These Are the Funniest, Weirdest, Most Bizarre Things About British Culture

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I studied abroad in Wales in college. Coming from the US, I just kind of assumed things wouldn’t be that different in the UK. We both spoke the same language, right? Sure, some people spoke Welsh, but everyone there also spoke English, albeit with a funny accent. (They probably thought my accent was funny, too). For the most part, I imagined the UK like a more quaint, tea-obsessed America but with more tweed and different lyrics to My Country ‘Tis of Thee. (Ok, we definitely ripped that one off, but it still feels so weird to hear the lyrics to God Save the Queen over our most famous patriotic elementary school song).

While a lot of things were the same, I was shocked by all the little differences that took some getting used to.

First of all their change is way heavier than ours. After living in Wales for 6 months, a handful of American coins felt like play money.

And their refrigerators are tiny! All five of my roommates and I were expected to share a fridge half the size of the one I had at home.

And the carpet in bars? You’d never see that in the US, but almost every pub in Wales had wall to wall carpeting that looked like it had been there since before America was even founded.

And here’s the one that really threw me: they don’t refrigerate their eggs! Apparently, it’s actually weird that the US does refrigerate eggs, most countries don’t. But it never failed to weird me out to open the cabinet and find a dozen eggs next to the cereal.

The UK definitely surprised me, and I’m not alone. Here are some of the funniest things people from other countries discovered when they traveled to the UK for the first time.

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We both speak English, we both fought in the Revolutionary War (on different sides, though), and we both have royalty. (They have the Queen, we have Beyoncé).

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And we really aren’t as similar as you might think.

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Lots of stuff.

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The UK is a surprising country for people all over the world!

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Not so much shocked, but compared to the US everything is within walking distance in the central UK or at least where I went. everything seemed closer at least. Epps1502


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I had grown up being told the UK has horrible food, and it probably was true 20-30 years ago.
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Oh my god, it’s paradise if you’re a foodie now. It’s high quality with insane variety. Edinburgh and Glasgow blew me away.
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Cyclopher6971
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People don’t talk to strangers. Admittedly, I’m from the South and we will talk to anyone who stands still long enough, but even asking for directions or greeting the staff at the hotel got me looks. theCheshireCatisMad


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The soda.
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You guys use a different sort of sugar for your sodas than we do. Dr. Pepper in the UK tastes more like what we call Dublin Dr. Pepper (After the Dublin bottling company) Without the corn syrup, it has a pleasant…plum-like taste.
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NotObviouslyARobot
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The crisp flavor options are INCREDIBLE. America needs cheese and onion flavor asap. FrivolousMagpie


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Wife and I were driving from Bath to York. We stopped at a petrol station to fill up and I went inside to prepay, like I would at any gas station here in the US. I spent 15 very confusing minutes going back and forth with the station attendants because they couldn’t find a charge on the pump for me to pay.
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It finally became clear that they had no idea what I was talking about because they don’t require you to prepay over there – it was apparently unheard of. People actually fill up their tank, then go inside and pay like civilized humans.
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Captain_Hammertoe
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How fast they drive on shit roads with zero visibility – i.e. stone walls or hedges on either side. AusCan531


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And have one of the lowest road death rates in the world. Against all odds we are mostly excellent drivers, probably because the driving test is pretty difficult to pass. ElegantCustard


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Drinking culture. Very different from American drinking culture.
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In America, we drink until we get wasted cause it’s “fun”. Not a lot of bars (or pubs) around every corner (although we do have liquor stores).
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Came over the pond and saw pubs….pubs everywhere. So many drunk people at night that I wondered how could they even navigate the tube and all.
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The next morning? Everyone seems fine and ready to work. I usually take the day off to nurse my hangover.
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gilgasmashglass
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I was in London a few months ago. First time I was in the UK.
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Hotel Key, powers your room. I almost called up the front desk saying there was no power.
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RJ Curro

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“Digestive biscuits” sounds like an unpleasant medical procedure but they’re pretty good. -Laura Hancock 

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I knew gas would be expensive, but 1.35/l was a real shocker: gas in the UK costs about 3x what I pay in Texas! I rented a Vauxhall Mokka, and that thing felt like a tank on those narrow Scottish roads. After a couple of days, I saw that owning a small car in the UK was just good sense. Jason Stacy 

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How people could sound polite but be so rude at the same time. Fubbik


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Black currant flavor. You guys have black currant jam, drinks, cough drops, etc. I can’t find anything black currant flavored in my grocery store. Things in the states are typically grape or orange flavored. hazelk


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Beer, liquor, booze for people under 21. It blew my mind, I was under 21 at the time and it felt wrong to drink it so out in the open at a school event. Also a pub on campus, how cool. altergeeko


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Drinks are served without ice, and if you ask for ice, you get one or two cubes. MattDU


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Urban foxes!! Was out having a smoke at about 2am outside my hotel in London and up trots this fox like ‘hey dude, no big deal’. I could get used to seeing those instead of opossums. sp00kyd00m


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The fact that the tube is a literal tube. Thought it was just another crazy British slang term. bbq_pork_buns


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Shops close at 6pm. This one legit killed me, as a person who loves shopping and takes her time at it, I was amazed when by 6pm, all the shops were closed. gk261019


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It’s not “Bathroom”, it’s “Toilets”: saying ‘toilets’ sounds extremely rude to me, but I got a few weird looks when I said the former. Cuchullion


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What I would consider a standard cup of coffee (drip coffee sweetened by creamer and sugar) was very hard to find in the UK: the one time I asked for one the person seemed very put out and didn’t understand what I wanted. I learned to order cappuccinos. Cuchullion


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For instance…

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I’m from Australia, and all my life I believed red Solo cups were like 555 area codes – a Hollywood prop. When I immigrated to the US, my MIL was making dinner and offered me iced tea in a red Solo cup.
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I lost it, made everyone sign the cup. I’ve still got it.
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RavynLearnsBadly
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That your country is huge!
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I got off the plane and asked the cap guy how far the hotel was and he said about 30 miles. I almost had a heart attack… turns out cabs are cheaper than the Uk
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I can’t remember the price I paid but I was presently surprised.
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The UK cabs are like £4 per mile
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Also you would get laughed of the taxi for asking to go 30 miles and not taking the train.
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nibs123

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I spent a little time working at a summer camp, its really creepy seeing kids pledge an allegiance to a flag. Its quite strange. anonymous 

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What surprised me the most were the ridiculously long and worrisome disclaimers that are hastily read after dubious (e.g. pharmaceutical) commercials. I thought those were exaggerated by comedies like The Simpsons and Family Guy, but no, they are exactly like that. Sometimes even worse. They’re beyond parody. literal

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