England is famous for its pub food, UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Stonehenge and the Lake District, and the British Royal Family. England is also known for cities such as London, Liverpool, and Manchester, age-old traditions such as drinking tea, and being the home of football (soccer)!
But that’s just the start of it. Read on to step into English culture, discover landmarks, and get acquainted with famous English people!
Let’s dive straight in, beginning with the British Royal Family.
1. British Royal Family
England is famous for its Royal Family, headed by Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen is also head of the Commonwealth, which includes 54 independent countries, most of which were formerly under British rule.
The British Royal Family has been at the center of quite a few scandals and they’re still seen as somewhat controversial – helped by Netflix’s depiction in The Crown.
However, people still come from all over the world to get a glimpse of Her Maj, her Corgis or palaces.
Speaking of Buckingham Palace…
England is famous for its capital city, London, or Londinium, as the Romans called it. London is a concoction of culture, landmarks, and “anything goes” attitude. It’s by far the most sought-after tourist destination in England and the city is a symbol of all things “English”.
However, London didn’t get its nickname “the World city” by accident. It has pretty much always been a cultural hub and place of interest. People from all over the world live in London, and that’s why it’s able to boast so much excitement and variation.
Read more about London: 33 London is Known and Famous For
3. The Flag of St. George
England is famous for its official flag, The Union Jack. However, this “very British” symbol is just that: British, not in fact, English. The civil flag of England is actually a red cross on a white background, which dates back to the late Middle Ages.
The Union Jack is used as a flag for the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. St. George’s flag, on the other hand, is the flag of England.
4. Drinking Tea
England is famous for its love of tea – the drink, that is. However, in some parts of England, the word “tea” can describe up to three different things; the drink, another word for dinner or evening meal, or gossip!
However, tea wasn’t actually always a favorite in England. Before it was popularized, most people drank ale (beer) with their breakfast. Luckily, these days you’re far more likely to have a ‘cuppa’ early in the morning.
Tea Tip: The oldest tea house in England is located in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, and dates back to 1675. It’s called The Bridge Tea Rooms and is a Mecca for people who love tea and all things English!
5. Traditional English Breakfast
Speaking of breakfast, England is well-known for its enormous fried breakfasts, eponymously named the English Breakfast. It is traditionally served on weekends, often used as a hangover cure, and combines the calories of a full day’s nutrition!
But health aside, the English breakfast is both delicious and culturally significant. Most English breakfasts will consist of toast, hash browns, beans, fried tomatoes, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, eggs (scrambled or fried), and a hot drink.
6. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
England is famous for many landmarks, and quite a few of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They can be found all over the country, in every form and part of England imaginable.
There are 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England in total. Stonehenge in Wiltshire is Europe’s most famous prehistoric monument, and many flock to Yorkshire at the opposite end of the country to visit Studley Royal Water Garden.
Check out English Heritage to find other English landmarks you want to visit!
7. William Shakespeare
England is famous for many playwrights, but none has quite gripped the world and bored school children to tears quite like Shakespeare. Without him, we would never have seen Leo DiCaprio play Romeo, and what a tragedy (pun intended) that would be.
Jokes aside, many English theatres still hold productions of Shakespeare’s plays. You can also visit the famous Globe Theatre in London or head to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, to find out more about England’s most famous playwright.
Fun fact: Phrases that Shakespeare coined which have permeated everyday language include: the “green-eyed monster” and “it’s all Greek to me”.
England is famous for being the “home” of football, also called soccer. Although many ancient cultures played similar games, it was in 1863, Sheffield, England, that the rules were finalized resembling the game we know or play today.
Despite being a nation that is proudly “football-mad”, England has only ever won one World Cup title, and that was back in 1966. There are many famous English football players, however: David Beckham, Alan Shearer, and David Seaman among them.
England is also famous for having some fierce football fans; and it’s certainly true that when England play, the English come out to play too.
Infamous as English soccer fans are, it’s comforting to know that it’s always been part of English culture. In 1314, the Lord Mayor of London, Nicholas de Farndone, decreed that football ought to be banned due to chaos caused by players and fans in the capital!
9. Other Famous English Sports
England is known for being the “home” of many other sports besides soccer. Sports such as cricket and rugby are famous the world over, particularly in countries that previously had British rulers.
Other English sports include darts, which has been played since the Tudor period (15th century), and even bungee jumping! It might even surprise you to find out that games such as badminton, basketball, and volleyball also had some English enterprise behind them.
Basketball was invented as a result of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a British institution that became hugely popular in the U.S.A and Canada.
10. Pub Culture
No matter how tiny a hamlet, village or community might be in England, there’s one guarantee: it will have a pub. England is famous for its pub culture, which involves everything from ordering in “pints” to a need to sit outdoors at the slightest bit of sunshine.
The history of English pubs is actually quite fascinating. There are a few pubs in England that claim to be the oldest, but no one is certain which one it is. Be that as it may, there are plenty of pubs dating back to the 12th century which will still take your order, so be sure to “pop to the pub” on your visit!
Find out the list of the U.K’s oldest pubs here!
