So you are making the big journey across the seas to the UK. Be it moving or just spending some time exploring you need to ensure you get involved in the British way of life. Get chatting to some locals, watch British tv, go to places off the tourist trails, learn the lingo and try out some of the British cuisine. If you are staying in London, do make sure you get out and see some other areas. Go rural, get to the coast and just don’t stay in Shepherds Bush with all the other Aussies. The UK has a brilliant culture and heritage and the best way to experience this is just throwing yourself in head first.
As it’s a funny old place and I’ve put together a few pointers for you to get you prepared for your time in the United Kingdom. Things I wish I had known before I moved to the UK include –
They drink. A lot! Aussies often get a reputation for being big drinkers and to some degree, we probably are however the Brits seem to do just do it more often. There is always a reason to go to the pub. The weather, new baby, new job, lost job, a new partner, break up, celebrations and commiserations. There is a huge pub culture in the UK and you know what they do pubs really well. There are cute ones, quaint one, historic ones, real ale ones, cider ones, gastro ones that serve insanely good food and trendy ones. If you ever find yourself in a village there will always be a pub welcoming you with open arms. I live in a small village and we have 6!! Another thing I always find weird but is considered perfectly normal is when two people go to the pub for a pint of coke. If you’re not having an alcoholic beverage I just don’t get it. That just wouldn’t happen in Aus. I also for ages couldn’t work out when someone asked for a ‘half of larger’ what the half of the drink would entail. A ‘half’ however is a glass size. #muppet
Although we both speak English there is still a language barrier. A couple of my favourites that have caused a few giggles are the following
Whippersnipper = strimmer
Capsicum = Pepper
Lollies- sweets (lollies in England is an ice lolly or lollipop)
Band aid- plaster
Singlet top- vest
Rather than just having towns and cities in the UK they have cities, towns, villages and hamlets. Towns are considered a town if it has a town hall and city is a city if it has a cathedral. A village can be bigger than a town but if it doesn’t have a town hall then it’s still a village and a hamlet is just a really small village. The mind boggles.
Soaps are huge over here- Emmerdale, EastEnders, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks. I’ve dabbled in a few but have stuck with Emmerdale. What can I say I’m a country girl. They have their own national comedy duo Ant and Dec which are kinda like the UK version of Hamish and Andy. Although Hamish and Andy are funnier. And younger. Piers Morgan in the morning is no comparison to Koshy or Karl. There are far too many reality shows- Love Island, Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex you really don’t need to watch them but be warned they will be all over the magazines and newspapers and the locals will be obsessed with them.
There are SO many old buildings. Which is great as there really isn’t that many in Australia so getting to explore them is pretty awesome. The National Trust and English Heritage have memberships and there is always several properties within a few hours of each other. It’s a great way to learn more about the history of an area.
You can tell where someone is from the moment they open their mouth. Coming from Australia where it’s such a vast country you couldn’t tell if someone was from Sydney or the back of Bourke but in England, two people that live an hour away from each other could have a different accent. I still don’t understand how it works. My personal fav is a Somerset or Yorkshire accent.
In England driving more than 2.5 hours to a destination requires an overnight stop. There is no way people would drive 2 to 3 hours somewhere to then return that same day. Considering Australia is several times bigger than England driving long distances is in our blood. The roads in the UK are also really narrow. In many places especially the country there will be some parts of the road that have ‘passing places’. If you plan to drive do make sure you’ve read up on the road rules
Barefoot is perfectly normal down under. England not so much. They also think you’re weird if you wear flip flops all year round.
The weather is always a good conversation starter. If I’m lost for something to say I will ALWAYS bring up the weather. Even if you’ve not checked the weather bring up rain and it will usually cover it.
A cup of tea will fix anything. No matter what time of the day or night. Brits love their tea and to be fair there is nothing better a cup of English Breakfast. What you do need to do though is read up on the colours and strength of teas. Builders brew is a common term for a cuppa and this basically means a dash of milk. If you are making a cuppa for someone always ask what strength they want their tea.
‘Alright’ is considered a greeting. My dad will alway answer it like a question which he thinks is funny every single time. If someone says ‘Alright’ to you just reply ‘yeah, alright?’
There is still a class system. Not everywhere and not everyone cares but it’s there. Your postcode, up bringing, social status all come into play at one time or another. Just ignore it.
Bank holidays are just public holidays.
Fridges are half the size of Australian fridges and often houses will have the washing machine in the kitchen. Yes, the kitchen!
Their postcodes are completely different to Aussie ones. A postcode here can pin point your exact street and then you just have to pick the house number. It’s really good for sat navs and finding your way around.
Vegemite will always be better than marmite. Penguins don’t compare to Tim tams and Nik Naks have nothing on twisties. Try them all but you’ll soon understand.
And finally for the love of God whoever you speak to do not call your thongs, thongs. They are flip flops and you will get some seriously weird looks.
I’m sure I have missed many other tips but this should be enough to get you on the right track. If you have any pointers I’ve missed do put them in the comments below with your blog link and I’ll update this post with your suggestions.
Pin for later