, in fact, as I am a waitress, it is rude NOT to tip, and we are always asking “did that table tip?” etc, and if they didn’t tip, there would be a lot of slagging off on their behalves.

  32. Guy Standeven says:

    Pretty well travelled in America I could list the same gripes about bad service, hideous food, unpleasant serving staff, oddball fellow travellers and dreadful hotels/motels that I came across there. British people are not a chatty bunch for the simple reason they’d rather not inflict their conversation on you if you don’t really want to hear it. As they have no idea in advance about this, they stay quiet for the sake of manners. But if you do talk to them, they’ll be perfectly happy to converse. Stay off religion, WW2, football -soccer as you call it, politics and never ask any British people their occupation or how much they earn. Decidedly bad form. Don’t faint at the urbane manners of the Border officials at the airport in comparison with their bullying US counterparts. If you do have an English, Welsh or Scottish name and you want to find out a little more history then use the internet, you’ll get much further. If you want to find out the best and cheapest way around Britain, use a hotel computer or ask the staff to plan a journey for you. Rail and coach companies do a variety of deals/money saving offers. Don’t hire a car if you’re staying in London, there’s no point, Tube or buses are much better. Google “Oyster Card.” If you’re staying/ travelling outside London, get a train out and hire a car locally rather than try and drive in London on the left if you’ve never done it. (It’s not the wrong side by the way, we know the Romans drove on the left here 2000 years ago.) Wear what the hell you like, nobody will notice anyway. Lastly, do tip. 10%. Taxi drivers and waiters.

  33. Phil says:

    Most Americans (and other non-Brits) speak of “England” or “Britain” when what they really mean is “London”. London has most of the so-called “National” museums and many other places of historical interest which is fine if you don’t mind paying ridiculous prices…my friend just got back from a trip to London where he had to pay £30 ($46 approx in August 2013) for Pizza for two !!
    I agree with most of the comments above although, once again, many of them only apply to the London/South East area. Stop a stranger in the street to ask for directions in London / S.E. and they’ll probably hurry past, run away or call the cops (only a slight exaggeration). Do the same thing in Manchester, Liverpool or Newcastle….in fact anywhere in the North and you’ll be BFFs within minutes…they’ll also help in any way they can (this experiment has been tried many times by Social Psychologists).
    Oh yes….don’t mention George Bush !!

  34. Charlotte says:

    I’m aware it is 4 years on from the article being written, but couldn’t help but comment. These are some fair observations but they come across rather patronising… I would’ve thought the article should be emphasising both good and bad aspects of British culture but it seems rather one-sided and negative. As a South-Western ‘Brit’ I must say that most of these comments focus on London culture (which is very unlike the culture in the rest of the country). I would definitely agree that northern England i.e. Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle etc. are more friendly but the same can be said for cities such as Bristol and the southern counties of Devon and Cornwall.
    As far as tipping’s concerned, 10% is the standard but more or less can be given depending on the level of service/type of venue. No one will chase you out of a Pizza Hut if you’re strapped for cash.
    Of course there are fat drunk old men in pubs, or students stumbling around cities looking for a kebab at 2am, but these types of people can be transferred to a lot of different countries and cultures, so it seems unnecessary to draw attention to them as cultural stereotypes (although admittedly alcohol consumption is on the higher level – one generally gains more respect the more you can drink without seeming drunk – but again this is probably just among young adults).
    As for the family heritage (as far as I’m concerned, anyway, being of German Jewish descent) I have to completely disagree! Everyone I know has a huge interest in their ancestry.
    To summarise, as much as these are all well and good points, if you are planning to visit the UK come with an open mind, without any pre-existing judgements or assumptions about the country and culture. It seems common sense that there is a huge diversity of backgrounds and cultures: well-educated people and less-well educated people, wealthy and less weathly people, religious, non-religious, fat and thin – just as there are in America.
    Shock horror, I even know people who hate tea.