11. Fish & Chips
Even if you’re miles from the sea, you can always get your hands on some fish and chips in England. England is famous for its love of its favorite dish, fish and chips. It’s quite straightforward really: battered pieces of fish served with thick potato fries.
If you want to be really English, pour a ton of salt and vinegar on top of your fish and chips until they don’t taste like fish or chips anymore. (I say this in the most loving way possible. As a half-Brit, I am baffled that anyone can like the taste of vinegar. Best to try it for yourself!)
Also note that chips are served with curry sauce in the south of England, and gravy in the north. It’s a jovial but perpetual argument between northerners and southerners, try both!
England is famous for its city located in the northeast of the country, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
People from Newcastle are commonly referred to as Geordies, and they’re a very proud bunch indeed. That’s fair enough, considering Newcastle boasts some of England’s most impressive architecture, a 13th-century castle (where the city gets its name from) and many famous English bridges.
But Newcastle culture is what draws the most crowds. Whether you’re looking to watch an excellent theatre performance, football game, or experience crazy nightlife, Newcastle will welcome you with open arms.
Read more about the many things Newcastle is famous for.
13. English Accents
England is famous for its “Received Pronunciation” accent. You know the one – the one that gets people obsessed with shows like Downton Abbey. But that’s just one of many, and what some call a “British” accent is actually just one of hundreds (from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland!
But since we’re talking about England, here are some pointers: vowel sounds vary enormously in England. An ‘a’ can be long, short, inflected, or sound like any other vowel. We still argue about whether “h” is pronounced “aych” or “haych”. Scone can rhyme with “gone” or “tone”. You get the point.
One thing is certain though: a YouGov poll found the Birmingham accent to be “least attractive” of British accents (sorry Brummies!). But, take it with a pinch of salt. Over 60s found the West Country most attractive (63%) whereas it was rated as low as 22% by 18-24 year-olds!
14. Funny English Words
England is famous for its many accents, but don’t forget about dialects too! English people are always bickering about what the “real names” of things are, but the truth is, anything goes as long as it makes sense to the people around you. Let me explain.
The north/south divide is important here, but only in part. In total, there are 27 counties in England, and accents and dialects can even differ within a county. Some things apply to the whole country. If you “fancy” someone in England, then you think they’re attractive. A “mug”, as well as being a vessel for tea, means “stupid person”.
But other funny English words depend entirely on locality. There are 57 (!) regional names for woodlice/pill bugs in England. Among them; Cheese-logs, chuckypigs, grammasows, or even cheeserockers.
15. Robin Hood
England is famous for its legend of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, but sadly, it’s nothing like the Disney version.
The story goes that a young man stole from the rich King James and gave the money back to paupers in his native city of Nottingham, England. The legend sprang up after medieval times and was a byproduct of civil unrest and great wealth disparity.
Historians are pretty sure there never was a man called Robin Hood alive, in Nottingham, during the time the story was set. At least, there’s no record of him. Still, you can visit the statue of Robin Hood in his hometown!
Manchester is one of England’s best-known cities and it has plenty to keep tourists occupied and interested. Located in the northwest of England, Manchester could not be more different from London, all the way down in the southeast.
During the Industrial Revolution, Manchester was known for its mass production of cotton and the textile trade. In fact, bedding in Australia is still called “Manchester” to this day!
But it’s not all Victorian history. Manchester has produced more popular bands and musicians than any other city in England and is also home to the National Football Museum.
17. Famous English Authors
England is well known for its many prolific authors, and bookworms will certainly appreciate how many English cities have monuments, museums, and even houses dedicated to them.
The best part? They’re all open for exploration!
Why not go to Charles Dickens’ London townhouse to poke your nose around his study? Or if you’re a Jane Austen fan, you’re spoilt for choice; you can visit her house in Hampshire or the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, depending on which novel inspired you most.
But that’s just two examples. Check out these famous English authors’ museums and homes to get inspired for your next trip to England: The Bronte Sisters (Yorkshire), Agatha Christie (Devon), Lewis Carroll (Cheshire)
18. Chicken Tikka Masala
England is famous for its love of curries, and many consider chicken tikka masala a classic “English” dish. In truth, chicken tikka masala was the invention of South Asian chefs living in Great Britain. In the latest YouGov poll, Indian food came second as the favorite British takeaway, beating fish and chips for the first time.
However, the authenticity, flavor and spiciness of curries in England vary significantly from restaurant to restaurant.
Some curries have been made milder to suit traditional English palettes. Then there are some pretty experimental curry-flavored English favorites such as chicken tikka sandwiches and *shudder* chicken tikka instant noodles.
Stick to the real deal, that’s my advice!
Tip: In Manchester, you’ll find Wilmslow Road, better known by its colloquial nickname of “Curry Mile”. That’s where you’ll find the most Indian and South Asian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent!
19. Tourist Attractions
England is famous for its wet, rainy weather and Britons often laugh at themselves for being optimistic enough to book holidays at home. But we’re only half-joking.
Fact is, there are plenty of fun things to do in England whatever the weather, and the numbers speak for themselves.
