UK Facts: 150 Interesting Facts About the UK
12 April, 2023
12 mins read
UK Facts: 150 Interesting Facts About the UK
The UK is an Island nation with a vibrant history, a rich culture, world-class education, amazing tourist destinations, and a growing diverse population. The country is known for its various contributions to science, sports, and literature, among many other things. Keep reading if you want to know some interesting facts about the UK!
- The British sense of humour is distinct and known for its sarcasm and wit.
- British families are usually small, consisting of the parents and one or two children.
- The UK has some of the oldest surviving languages still spoken; these include Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Cornish, Welsh, and Manx. These languages are called the "Celtic Languages".
- The UK has produced many music genres, including Grime, Jungle, and Dubstep.
- The British are known to make use of the sun by sunbathing anywhere, including parks.
- The UK has more than 40 different dialects.
- The British favour a more indirect communication style.
- The biggest UK holidays include Newyear, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring and Summer bank holidays, Christmas, and Boxing Day.
- More than 80% of the UK's population lives in England.
- The English language has various influences, which include Danish, French, Dutch, and Latin Greek.
- The British eat various food on specific days; these include Fish and Chips on Fridays and roasts on Sundays. One of the most popular British dishes is the Sunday Roast; it is often eaten during lunch and contains meat, potatoes, gravy, and carrots.
- The UK has a variety of national animals, with England's national animal being the lion, Scotland's national animal being the unicorn, and Wales's national animal being the dragon. Northern Ireland's symbol, however, is the Flax flower.
- Over 82% of the UK's population lives in urban areas.
- The UK has the fourth largest film industry in the world, tying up with France and generating over 800 million dollars.
- Athelstan was the first king of England and the first king of the Anglo-Saxons to rule over England.
- The UK had the world's first postage stamp, which featured Queen Victoria in 1840.
- French became the UK's official language in 1066 with the arrival of William the Conqueror. It remained the official language until 1362.
- Barengaria of Navaree is the only Queen of England to have never been in the country.
- Vikings stayed in the UK for almost 300 years. Their first raid was in 865, and their last was in 1066.
Notable UK Figures Facts
- The UK has produced some of the world's best-known scientists, which includes Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.
- William Shakespeare is said to have added more than 1700 words to English.
- Thomas Newcomen revolutionised the steam engine in 1712, inventing the Newcomen Engine.
- Queen Elizabeth the second was the longest-reigning monarch in the UK until her passing in 2022.
- Joseph Aspdin was an English Bricklayer credited with the invention of cement.
- William Shakespeare's Macbeth is the world's most-performed play.
- In 1989, London-born Tim Bernes developed the internet when he proposed a new information management system.
- JK Rowling's Harry Potter series has sold 500 million copies worldwide.
- British Prime minister, member of parliament, and soldier Sir Winston Churchill is also an award-winning author, having received a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
- Queen Elizabeth was the second longest reigning monarch after King Louis XIV of France.
- The Beatles' song "Yesterday" has the most covers worldwide, with 1600 recorded versions.
- The UK's Queen Victoria is referred to as the "Grandmother of Europe" as she was the grandmother of many royals which, includes the monarchs of Norway, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, and Belgium, among many other abolished houses such as the Greek Royal Family, the Romanian royal family, the Russian Royal family, and the Yugoslavian royal family.
- Isaac Newton almost didn't continue his education after being pulled out of school at 12; his uncle insisted he continues.
- Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher started her life as a food scientist and created an emulsifier that allowed more air into the ice cream, making it fluffier.
- The current King, Charles the Second, is the oldest monarch to ascend to the throne in the UK.
- Charles Darwin is among the most recognised UK naturalists. One interesting fact about him was that he waited 20 years before publishing his well-known theory of evolution.
- Bruce Dickinson from the band Iron Maiden was once the 7th best fencer in the UK at the time.
- The UK comprises four countries: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
- Eighty-four miles is the maximum distance between any part of the UK and the sea.
- The Channel Tunnel links the south of England with the north of France.
