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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales

Do you really know what the English are like?

bull dogEnglish Stereotypes (Not British)


Definition: A stereotype is "...a fixed, over generalised belief about a particular group or class of people.” (Cardwell, 1996). In other words stereotyping is believing that people of a certain group, race or religion all have the same characteristics when they don't.

Learning from the media and talking to older people, we pick up a lot of stereotypes about other nations. In every country there are plenty of stereotypes about residents, some maybe true but most of them are untrue and very wrongful. This page looks at stereotypes of the English and what people around the world see as the stereotypes of the English.

What are the first three things which come into your mind when you hear the words 'England' or 'the English?

mAN WEARING A BOWLER HATMine are fish and chips, rolling hills and sarcasm
(click here for a definition of sarcasm)

The most common image people have of a typical Englishman is a man wearing a bowler hat and reading the Times newspaper. Is this your image?

"Men wearing bowler hats, a pin striped suit, a newspaper under the arm and carrying a long unopen umbrella."

Bowler hats are very rarely seen in England today. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen one being worn apart from in the movies!


When I think of the English, I think of .........

BeerBull dog

"Beer, honesty, Bulldog-type, Royal Family, Cricket, the Weather"
- Dickie Bird (Famous English cricket umpire)


"Long shadows on county cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and old maids bicycling through the morning mist"
- John Major (Ex Prime Minister )

TeaBig BenShakeBeefeater

cream teas, Big Ben, Shakespeare, pubs, beefeaters

"I think that English people are quite reserved. I had to laugh when I went by tube and saw everyone sitting and reading their newspapers."

Double Decker bus

"Gardening, warm beer, stiff upper lip, double-decker buses, Morris dancing "

"Saying the words 'splendid' and 'terribly' and old fashioned words/phrases like 'cheerio', 'spiffing' etc, '' (We don't say these words!)

Queenmorris dancingUK Flag

Morris Dancing, Royal family, Union Jack, God Save the Queen, Battle of Britain, Trooping the Colour'

"A lot of folks overseas think that the English are crazy about dogs and love them more than their kids!"

"The English eat a big breakfast in the morning with bacon, eggs, baked beans…”


"England is a land of beer, football and bad weather."
(Contrary to popular belief, it DOES NOT rain every day in England! :)

"My in-laws are from the Middle East - they think that we boil all our food. If the truth be told I would rather eat curry than boiled cabbage!"

Beckham "I'm working in a school in Catalonia and they all think that it rains 24/7 in England, and that we eat bad food which is ironic because the food over here is terrible!! Oh, and they all think that we must know David Beckham because we are English!"

"Patriotic people, some think we are snobs but we are just proud of our country and Queen. We are very polite and patient although as in any country, there are the bad eggs. But on the whole we are a very pleasant nation."
Tom Eccles aged 13.

"People think the English are no good at learning foreign languages and have the attitude that if they yell loud enough in English the "foreigners" will evertually understand them... "

What are the first three things which come into your mind when you hear the words 'England' or 'the English? Follow this link to tell us


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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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