People gathered in a restaurant

Culture and Lifestyle in the UK

Language  

English is the primary language, with each region possessing unique accents and colloquialisms. As the UK embraces multiculturalism, a variety of different dialects – including Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, French, German, Spanish – are also used within smaller communities.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, the UK is a real hive of activity.

From award-winning theatre productions to calming walks through the countryside, the UK has something to suit everyone.

Regardless of how you like to spend your free time, there is always plenty to keep you entertained. Dining out, socialising with friends or dancing through the night are all options, especially in some of the larger towns and cities.

Naturally, when you’re away from work you may wish to explore more of the UK. London has many world-famous attractions to offer, but it’s also worth venturing out of the capital in search of fun.

The Somerset city of Bath houses Roman-built spas and is renowned for its natural hot springs, while the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales in the north of the country attracts visitors throughout the year. Further west, Cornwall, and Devon offer their fair share of wonder, and the Scottish city of Edinburgh hosts an annual comedy event that is certain to leave you smiling.

Eating out

When people think of British food, they immediately pick out traditional dishes like roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips, and sausage and mash potato. However, there are so many more options to choose from.

Britain offers some of the most delicious dishes in the world, with the types of food available ranging from Michelin-starred cuisine to tantalising street food.

Chicken tikka masala may be more closely associated with Indian dining, but this dish is a huge hit amongst the British population and is a perfect example of how the country adapts and absorbs external influences. The nation has also embraced dishes from across Europe, with Italian and Greek food proving popular, while Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Mexican restaurants are all easily accessible.

As the UK welcomes cultures from around the world, halal meat is widely available in city restaurants and is clearly marked.

Most restaurants also cater to vegetarian and vegan diners. When eating out, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10 to 15 per cent of your total bill however, this is not mandatory. Occasionally, this additional charge will be incorporated into your bill, so it’s always a good idea to check carefully before paying.

Sports & culture

Sport is a huge part of life in the UK. Many British people enjoy going to a gym or exercising at home, while sports like football, cricket, rugby, and tennis are very popular. Activities such as cycling and swimming have also witnessed a surge in popularity following the London 2012 Olympic Games.

However, by far the most popular sport is football (soccer), a game that was invented in the UK and remains the national pastime. Around one in five people play regularly, and there are facilities available in both rural and urban areas.

The UK is also home to the Premier League, the most-watched sports league in the world, which regularly attracts TV audiences from across the globe. If you want to attend a match, tickets are available online for between £9 and £97, depending on the team you want to watch. Be warned, though, these can sell out very quickly.

Climate

The climate is predominately cool and cloudy with regular rainfall, especially in the early and latter stages of the calendar year.

Typically, the warmest months are July and August, however, temperatures can rise in May and June. The average summer temperature is around 21°C.

Temperatures begin to drop throughout September and October before plummeting in January and February with average daily highs reaching no more than about 7°C. Frost and snow are not uncommon during these months. It is worth noting that temperatures in cities such as London are generally higher than in more rural areas.

Weather programmes on main TV channels as well as smartphone apps such as BBC Weather and Met Office are a common means of checking what the weather has in store in any given region.

Public holidays 

Most of the UK has eight permanent public holidays per year:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • Good Friday (Date varies – March/April)
  • Easter Monday (Date varies - March/April)
  • May Day (Date varies – First Monday in May)
  • Spring Bank (Date varies – Final Monday in May)
  • Summer Bank (Date varies – Final Monday in August)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)  

Find out more

Read more on getting settled and daily life in the UK. 

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