I can also highly recommend a trip to The Eden Project in Cornwall which houses giant domes filled with tropical flora and fauna. You can also catch some headline artists who perform concerts there during the summer!
20. Sunday Lunch
England is also famous for having well-established traditions, and having a Sunday Lunch is one of the best known. Also commonly referred to as Sunday Roast, Sunday Lunch is another high-calorie but no-regrets English meal.
It consists of oven-roasted meat (or a vegetarian substitute, such as nut roast), roast potatoes, gravy, steamed veggies and Yorkshire pudding. Yes, it’s really called that and no, it’s not a dessert.
Yorkshire puddings are made from the same ingredients as pancakes but cooked in an oven. All pubs serve Sunday Roasts and many English households cook their own at home with their families.
21. English History
England is famous for its long, often dark and multi-faceted history. People have lived in England for about 800,000 years – since The Stone Age, in other words.
In 43 AD, The Roman Conquest set sail to Britain and conquered England from the Celts. Luckily, the Romans left plenty for people in our day to explore, from Hadrian’s Wall in the north to London in the south.
The Romans left England in the 5th century, and when they’d gone, the Anglo-Saxons moved in. They hailed mostly from Germanic tribes, and again, there are remnants of Saxon life in England to discover.
The Saxon Church (pictured above) in Bradford-on-Avon is one of the best-preserved sites. At the same time as the Saxons, though in the north of England, were the Vikings. They arrived in 800 AD. If you’re interested, York has a great museum dedicated to Viking history in England.
Lastly, The Normans took England for their own after William The Conqueror won the battle of Hastings in 1066. The Tower of London is the most famous Norman landmark in England.
England is famous for its many excellent TV shows, and after Peaky Blinders aired, the world entered into “Brummie”-Mania.
But Birmingham is known for much more than 20th-century gang warfare. In fact, that pales into insignificance when you remember that Birmingham is England’s second-largest city!
Birmingham has more canals than Venice, has the most young inhabitants of any city in Europe and it has 200 more parks than Paris.
While you can hardly say Birmingham is as picturesque as other European rival cities, Birmingham has a long, fascinating history, plenty of museums, and things to do.
23. Famous English Actors
What England lacks in sunshine it more than makes up for in great actors. England is famous for its many famous actors, both current and in the past. We see them so often that we take them for granted, but almost all movie genres have an English actor that we all recognize and love.
There are a whole bunch of names out there that listing them would be near enough impossible. Suffice it to say, we are grateful to Colin Firth, Julie Andrews, Maggie Smith, Kate Winslet, Tom Hiddleston, and Rowan Atkinson for their contributions to television and movie theaters!
24. Weirdly Named English Towns
So, many English people “speak funny” and don’t know a woodlouse from a cheese log. But England is well-known for some pretty weird town names too. So weird, in fact, that they’ve become tourist hotspots.
While they don’t sound too appealing, they can charm the pants off you with their “welcome to” signs. Also, they make for great photo or gift shop opportunities.
Would you like a fridge magnet saying “Upton Snodsbury”, for instance? Or a mug with “Boggy Bottom” written on it?
25. The West Country
The West Country is famous in England for a few things: lush rolling hills, country towns, sleepy seaside villages, and of course, cider drinking. However, that’s not to say there are no metropolises down there.
The name “The West Country” is an informal nickname to describe what was once called Wessex, one of the Saxon kings’ kingdoms. Bristol is the largest city in the West Country, though Exeter and Salisbury are also popular tourist destinations.
Also read: 15 Things Bristol is Famous For
26. English Musicians
England is known for its many world-famous musicians.
Again, the list would be too long to include everyone. Don’t forget that the bands alone have four or five members! The point is, there’s hardly anybody who hasn’t heard at least one song by The Beatles. Or The Rolling Stones.
There are plenty of famous female English artists too. After all, Geri Halliwell from Spice Girls wore the iconic Union Jack dress that everyone still wears to 90s costume parties.
Other notable names include Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Stormzy and Dire Straits.
27. Cute Children’s Books
England is famous for being the setting of many well-known children’s stories.
Authors like Beatrix Potter, A. A. Milne and Michael Bond couldn’t help being influenced by the English countryside and cities alike. It’s thanks to them, after all, that many of us know about The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Winnie-the-Pooh or Paddington Bear.
Beatrix Potter in particular was heavily inspired by the Lake District when she wrote stories such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and Squirrel Nutkin. Discover more about Beatrix Potter’s stories and conservation efforts by visiting the World of Beatrix Potter in the Lake District, Cumbria.
28. Famous English Inventions
On the surface, some of these inventions might not look like much. But you should know that England is famous for being home to plenty of timesaving inventions that changed the world – no matter how much we take them for granted!
In 1983, James Dyson invented the bagless vacuum cleaner. Stainless steel was also invented by an Englishman, Harry Brearley, in 1912. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was invented by two English guys called Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards.
And where would we be without Florence Nightingale? She invented the pie chart as an easy way to demonstrate contamination and germ theory.
And there you have it: 28 things England is known and famous for.
Of course, there’s plenty more to discover in England so if you have a favorite spot you want to share with fellow travelers, let us know in the comments below!