Are you interested in learning more about the United Kingdom or do you want to take your knowledge about that country to the next level? We have prepared 82 amazing fun facts about the United Kingdom to kill your boredom. Watch out to learn more about the royal system in Great Britain, where the word “Britain” actually origins from and what the longest city name in that country is.
1. Elisabeth II became Queen in 1953 and in 2015 she even became the longest reigning Queen in the world.
2. In 1724 Maggie Dickson from Scotland was sentenced to death by hanging. After she had been hanged and taken away in a coffin, it turned out that she had survived. A court ruled that the sentence was officially carried out, so she could not be punished any further. She continued to live for over 40 years and was nicknamed “Half-Hangit Maggie”.
3. If Prince Charles becomes King of the United Kingdom, he will be the oldest monarch ever crowned in Britain.
4. The sign “Made in Germany” was originally intended to warn British people of inferior items from Germany.
5. A pineapple was such a large status symbol in 18th century England that you could rent it for a day.
6. You get a personalized card from the Queen if you reach your 100th birthday in the United Kingdom.
7. The world’s first public zoo was opened in London in 1829.
8. After the great success of the Eiffel Tower, London planned the construction of the similar looking Watkin’s Tower in 1892. Due to economic difficulties encountered by the construction company, however, the tower was never completed and was later demolished. At over 1.148 feet, it would have been the tallest building of its time.
9. In the British Army only soldiers ranked “Pioneer Sergeant” are allowed to have a beard.
10. In 2017, Ed Sheeran paid more taxes in the UK than Amazon and Starbucks.
11. In 1647 Christmas was forbidden by the English Parliament.
12. From 5 to 9 December 1952, a fog crept up over London and claimed the lives of about 12,000 people. When strong winds finally lifted the fog, people were shocked to find so many corpses. You can read more about that story in our article here.
13. The Christmas tree that is set up every year on London’s Trafalgar Square is always given to the British by Norway. This tradition has existed since 1947 and is intended to express the Norwegians’ gratitude for the support by the British during the Second World War.
14. During World War II London became the capital city of 8 countries at the same time. It was a safe haven for the governments-in-exile of Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Yugoslavia.
15. Oxford University is older than the civilization of the Aztecs.
16. The explosion of a modern nuclear atomic bomb in London would produce such a large pressure wave that glass panes in Berlin would also shatter. Are you interested in more war facts? Just read our article here about that.
17. The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn.
18. The Scottish kilt originally came from France.
19. The monument of Stonehenge claimed to be one of the oldest monuments in the world. Scientists believe that the object was built over 4,500 years ago.
20. Wherever the Queen is residing a royal flag must wave at the top of the building.
21. During World War II, a Canadian soldier smuggled his bear “Winnipeg” to Britain, and it later became an attraction at the London Zoo. Young Christopher Robin Milne loved this bear so much that he gave his teddy bear the same name. This in turn inspired his father to write the stories about the bear Winnie the Pooh.
22. Although during the Great Fire of London the homes of 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 inhabitants were destroyed only six verified deaths were officially recorded.
23. In London the buses are red because the owner wanted to stand out from the competitors.
24. The terms “Great Britain” and “United Kingdom” are not interchangeable. The United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland, while Great Britain does not.
25. Because all passports in the UK are officially issued by the Queen, she does not own a passport. When travelling abroad she just has to state that she is the Queen.
26. In 1251 Henry III had been given a polar bear by the king of Norway, Haakon the Young. The bear was held in the Tower of London tied to a long chain so it could swim in the Thames and catch fish.
27. The abbreviation “OMG” (oh my God) was first mentioned in 1917 in a letter to the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill.
28. In 2016, at the age of 104, Jack Reynolds from Great Britain became the oldest person to get a tattoo. One year later, he became the oldest person to ride a roller coaster.
Read More: 34 Facts about Canada – The Ultimate List
29. London is still paying rent to the Queen on a property leased in 1211. An axe, a knife, 6 horseshoes, and 61 nails are part of the rent.