- Great Britain and the UK are different, with Great Britain consisting of England, Wales, and Scotland. The UK consists of three countries, along with Northern Ireland.
- The UK's highest summit is Ben Nevis which is 1345 metres tall.
- Only one country shares a land border with the UK, and this country is Ireland.
- Scotland and Wales contain the most mountains.
- The UK has a garden with more than 100 different species of toxic plants called the Alnwick Garden, nicknamed "the Poison Garden".
- The UK's coastline is the third longest after Norway and Denmark.
- Scotland, England, and Wales have over 6000 islands, 136 of which are inhabited.
- The UK has 69 official cities, with the majority being in England.
- The UK has 13 overseas territories, which include the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, and Saint Helena.
- The highest 75 peaks in the UK are all in Scotland.
- The English Channel is among the world's busiest waterways, with more than 500 ships crossing it daily.
- England is the UK's largest country, while Northern Ireland is the smallest.
- Holme Fen is the lowest part of the UK.
- The UK has 15000 rivers and river systems, making up a 200,000 km watercourse.
- The North Sea separates the United Kingdom from mainland Europe, with coasts in Norway, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
Interesting Town and City Facts
- More than 8 million people in London speak more than one language totalling more than 300 languages.
- Fordwich in Kent is the smallest UK town having at most 400 residents.
- Wales has one of the longest city names in the world, having a town called "Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwlllllandysiliogogogoch"!
- 25% of London's population was born outside the country, making it among the most diverse cities.
- Glasgow is the largest Scottish city despite not being the capital.
- London was once called "Londinium" and "Ludenberg". The city was founded in 43 AD by the Romans.
- Belfast in Northern Ireland is where the Titanic was constructed.
- Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, has a cheese-rolling festival where participants attempt to catch a rolling wheel of cheese.
- Edinburgh's Fringe Festival attracts 2,500,000 visitors annually.
- London had the first-ever subway system.
- Winchester was once the capital city of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex; it is considered the first capital of England. Under Roman rule, the Romans designated Colchester as their capital.
- Edinburgh established the world's first fire brigade.
- Liverpool has the most number-one music hits, with many local bands reaching the number-one spot on the UK music charts.
- Cardiff in Wales is known as a shopping destination, nicknamed the "city of arcades".
- Bath is known for the Roman Baths, so much so that it inspired the city's name.
- Golf was first invented in Scotland and was said to have been banned in 1457 by James the Second when he blamed it for causing troops to neglect their military training for the sport. Today it is Scotland's national sport.
- Rugby, Cricket, and Boxing are all UK-created sports.
- London's 2012 Olympic games were the first time all participants had female athletes.
- Modern-day tennis was created in England. The famous Wimbledon championship was first held in 1877 in England.
- The oldest teams to compete in the English Premier League are Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Aston Villa, and Everton.
- England was awarded five medals in "Tug of War", a game once part of the Olympic games between 1900 and 1920.
- The UK held the world's first diving competition in 1889.
- The 1992-established English Premiere League had a predecessor, the First Division Of The Football League, established in 1888.
- Scotland has one of the oldest sports events called the Highland Games, which is said to have been brought up from Ireland in 2000 BC. However, the event as we know it today was established in the 1800s.
- Wales had its own medieval football game called Cnapan. The game was said to have been messy and brutal and hosted up to 2000 players.
- The Race for Doggett's Coat and Badge is one of the oldest boat races run since 1715 on the River Thames.
- During the 1908 Olympics, teams from the UK's police force won all the medals.
- The Norwich City football club has the oldest football anthem, "On the Ball, City, " written in 1890.
Landmarks and Museums
- The UK has more than 50,000 listed buildings and more than 20,000 monuments.
- The UK has the world's oldest monument, Stonehenge, estimated to be built more than 5000 years ago.
- Windsor Castle is the UK's oldest royal residence, still used by the royal family. The castle's construction began in 1070 by William the Conqueror.
- The Shard stands at 310 metres, the tallest in the UK and among the ten tallest Western European countries. It also offers fantastic views of the UK skyline.
