Here are seven things to know about England to coincide with the country’s annual celebration, St George’s Day.
- Great Britain, United Kingdom and England – they are the same thing, no?
The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
How ‘united’ is open to debate however, after nationalist Scots lost a referendum on independence last year.
Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales.
Ireland was historically part of the UK but declared independence in 1922, while a northern section of the country remained with London.
- The English ‘invented football’, they must be good at it
Whether the English invented the beautiful game is open to dispute, but the origins of the sport can be traced back to 1863 when rugby football and association football went off in their own directions.
It is perhaps this long history and England’s sole World Cup victory in 1966 that feed expectations the English are good at the sport.
But the facts speak for themselves: England’s ongoing wait for major silverware and its woeful 17 percent penalty shootout success rate.
England 1966 World Cup winners pic.twitter.com/b1zAQ6XL3h— Historical Football (@HistoryFootie) March 18, 2015
- The English are a nation of alcoholics
Whether it is footage of English football hooligans or their compatriots sunning themselves on a Spanish beach, a pint of beer is never far away.
So is England a country of alcoholics?
There has undoubtedly been a problem with binge drinking, but latest reports suggest there has been some success in tackling the issue.
A report by the World Health Organisation last year revealed Britain – not England alone – was one of the worst countries globally for heavy drinking”
- English cuisine is awful
“One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad,” said then French president Jacques Chirac in 2005.
It is fair to say English food does not have a very good reputation internationally, especially, it would seem, among the French.
But are there grounds for optimism? The trend over the last decade or so has seen British people spend more and more time in the kitchen, arguably driven by television chefs and their slickly-marketed cookbooks.
London has the second-highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, behind Paris.
- The English love to travel, they must be good at foreign languages
England has a rich history of travellers and explorers, from James Cook to Charles Darwin.
So with all that exposure to foreign culture, surely the English have developed a good knack for speaking languages?
Actually, no. Just 4.6 percent of British students were learning two or more foreign languages in 2011, the lowest level in the EU, according to Eurostat figures.
- Every English person speaks like the Queen
A recent study has concluded the British accent is the sexiest, perhaps giving weight to the idea everyone in England speaks just like the Queen.
In fact England has a huge range of dialects, from Cockney in London’s East End to Scouse in Liverpool.
- The English weather is always awful
Talking about the weather is a conversational ice-breaker for the English.
But is that because it’s so bad all the time, like everyone outside of England seemingly thinks?
Possibly – but the important point is there are big variations. In the Lake District in northern England average rainfall is around 1,500 millimetres, whereas in East Anglia, in the south-east of England, it is less than 700 mm.