Five weird British traditions that nobody really understands

Maddy McKennaon 20 April 2021
afternoon tea

Want to know some of the weirdest British traditions? Keep reading to discover the magic of tea and Colin the Caterpillar cake.

British traditions are undeniably strange. That means cakes in the shape of caterpillars and a whole lot of tea. Our peculiar traditions, from our queueing etiquette to having cheesy chips after a night out, are incomprehensible to those who just don’t get it. We could write a whole list of strange British habits, but, to keep it short, here are five of the weirdest traditions we know and love. 

1. As soon as there’s a ray of sunshine, we’ll crack open a beer 

If we even so much as see a glimpse of sunlight or the temperature soars above freezing, we make the most of the sun and get a little merry outdoors. It could be a park, a garden, even someone’s balcony - we don’t mind where we drink, as long as we’re out in the sun.

Whether you’re revising for exams or have a massive essay due, that golden glimmer means it’s your day off. Armed with a pack of tinnies, we Brits will use any excuse to crack open a cold one. 

2. Colin the Caterpillar is the elite birthday cake, no matter how old you are

Picture this: a 30 year-old man has a birthday get-together filled with drinks, dancing and a cake in the shape of a caterpillar… What?! Yes, you read that right. Traditionally purchased from Marks & Spencers (more commonly known as Marks & Sparks), Colin has grown quite the fanbase, and is now stocked in practically every supermarket in the UK. He’s even lucky with the ladies and has got himself a girlfriend called Connie.

Percy Pigs are just as strange - a vegetarian sweet in the shape of a pig. But, for some reason, they’re just so tasty. The product has become so popular that M&S have expanded the range to include drinks, sauces and more, meaning you can have an entire Percy Pig themed picnic, just in time for a cheeky drink in the sun.

3. We’re overly polite

Whether someone barges into you as they storm down Oxford Street or you bump into an inanimate object, particularly a mannequin, a Brit will always mumble “sorry.” 

However, Brits are also infamously known for never saying exactly what they mean. We never complain about our food and the answer to ‘how are you?’ is always ‘I’m doing well thank you’. 

4. We love our tea

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know just how much the Brits love their tea. Tea in the morning, tea when bored, tea before bed... There is a reason for the electricity surges during ad breaks, as it’s the perfect time to pop the kettle on for a brew.

And, who can forget about afternoon tea? It’s a simple, yet delicious, platter of sandwiches and cakes with a pot of tea. But, be warned, there’s serious debate on how to pronounce ‘scone’, so try to avoid that while you munch your way through the feast.

5. Pre-drinks are an essential part of life as a student in the UK

To save money on a night out, we Brits love to have ‘pre-drinks’, which means drinking before we hit the pubs or clubs. That way, we can start drinking earlier and in the comfort of our own homes and save some money on drinks at venues. This is a must in London, where a cocktail will almost set you back a week’s rent. Don’t forget the cheesy chips or Maccies (short for McDonald’s) after – it really is a wonder any of us have any money left at the end of the night!

So, there you have it. You’re probably still none the wiser on our habits, but at least you’re aware of them now. And, while we’re on the topic of all things weird, why not check out ten of the weirdest degrees you can study in the UK?

Maddy McKennaon 20 April 2021