- The UK, along with the British overseas territories, have 32 UNESCO Heritage sites combined.
- The British Library is one of the world's largest and has 170 to 200 million reading materials.
- 200 Bridges cross the Thames River.
- The Kelpies in Helix Park Scotland are among the top UK attractions, representing two mythical creatures that can shapeshift and look like horses. Each Kelpie in the Kelpies Monument weighs 300 tonnes and is 100ft tall.
- London Eye is among the most significant landmarks worldwide. It takes 30 minutes to do a complete turn!
- The Big Ben is the name of the clock's bell and not the clock tower itself. The tower is just called "the clock tower".
- Wales is known for having the most castles per square mile in Europe. Some of its most popular include Caernarfon Castle, Raglan Castle, and Conwy Castle.
- The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct that has become popular after the Harry Potter series.
Food and Beverage Facts
- The Indian Chicken Tikka Masala was voted the UK's national dish and is its most famous dish.
- People in the UK consume 165 million cups of tea every day. Tea is the UK's most popular drink. The average British person drinks 884 tea cups annually.
- If any food product you buy contains the royal stamp, it's been purchased by the royal family for at least five years.
- Fish and Chips were traditionally served in newspapers until the 80s.
- 2.5 million sausage rolls are sold by Greggs weekly.
- To be truly authentic, a Cornish Pasty, a stuffed pastry, must have 20 crimps on the edges.
- Most UK dishes follow what's known as "meat and two vegs", which features meat and two types of vegetables.
- England's top dishes include Chicken Tikka, Fish and Chips, Yorkshire pudding and Roast Beef in England.
- Fish and Chips were often eaten on Fridays.
- Afternoon tea is typically consumed between 4 pm and 5 pm and is often accompanied by sandwiches, pastries, and scones.
- Irish Stew with mutton, carrots, and potatoes is the top dish in Ireland.
- Haggis is Scotland's national dish and is prepared in sheep's stomach stuffed with oatmeal, offal, and onions.
- Cawl is a stew considered Wales' top dish; it contains bacon, cabbage, lamb or beef, and leeks.
- Ulster fry is Northern Ireland's most famous dish, consisting of eggs, potato, bacon, black pudding, hash browns, and baked beans.
- Newcastle's Blackfriars restaurant and banquet hall is said to be the oldest in the UK, having been established in 1239.
- Bangers and mash are a UK staple consisting of mashed peas and sausages. Sausages got the name Bangers as they were filled with water during WW1 amid food shortages which caused them to explode when cooked.
Educational Facts UK
- The UK has over 130 universities, including some of the world's top universities, such as Oxford University and the University of Cambridge.
- The UK has more than 250 Art institutes.
- The Nightingale Nursing School was the first nursing school to be established and was founded in 1860.
- The UK's education system is among the world's best ranking, second right after the United States.
- Education in the UK is compulsory until the age of 18 or 16 in some areas.
- During 2021/2022, 2.86 million students were enrolled in higher education.
- Six hundred five thousand one hundred thirty students studied in the UK during 2020/2021.
- The UK has some of the top world-ranking universities, which include the University of Cambridge (2nd worldwide according to QS university world ranking) and the University of Oxford (4th worldwide according to QS university world ranking).
- The UK has some of the world's oldest universities, including the 1096-established Oxford University, the 1209-established University of Cambridge, and the 1410-established University of St Andrews.
- UK educational levels include primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education.
Business and Economic Facts
- The UK is the sixth largest world economy after the USA, China, Japan, Germany, and India.
- The most prominent industries in the UK include retail, hospitality, professional services, business administration, and finance.
- Supermarkets in the UK are expected to generate 18.6
- Tourism, the UK's fastest-growing sector, is expected to be worth £257 billion in 2025.
- Retail and wholesale; Healthcare and Social Care; Professional and Technical; Admin and Support; and Education are the biggest UK jobs.