30. During the 19th century in the UK, the sentence for an unsuccessful suicide attempt was death by hanging.
31. When the Millennium Bridge in London was completed in the year 2000, pedestrians almost caused it to collapse. Due to a slight natural oscillation of the bridge, the people crossed it in lockstep so that a resonance occurred. The bridge started swinging so strongly that it had to be closed only two days after its opening in order to make appropriate improvements.
32. During World War I the Emperor of Germany, the King of Great Britain and the Emperor of Russia were all first cousins. The German Emperor Wilhelm II therefore commented sarcastically on the First World War: “If our grandmother (Queen Victoria) were still alive, she would never have allowed it.”
33. British woman Wendy Southgate is most commonly seen on Google Street View.
34. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in London wearing a suit of armor. A law from 1313 forbids members of Parliament from wearing armor in the House.
35. During World War II, Adolf Hitler gave the order to spare the British city of Blackpool from bomb attacks, as he intended to go on holiday there after Germany had won the war.
36. In the 17th century Charles II ordered for six ravens to be placed in the Tower of London to protect it. Until now the Tower of London still houses six ravens and they must remain there at all times due to superstitious reasons.
37. The average speed of a car in central London is about ten miles per hour (16 kilometers per hour), which is slower than a galloping horse.
38. In England, the second Day of Christmas is called “Boxing Day” because employees and servants traditionally received a gift box – the so-called Christmas Box – from their employer.
39. The British Library is the second largest library in the world. Only the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is larger.
40. The shortest war in the world took place in 1896 between Zanzibar and the British. Zanzibar capitulated after only 38 minutes.
41. Shortly before his death, James Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, transferred the rights to his book to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which today is one of the leading children’s hospitals in Britain. To this day, the royalty income from the book continues to support the hospital in treating a large number of children.
42. On 1 April 1957, the British BBC played an April Fools’ joke in which it published a short film about spaghetti growing on trees. After the show, the station received hundreds of calls from viewers asking how they could grow such a tree themselves.
43. During World War II all venomous and deadly animals in the London Zoo were killed to prevent them from escaping into the city and killing anyone, in case the zoo was bombed.
44. The name “England” derives from the old English term “Englaland”, which means “Land of the Angles”.
45. “The Shard”, the 95-storey skyscraper in London, is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, in the European Union and the sixth-tallest building in Europe.
46. The London Underground now makes more profit by selling its popular underground maps than it does operating the subway.
47. The United Kingdom is smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon.
48. French was the national language of Great Britain for more than 300 years.
49. On December 14th 1542 Queen Mary of Scotland (also known as Mary Stuart) became Queen when she was only six days old.
50. Big Ben is only the name of the main bell in the belfry of London. The correct name of the bell tower is “Clock Tower”.
51. For fun, a British couple invited the Queen to their wedding. The Queen actually came to the wedding.
52. Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s primary feudal landowner. She is Queen of 32 different countries, head of a Commonwealth of 54 countries in which a quarter of the world’s population lives, and legal owner of about one-sixth of the earth’s land surface.
53. Nigeria has a larger English-speaking population than the United Kingdom.
54. The British pound is the oldest currency still in use in the world. It’s more than 1200 years old.
55. The shortest commercial flight lasts only 47 seconds and brings people in Scotland from the Westray Island to Papa Westray Island.
56. The first postage stamp was created in Great Britain. It was designed in May 1840 and it featured the figure of Queen Victoria.
57. No matter where you are staying in the UK, you’ll never be further than 71 miles (115 kilometers) from the sea.
58. More than a half of the London Underground is actually above the ground.
59. The long drink “gin and tonic” was invented by the British in the 17th century as protection against malaria. The reason for this is that until 1940, the quinine contained in tonic water was the only substance known to be effective against malaria. However, since this also causes the tonic water to taste bitter, the drink was mixed with gin to improve its taste.
60. The city with the longest name in the world is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and is located in Wales.
