What comes to mind when the words ‘British culture’ are uttered? Bowler hats, black umbrellas, red buses, tea in china cups, fish and chips served in newspaper, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding? Oh, and rain. Lashings and lashings of it. All these are, of course, quintessentially British. Although, except in occasional pockets of London, the bowler hat has all but disappeared. And fish and chips are no longer wrapped in newspaper, thanks to health and safety regulations. Buses come in all colours and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding has been overtaken as the nation’s favourite dish by Chicken Tikka Masala from the Indian takeaway on the high street.
Does British culture still exist?
Given all these changes, you might well be wondering if there is still such as thing as an authentic British culture? Of course there is. The culture is a reflection of its people, its weather, its tastes and traditions. And, Britain is a nation that has been subject to outside influences from time immemorial. Britain has been invaded by the Romans, the Normans, the French…and more recently, has opened its doors to migrants from all over the world. Hence, its culture is ever changing. It’s an accepting society that retains its beloved traditions (dancing round the Maypole, chasing cheeses down impossibly steep hills, drinking tea) yet is also ever receptive to other influences.
Britain for the visitor
If you’re about to visit Britain for the first time and want to experience authentic British culture, don’t limit yourself to London. Don’t miss out on a visit to the capital, there are wonderful things to see and do and it is certainly a bastion of culture, but there’s more to Britain than London’s frenetic lifestyle. True and traditional Britain can be found in the heather moors and grouse shoots of Scotland, in the hill farms of the Lake District and along the banks of the River Tyne. Quaint and quirky festivals see Britons ‘bog snorkelling’ in muddy ditches, Morris dancing or competing to throw Wellington boots farther than anyone else. The culture of Britain lies in its people, and in their big hearts, sense of humour and ability to endure almost constant bad weather. Welcome to Britain!
PIC: Igor Klimov – Fotolia