- The UK has two of the biggest supermarket chains in the world; Tesco ranking 10th in the top 20 with a market cap of $24.13 Billion, and Sainsubry's ranking 18th in the top 20 with a market cap of $7.86 Billion.
- Shell is the UK's top company with a market cap of £164.56 billion and ranks 15th in Fortune's Global 500.
- The UK's top exporting industry is Petroleum Refining.
- The Tourism sector in the UK is expected to reach £257 billion by 2025.
- London Heathrow is Europe's largest airport and is the fourth busiest airport in the world.
Trivia, Interesting Facts, and Funny Facts (UK)
- Christmas was banned during England's Puritan reign in 1647, when it was believed to promote immorality. This ban was lifted with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
- No British royal has been allowed in the House of Commons since Charles the First barged in with guards to prosecute members of the parliament. This event led to the civil war.
- In the UK, by law, it is still illegal to walk into the parliament wearing an armour. The "Bearing of Armour Act” was set in 1313.
- A law by William the Conqueror required all UK citizens to be in bed by 8 pm!
- James Bond's "007" codename was inspired by the 007 bus going from
- An old law stating that men above 14 should practice the longbow for two hours was never abolished!
- Six ravens are locked in the Tower of London as a superstition states that the kingdom will fall when six ravens leave the fort. This is why six ravens have been kept in the Tower of London since Charles the Second's reign.
- One of the bizarre UK laws is the Salmon Act 1986 which makes it "illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances".
- The UK had the first speeding ticket issued in 1896.
- Gibraltar is the only UK overseas territory where drivers drive on the right.
- The UK uses the metric system for measurements except for a few measurement systems, such as pints for liquids and miles for distances.
- The UK is home to the shortest commercial flight, lasting two minutes from Westray to Papa Westray, both in Scotland!
- The BBC does not have ads as it is funded by the British viewer.
- Horses in the UK are required to have a passport.
- Queen Elizabeth's Corgis are part of a 14-generation lineage, with the line starting with a Corgi named Susan, given to her on her 18th birthday and giving birth in 1949.
- To qualify as a London cab driver, you must memorise 25,000 different lanes, streets, hills, yards, and 20,000 landmarks.
- A unique species of Mosquito has developed in London's underground.
- King Charles, by law, inherited thousands of swans, sturgeons, dolphins, and Whales belonging to the British crown.
- Many Game of Thrones scenes were shot in Northern Ireland.
- In 1952 a double-decker bus jumped three feet as the tower bridge was opening; for his bravery, the driver was awarded £10!
- The UK is a unique destination to study in the world with quirky traditions and a long history.
At Casita, we proudly assist our students heading to the UK in finding their perfect student homes through our dedicated multilingual staff. We recommend that you read about your country and university of choice to know what to expect before arrival. Once there, we urge you to experience the culture fully and create new memories!
What are five interesting aacts about the UK?
- The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- The UK is the sixth world economy.
- The UK has the world’s third-largest coastline.
- Many sports were invented in the UK, such as Football, Rugby, Cricket, and Baseball.
- The UK has 1500 rivers and river systems.
What are some facts about the UK Culture?
The British sense of humour is distinct and known for its sarcasm and wit.
British families are usually small, consisting of the parents and one or two children.
The UK has some of the oldest surviving languages still spoken; these include Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Cornish, Welsh, and Manx. These languages are called the "Celtic Languages".
The British are known to make use of the sun by sunbathing anywhere, such as in parks.
The British favour a more indirect communication style.
The biggest UK holidays include New Year, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring and Summer bank holidays, Christmas, and Boxing Day.
What are some funny facts about the UK?
In the UK, by law, it is still illegal to walk into the parliament wearing an armour. The "Bearing of Armour Act was set in 1313.
Horses in the UK are required to have a passport.
A law by William the Conqueror required all UK citizens to be in bed by 8 pm.
In 1952 a double-decker bus jumped three feet as the tower bridge was opening; for his bravery, the driver was awarded £10.
One of the bizarre UK laws is the Salmon Act 1986 which makes it "illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances".