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What do you think of when you think of the UK?

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During class we asked some of our students what they thought of when they thought of the UK. They wrote their thoughts on the white board and it was fascinating to see and hear the connections they made with the UK!

We wanted to share what our students thought and why these things are so very British.

Fish and Chips

The dish originated in England, first appearing in the 1860s. By the 1930s there were over 35,000 fish and chip shops throughout the UK.  It remains an extremely popular takeaway meal in the UK, and a very delicious one too!

fish and chips

I love it that our students thought of clouds when they thought of the UK! It is true that our weather here very often includes clouds, but not always rain clouds!  There are 10 different types of clouds you might see here in the UK, all of them can tell you something about the weather and what might be on the way.


The English Pound

The pound sterling is the official currency of the UK (made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Our coins and bank notes always carry a picture of the Queen.


Mr Bean

Mr Bean is a beloved character from a sitcom of the same name. The show first aired in the early 1990s and became popular around the world. Rowan Atkinson plays Mr Bean and made him popular through fantastic physical acting, as Mr Bean rarely speaks. If you’ve never seen Mr Bean it is definitely worth finding!

The Premier League

The Premier League is the top level of men’s football in the UK. Founded in 1992 the Premier League attracts some of the best football talent from around the world. Brits are passionate about football and this makes it big business! 20 teams compete every year to be crowned Premier League Champions. Manchester is home to two Premier League giants, Manchester United and Manchester City.


The UK is home to two types of squirrel, the grey squirrel and the red squirrel. These clever little rodents, known for their big bushy tails, are often seen in the trees and wooded areas of the UK. Although they are generally quite shy creatures many squirrels have grown used to living amongst humans, especially in more urban areas.

The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II is currently 96 years old. This year she celebrated her platinum jubilee having been reigning monarch for 70 years.

Harry Potter

The world’s most famous wizard! Harry Potter featured in 7 novels written by JK Rowling which were then made into blockbuster films. Can you believe the first Harry Potter book was released in 1997! I must confess to being quite a Harry Potter fan myself and even visiting a book shop at midnight to get my hands on the final instalment of the series as soon as possible!


I’m afraid it does rain here in the UK. Not always, but it does. However the UK may have more of a reputation as a rainy place than it deserves. According to the MET Office (the people who study the weather) we have no rain on 71% of days in a year. I would still make sure you have an umbrella handy though, especially during the winter months!


William Shakespeare was an English playwright who lived from 1564 to 1616. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, is a very popular tourist destination in the UK. Shakespeare’s work is famous worldwide, his plays are performed throughout the world.


Puddings – yum yum yum! We do love a good pudding in the UK and we have a wide selection! From light summery puddings, to comforting warm puddings, we love them all! Personally I enjoy nothing more than a delicious, warm bread and butter pudding during the autumn months!

The Beatles

The Beatles are regarded as one of the most influential music bands of all times.

The band was formed in Liverpool, UK, in 1960 and they dominated the music scene for many years to come. The 4 band members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Liverpool is easily accessible from Manchester. IH Manchester students often visit Liverpool to enjoy “The Beatles Experience” and visit the world famous “Cavern Club”.




We are very lucky to have so many green spaces in the UK. Even our biggest cities, such as Manchester, have beautiful parks right in the city centre.

Sherlock Holmes

Detective Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock first appeared in print in 1887 with his side kick Dr John Watson. They famously lived at 221B Baker Street. Holmes and Watson have been played by many actors over the years but most recently by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I am a big fan of the TV show and visited the exterior of the house used as 221B Baker Street, it was VERY exciting!

Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname of the great bell housed in the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. It is an icon of London and the UK. We all wait for Big Ben to ring in the new year at midnight each new year’s eve.

big ben
James Bond

James Bond is a fictional character created by writer Ian Fleming. Originally appearing in novels and then a series of films based on the books. James Bond is an agent in the fictional British Secret Service, code name 007.  The character is famous for his smooth demeanour, gadgets, love of ladies and witty one liners. 


People calling you ‘love’

This is one of my favourite things that our students mentioned! Someone calling you ‘love’ is a term of affection and you’ll notice it more in the North of England. It’s not just reserved for family and friends, our students mentioned that people will call you ‘love’ even though they don’t know you, which is true! It is just an example of the warm British welcome.


Pickles and Chutney

We love a pickle and chutney here in the UK! Pickling and making chutney is way of preserving food, making the most of produce while it is in season. There is nothing more delicious than cheese and crackers with a gorgeous onion chutney, hm hm hmmmm!

Chutney and pickle

When you think of British buses I’m sure you think of the iconic red double decker bus? In fact, British buses come in all shapes, sizes and colours in the UK! Millions of people travel by bus every day in the UK, we are lucky to have a fantastic public transport system.

In Manchester there is even a free city centre bus to make it easier to get around, how great is that?!


This is another one of my favourites that our students said. It’s one I wouldn’t have thought of! But bricks have been, and are still, used regularly in British buildings, roads, pathways and many other things. So yes I agree, we do love our bricks here in the UK!


English Language

And of course, last but by no means least, the English language!  Very often the reason why our students visit the UK in the first place. English is a rich and wonderful language. I am always in awe of our students taking up the challenge of learning a new language, it takes work and effort but it is incredible to see how quickly their English language improves.

We offer English lessons at our school in the centre of Manchester. 

  • General English
  • IELTS preparation
  • Private 1 to 1 lessons
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