  35. TeeSee says:

    First things first. America is a vast country and many of you are not fron New Yoik. So you’re thinking of making the trip right? Let’s say instead of England you decided on the Big Apple. You know what to look out for. You know you’re going to be ripped off. Ah… Well same applies when you fly that extra few miles to Heathrow.
    Let the lesson begin. You go to London to see the Queen? Prepared to be ripped off. But there is another reason to go to England. Forget London, it’s a name only. Sure,it has all the boxes of tourist attractions ticked BUT; England is one of the densest populated countries,. Which means to you Yanks, in the time you’ve travelleled to the bottom of your garden, you’ll have moved into an entirely different culture. 1 and a half hours drive away to the west is Wiltshire – home to stonehenge. Again a tourist trap, designed to lure you guys into parting from your hard earned while you view it from afar, with a telescopic lens. The surrounding scenery though is, magical. I’d suggest instead, Avebury about 15 miles noth. An entire village surrounded by stones you can actually touch. Now, Let’s fly up to Newcastle on the border. To the Bigg Market on a friday or Saturday night and make your own mind up about the English lasses – be prepared for hedonism. Do not metion football. Football is a euphamism for war here 10 mile South is the city of Middleborugh. There are two rivers that seperate these two cities, the Tyne and the Tees. M’borourgh lies on the Tees and N’castle on the Tyne. The Geordies (Newcastle denizens) call those that live in M’borough ‘Makems’ going back to the industry at the time From the steels mills y’ou mak ‘em we build ‘em’. On your way south is Lindisfarne, another area of mystery. Go south west (missing kielder forest sadly) – take in the fells of the Lake District (Cumbria) , probably no more than anthills in some of you guys back yards but scamper up and pronounce to the world ‘HEY I REACHED THE TALLEST PEAK IN ALL OF LITTLE OL’ ENGLAND’. Move on down going SE and therefore York (tourist trap though worh visiting if you want to see – check out the Moors) we reach Manchester.Home of all indie bands. Move on left you can see Liverpool also home of some culture and the accent prove an Irish heritage should that be what float you folks boats. Moving back to the spine of England directly south of Manchester some 30 mile you pass through the Peak District, an area of outstanding natural beauty, into the hinterland of the industrial Midlands. First you will find Stoke on Trent a city renowned for it’s pottery (Ruskin, Wedgewood etc) but sadly demised now. To the east go to Derby home of Rolls Royce to the South into the West Midlands and Black Country. Birmingham, the City of a Thousand Trades with a fantastic nightlife and Ironbridge – the cradle of industry. Brunell’s world first bridge made of cast iron. RMS Titanic may have been Built in Belfast but it’s anchor and chain was struck in Netherton. The Black Country is made up of about 15 villages not more than 3 or 4 miles apart but the dialect (albeilt the same from an outsider) is easily discenable from those within. OK let’s move east west or south as we’re at the ‘waist’ of England. To the East is Leicester whre the King’s bones have just been uncovered and there’s a real tug ‘o’ war to decide where the remains shall be interred. York thinks they have a real shout but so far the concesus is Leicster keeps ‘em. to thre East of Leicester is Norfolk. Any self respecting yank will tell you he has spent 2 weeks cruising on the broads. All waterways and hinting strongly of the Nethelands/Denmark you will find this a country within a country. Many Freesians assimilated into this area once Alfred defeated the Vikings and asked them to adopt Christianity. We go back to the Midlands again and strike west this time. We are now in Shropshire and the market town of Ludlow on the Welsh Marches. This is a place you have to visit guys. Food you can die for, locally slaughtered, couple of 1 star Michelin – the rest still as good IMHO. Go south through God’s own country through the county of Hereford and Worcestershire, take in the cider but have a DD, to Avon. Gateway to The South West. Go down to Bristol (taking in Wells) where you’ll see the mighty ships that drove the catholic hoardes back into the brine and ensured Britain’s place as the first superpower. Move futher south and east and you’ll enjoy the City of Plymouth, where we got rid of the crazies that eventually landed in somewhere in the United States of A**holes and turned it into what it is today. God Bless. Tour done, please tip the guide.

  36. Billy says:

    Don’t go to England, the people there are not very friendly and they are snobby. Go to Scotland, Northern-Ireland or Wales, nicer people and a lot more chatty, especially in the North of Scotland. But in England, particularly in the South, they have never really forgiven you Americans for superseding them in the World pecking order.
    If you are in Scotland, Ireland or Wales do not refer to the U.K. as England – the locals will be a little offended by that – and do not ask people if they know any of your relatives living in the country because you will come across as a bit strange.

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