Misconceptions Many People Have of England

Updated on October 31, 2016

In England we see it all the time: a new film comes out with either the most stereotypical English actor the director could find, or a non-English actor over-exaggerating their English-ness.

Don't get me wrong, it would be rare to find any English person offended by this. In fact it can sometimes be hilarious!

It has been said many times that England and America still use stereotypes of each other for comedic reasons because we bear the ridicule in the best way possible—with grace and humility.

But just in case anyone has any doubts as to what England and its inhabitants are really like, please feel free to read on.

Our Accent

This is probably the biggest one of them all and one that seems to be consistent.

Every English character in a film seems to have to have an extremely posh accent. So posh in fact that I think the Royal family would have a job replicating it!

I'm not saying that we don't have anybody in the country that speaks fairly posh in an English accent, but most of us don't. In fact, we have some really 'out there' accents that I can imagine would be hard to understand for people whose first language isn't English. Try listening to the Scouse (Liverpool), Brummie (Birmingham), or Cornish accents; none of those are common in films outside of the UK. Even a standard London accent is rarely heard in films.

Our Houses/Mansions/Castles

I love this one. I've seen people come to England dreaming of castles dotted around everywhere, or at least big old grand houses. They don't expect to see rows of terraced houses or 1980's builds, which is a little more realistic.

Yes, we do have castles. Compared to some countries, we have many castles as these are part of our long history. But you're not going to just happen upon a castle whilst walking down the street. You need to seek them out.

Grand old houses are a little more common, but you have to look in the right areas. You'll find several in large cities, and you might find one as part of an old estate in the countryside. However, I'm sorry to disappoint you, most of us don't own one of these. Life is not like a Jane Austen novel; though in some aspects this is a good thing.

Our Manners

I would love to say that all English people have the manners of butlers and spies as depicted in films. But I would be lying.

I'm not saying we're particularly rude, but exceptional manners that verge on charm are rare.

We're renowned for queuing and don't take kindly to queue jumpers (just wait your turn like everyone else! What makes you so special?!), and some will hold a door open for you and the words 'please' and 'thank you' are not too much to ask. However, if you're expecting people to bow or curtsy to you, you'll need to go to a posh (and probably expensive) hotel where people are paid to display these manners to you.

Our Streets

It has been said by some that they were expecting cobbled streets.

Sorry to disappoint you once again, but cobbled streets are long gone. I can't ever recall living anywhere near a cobbled street. The only cobbles I've seen are in a fairly famous street in York called 'The Shambles.' So if you want cobbles, try there.

The rest of us are blessed with the modern material of tarmac and paving slabs. Maybe not as picturesque, but a lot more practical in this day and age!

We Know Someone Famous

No, I don't personally know anyone from the Royal family, James Cordon, David Beckham, or Hugh Grant. Very few people do.

These questions tend to be more prevalent in London. Probably because more tourists flock to London than anywhere else.

You may be lucky to spot a famous face in London if you keep an eye out. But to be honest, there is a lot more to look at in England than searching for a celebrity.

I feel a bit like this article has been a never ending list of disappointments. But don't fear! There is one stereotype us English do live up to: almost everyone drinks tea!

We are big tea fans. How can we not be? There are so many different teas to choose from and tea just invites cake. Or biscuits.

Questions & Answers


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      • Spanish Food profile image

        Lena Durante 

        3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

        How funny. When I lived in England and said I was from California, I was constantly being asked by if *I* knew movie stars. I was also asked frequently if I knew someone's aunt/uncle/cousin-twice-removed in some other state. I guess the sheer scale of the United States can be difficult for Europeans to grasp.


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