The United Kingdom is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Although it’s not a mysterious and isolated location that nobody ever visits, somehow the misconceptions that people have about the UK never get cleared up.
If you believe in the stereotypes that surround the UK, you might be in for quite a shock when you finally visit. Keep reading to find out what the 10 most common misconceptions about the UK are. It’s time to get the truth out there.
10 The Full English Breakfast Is A Staple
Most people get full just from looking at a full English breakfast. It’s unfathomable to imagine actually being able to eat one every single morning and then carrying on with a normal day’s worth of eating too. And yet, many people think this is what Brits do.
Although the Brits do like their full cooked breakfast, which consists of eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding, toast, sausage, and possibly other sides too, it’s definitely not a staple for most people. Breakfast on an average day for an average person is much more likely to involve toast or cereal.
9 It’s All One Country
Another common misconception about the UK? That’s it’s all one country. Many foreigners assume that the United Kingdom is a single nation and London is the capital. It’s easy to get confused, especially when you’re not actually from the United Kingdom. But this is a misconception you’ll want to rectify before setting food in Britain.
The United Kingdom is actually four countries, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which are linked. They each have their own borders, culture and identity. Though they are connected in some ways, they definitely aren’t part of the same singular country.
8 Ireland Is Part Of It
When it comes to the geography of the United Kingdom, a lot of people get confused with Ireland. The Republic of Ireland (the capital of which is Dublin) isn’t part of the United Kingdom. Though the nation shares some cultural similarities with the countries of the UK, it’s not a part of it.
Here’s where it gets confusing. Northern Ireland, which is located on the same island as Ireland and not England, Scotland and Wales, is part of the United Kingdom. Visit Dublin in the Republic and you’ll see they use euros as currency. Visit Belfast in Northern Ireland and you’ll have to use General British Pounds.
7 English Is The Only Language Spoken
Because the United Kingdom is the home of England, it only makes sense that foreigners assume that English is the only language spoken there. While it is the most widely spoken language, it is by no means the only one.
In Scotland, Scots and Scottish Gaelic are also spoken. In Wales, Welsh is actually an official language along with English. And in Northern Ireland, they speak both English and Irish Gaelic.
The United Kingdom is now a multicultural destination and so you’ll also find other languages being spoken amongst smaller communities of immigrants.
6 There Is Only One British Accent
Not only is the United Kingdom home to a variety of different languages, but it also boasts many different accents. In the United States, the typical English accent is mostly portrayed as similar to the Queen’s English, or sometimes a cockney accent. But in England alone there are many regional accents and dialects.
Of course, the accents and dialects continue to transform as you move across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It’s definitely incorrect to say that there’s only one British accent. In fact, there are probably endless accents that you’ll come across in the UK.
5 London Is All There Is To See
The biggest shame when it comes to foreigners visiting the United Kingdom is that they believe London is all there is to see. The majority of foreign tourists only ever come to London without checking out what the rest of the United Kingdom has to offer. And trust us, there is a lot.
Don’t forget, there are four whole countries that comprise the UK. And within those countries, there are several main cities and are worth seeing in addition to London. Then you’ve got all the small townships and villages off the beaten path. London is worth seeing, but there is also much more out there.
4 There Are No Nice Beaches In The UK
People don’t typically associate the United Kingdom with beaches. It’s not really your classic ocean-side vacation destination, given the weather. But that doesn’t mean that the United Kingdom doesn’t have any nice beaches at all. It may not be known for its beautiful beaches, but they do exist.
The best part about the beaches of the United Kingdom is that they’re often missed by foreign tourists. The Brits themselves might visit them in the summer, but you probably won’t run into throngs of tourists from overseas there. Many of the beautiful stretches of coastline around the UK are still well-kept secrets.
3 The Queen Is Just A Figure Head
Some people assume that because the UK still has a royal family, the Queen holds all the power. Others think that she’s just a figurehead with no power at all. Neither is actually true. Times have definitely changed since the days when the reigning monarch could have anybody executed, but the Queen does still hold some power in the United Kingdom.
She still has the power to appoint or remove ministers, the power to suspend parliament, and the power to veto changes to the law. Also, she does have the power to declare war, but that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
2 Everyone Has Bad Teeth
For whatever reason, the Brits have a reputation for having bad teeth. We’re not sure exactly where this came from, but it seems to be a stereotype that has prevailed. Of course, once you arrive in the United Kingdom, you’ll realize that everyone does not have bad teeth.
Yes, you will meet Brits who do have crooked or unhealthy teeth. But the overall standard of dental hygiene is actually quite high in the UK. When you do find a Brit with bad teeth, consider them the exception, rather than the rule.
1 It’s Really Rainy
As we said, the UK isn’t the first place that you think of when you're looking for a beach holiday. Although the destination certainly experiences its fair share of rainy skies, it’s by no means wet all the time. In fact, it actually rains more in Hawaii—which is considered a beach vacation destination—than in London.
The UK probably isn’t the sunniest destination in the world, but the sun does shine during certain times of the year. It’s not always gray and rainy. The exact weather you get really depends on what time of year you’re traveling but there is definitely more on the menu than just rain.