Having a cup of tea is a typically British thing to do, claims study
Having a cup of tea is a typically British thing to do, claims study

The top 40 typically British traits, according to research

Some people felt more comfortable expressing British pride before Brexit referendum

Gemma Francis
Monday 25 March 2019 15:26

Having a barbecue as soon as the sun comes out, shouting ‘wahey’ when someone spills a drink in the pub - and being proud of where you are from are among things which make people typically British, according to a survey.

Research carried out among 2,000 adults revealed the top 40 typically British traits, which include having a stiff upper lip, being tolerant and being culturally aware.

Other classic British activities are dunking biscuits in tea, talking about the weather and saying sorry too frequently.

The study was commissioned by Sky Arts to launch Art 50, where 50 artists have created pieces to show what it means to be British.

The results also identified differences between generations.

More than half of those over 60 see putting the kettle on in a crisis as typically British, compared to just 36 per cent of millennials.

And while 42 per cent of pensioners consider it British to be proud of where you are from, just 19 per cent of younger adults agree.

Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “As a nation, there are various traits and activities which people believe define Britishness.

“But many people think this definition is changing over time, especially thanks to the Brexit referendum and our exit from the EU.

“There is so much which is great about Great Britain, but the country is constantly evolving, leading to a different meaning to the phrase ‘being British’.”

The study found talking about the weather is the most British trait, followed by queueing for things, Sunday roast dinners and putting on the kettle in a crisis.

A love of fish and chips, going to the pub and having a dry sense of humour are also thought of as typically British, along with good manners and not complaining about bad food in a restaurant.

But while 78 per cent of Britons would describe themselves as being typically British, the poll revealed that half think the meaning of being British has changed over time.

Almost one in three think the definition of ‘typically British’ has changed since the Brexit referendum and another 33 per cent think it will evolve again following our departure from the EU.

And 29 per cent of Britons do not feel they are able to show how proud they are of being British as much as they did before the referendum.

Despite this, 47 per cent are proud to be British, with another four in 10 saying they feel this way ‘a little bit’.

Meanwhile, a total of 13 per cent of those surveyed said they are not proud of being British at all.

But according to the research, carried out via OnePoll, while 44 per cent of the nation would describe themselves as British, 38 per cent would say they are English instead.

Just 20 per cent of Scots surveyed described themselves as being British compared to a third of Welsh folk and 37 per cent of those from Northern Ireland.

Anti-Brexit protest held by British expats in Madrid

In comparison, half of those in Yorkshire describe themselves as British rather than any other nationality, along with 49 per cent of Londoners.

Researchers also found that the Brexit negotiations have left more than one in 10 wishing they had voted differently in the referendum after seeing how everything has played out so far.

If there was another vote now, 37 per cent of those surveyed would vote to leave while 46 per cent would vote to remain.

However, more than one in 20 said they have no idea how they would vote while seven per cent said they would not vote.

It also emerged Queen is the music act most likely to leave us feeling proud to be British, beating The Beatles, Elton John and David Bowie.

Mr Edgar-Jones added: “Having received over 1,000 applications, the Art 50 board commissioned 50 projects from both established and up and coming artists, from all over the UK, and across all ages and art-forms, that get to the heart of British identity: Who are we?

"The series, which is being produced by Storyvault Films, really celebrates the diversity and creativity of our nation and we are proud to be able to offer our customers a series that celebrates identity in the wake of Brexit.”

Art 50 appears on Sky Arts every night at 9pm from Monday 25 and Thursday 28 March.

Top 40 signs of being British

  1. Talking about the weather
  2. Queuing
  3. Having a roast dinner on Sundays
  4. Putting the kettle on in a crisis
  5. Liking fish and chips
  6. Using tea as a cure/fix for everything
  7. Saying 'sorry' too frequently
  8. Saying please and thank you
  9. Dunking biscuits in tea
  10. Going to the pub
  11. Having a stiff upper lip
  12. Having a dry sense of humour
  13. Having good manners
  14. Sarcasm
  15. Eating fry ups for breakfast
  16. Being proud of where you are from
  17. Pulling together in a crisis
  18. Not complaining in a restaurant when the food is poor
  19. Having meals based on what day it is - like Fishy Friday
  20. Having a barbecue as soon as the sun comes out
  21. Holding the door open unnecessarily for someone when they're far away so they end up running towards it
  22. Wearing shorts and sunglasses the second the sun comes out
  23. Respecting our elders
  24. Moaning about our commute
  25. Saying ”right” before you're about to do something
  26. Being tolerant
  27. Being squashed on the train by a larger person and pretending you don’t notice when they are half sitting in your seat
  28. Shouting “WAHEY” when someone drops a drink in the pub
  29. Never letting your emotions get the better of you
  30. Putting ketchup on everything
  31. Uttering 'Aaaah' after taking a first sip of a cold beer
  32. Loving to hate the Royal Family
  33. Eating cucumber sandwiches
  34. Always clearing your plate at dinnertime
  35. Refusing to eat non-Heinz baked beans
  36. Being culturally aware
  37. Not swearing or using bad language
  38. Respecting LGBT culture
  39. Being open with your feelings and emotions
  40. Being supportive of immigration


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