61. The British Empire at its height was larger than Africa, North America or the Soviet Union. In regard to landmass it was even comparable to the Moon. If you like facts like this you should definitely read our Space Facts article here.
62. The word “Britain” is derived from the Celtic word “Pretain” meaning “the painted ones”, originally because the Britons had tattoos.
Read More: 47 Facts About Africa You Didn’t Know About
63. According to a survey from 2008, about 58 percent of British teens believed that Sherlock Holmes really existed.
64. After blue street lighting was introduced in some areas of Scotland, the suicide and crime rate dropped dramatically.
65. Joy Milne from Britain has the ability to recognize whether somebody is suffering from Parkinson’s by smell. In a scientific test, she identified the six people among the twelve test subjects who suffered from Parkinson’s disease based only on their smell. However, she also claimed that a seventh person who was actually part of the control group had the disease. Later on, this person was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so that Joy ultimately passed the test without a single error. To this day, scientists do not know how Joy Milne’s ability works, but they hope to use this knowledge to find new ways to detect Parkinson’s disease.
66. During World War II, Queen Elizabeth worked as a mechanic for the British troops.
67. When Great Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 after years of colonization, it was agreed that Hong Kong should continue as a democratic state with its own laws, its own economy and its own currency. However, this agreement will expire in 2047 and China will take full control of Hong Kong from then on.
68. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance formed between the United Kingdom and Portugal is the oldest alliance in the world that is still in force. It was ratified in 1386.
69. To keep away German soldiers from the British night vision technology, they spread the lie that eating lots of carrots helped British soldiers to increase their eyesight during night. A myth was born.
70. The flag of the United Kingdom is called “Union Jack”. Its design represents a blending of the English, Scottish and Irish flag. Although Wales is part of the United Kingdom it’s not represented on the Union Flag.
71. While the British royal system allows women who marry into the royal family to become queens, men who marry into the royal family cannot become kings. Men who marry into the family only receive the royal title “Prince”. This is the reason why the husband of the reigning Queen Elizabeth is only Prince and not King of the United Kingdom.
Read More: 42 Amazing Facts About India
72. Of the 195 countries in the world, there are only 22 countries that have never been attacked or occupied by Britain.
73. In 2012 a British man named Wesley Carrington bought a metal detector and within 20 minutes found gold from the Roman Age worth 100,000 pounds.
74. The official title of the British Prime Minister’s cat is “Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office”.
75. During the 18th century, you could pay your admission ticket to the London Zoo by bringing a cat or a dog to feed the lions.
76. Each year a lying competition takes place in England. Participants have to tell a made up story for five minutes. To be “fair”, politicians and lawyers are not allowed to participate.
77. Of all the countries that celebrate an independence day, 58 became independent of the United Kingdom.
78. J. K. Rowling – the author of the Harry Potter books – is no longer a billionaire. She has donated most of her fortune.
79. The constitution of the United Kingdom is not codified in one document, like the Constitution of the United States of America. However, there are a lot of separate rules and laws recognised as holding constitutional value.
80. The credit for the loudest burp ever goes to Englishman Paul Hunn, whose burp on 23 August 2009 was measured at 109.9 decibels, which corresponds to the volume at a rock concert.
81. The dress that Princess Diana wore on her wedding with Prince Charles had a 26 feet long train.
82. During the Second World War, British soldier Digby Tatham-Warter was known among his comrades for always taking an umbrella along into battle so that his own comrades could identify him better and would not accidentally shoot him. He even managed to capture a German car after stabbing the driver in the eye with his umbrella.
How did you like our 82 unbelievable fun facts about the UK? You probably knew already some of them but how many facts were new to you? Tell us by leaving a comment. We hope you enjoyed these facts as much as we did and if you are looking for even more fun facts you should definitely follow us on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or visit our dedicated facts section.
General Facts about the United Kingdom
Apart from be above listed fun facts about UK you might also be interested in some more general facts about that country. See them here:
|Total Area||93,628 sq mi (242,495 km²)|
|Prime Minister||Boris Johnson|
Last Update: November 23th 2019.