England is a country steeped in history and culture, with an archaeological record dating back to the early Neolithic period and beyond.There is so much to discover in this ancient land. You may know about its love of tea or the invention of the Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, but do you know everything about this magnificent country? We’ve compiled a list of ten interesting facts about England that you probably didn’t know. Read on to see if you’re a true Anglophile or just a pretender to the crown.
The Romans invaded England for oysters.
Despite having a rather questionable reputation when it comes to food, England has some particular delicacies. One of these lesser known local specialities is Colchester oysters.When the Romans first invaded Britain in 43 AD, they established a camp which later became England’s first capital. This was long before the days of London or Londinium as it was known at the time. Historians believe that one of the main reasons the Romans invaded the islands was because they couldn’t get enough of the delicious oysters and wanted to control the supply. If you want to try them for yourself, you should head to one of the seafood restaurants on Mersea Island. Or visit in October for the annual oyster festival.
London’s ice pits
Moving south to the current capital of England and Britain, London, we can find the second of our fun facts about England. The hidden ice pits that lie beneath Kings Cross station.In Victorian times, between the years 1840 – 1900, London was ice cream mad. It was a new craze and the city couldn’t get enough of it. It was quite a feat to get an ice cream at a time when there were no refrigeration units. He saw that everyone was clamouring for ice cream and found a way to make it available: he built two huge pits under his shop in Kings Cross, central London. Each was 12 metres deep and 12 metres in diameter. He could store many tons of ice that he imported from the frozen rivers and lakes of Scandinavia. Carlo Gatti died a millionaire in 1878, and you can still visit his ice wells in the London Canal Museum.
London has 40 abandoned tube stations
There are 270 active stations on the London Underground (or Tube, as it’s colloquially known). Like us, you may have passed through some of them on your travels around the city, but what you may not know is that there are also 40 abandoned and closed stations that still haunt the lines, silent and lonely deep underground. If you look closely, you can sometimes see one hidden in the shadows of the tunnels as the train passes.Stations have to be closed for many different reasons. Railway lines have changed direction over the years as extensions have been added. Many played a role during World War II as bomb shelters for Londoners during air raids. Londoners used Aldwych station to store relics from the British Museum for safe keeping. While Down Street station became the home of the Prime Minister’s War Cabinet.
The Queen of England created a new breed of dog.
The Queen of England is famous for the beloved corgis that have accompanied her throughout her royal life. She has had over 30 corgis throughout her reign.Pembroke Welsh corgis were the favourite dogs of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Catholic. However, when her sister, Princess Margaret, came to visit with her dachshund Pipkin, the royals changed both breeds forever. One of the Queen’s corgis impregnated Pipkin, and the resulting pups were nicknamed Dorgis. The litter included Cider, Berry, Vulcan and Candy, four Dorgis who would live with the Queen until her death some twenty years later.
Stonehenge is older than the pyramids
Stonehenge is as ancient as it is mysterious. The stone circle has great religious significance to the Druids. It is situated on Salisbury Plain, as it has been since Neolithic times, 5,000 years ago. How and why Stone Age man built it remains a mystery to archaeologists. One legend claims that Irish giants built Stonehenge by crossing the sea via the Giant’s Causeway. However, there is little evidence for this.
King Henry VIII imposed a tax on beards.
King Henry VIII of England, the Tudor King, was famous for his many wives and his long reign in the 1500s. In the history of England there have been many strange taxes over the years. Among them, windows, salt and candles. However, the beard tax of 1585 may be the strangest of all. However, there is plenty of documentary evidence of Tudor laws that laid down strict rules on dress. Luckily, no such laws exist in England today, so the beard-loving hipsters of London’s Shoreditch are very grateful.
All swans are real
The graceful, elegant swans that are the stars of every park and riverside in England belong to the Queen of England. They have been since the 12th century, and to injure or kill one of them could be considered an act of treason.Swans were a delicacy enjoyed by the wealthy at banquets and feasts hundreds of years ago. Even if a dead swan was found, it had to be handed over to the Crown, to someone known as the Queen’s official swan marker. Fortunately, today the species is protected and no one eats them anymore.
The annual Devonshire swan hunting festival.
You may be familiar with some of the more bizarre events that take place in England each year, especially the infamous cheese festival. However, there are some even more outlandish celebrations if you dig a little deeper. At Combe Martin in Devon, every spring Bank Holiday weekend, a man dressed as the Earl of Rone runs away on an extraordinary manhunt. This annual event re-enacts the murder of Irish aristocrat and supposed rebel Earl Hugh O’Neill.Locals believe that in 1607, Hugh was fleeing from the Queen’s Grenadiers after being shipwrecked off the Devonshire coast. The Grenadiers caught Hugh and shot him before taking him out to sea and throwing him into the water.Actors enact the whole gruesome act while the other participants get drunk and revel in large, colourful costumes. A very traditional English festival.
9. It has some incredible place names
The English have a wry sense of humour, and it may become clear why when you discover what some of the country’s towns and villages are called.Some are hilarious, while others are just plain rude. It’s important to keep an eye out when passing through the English countryside to see if you can spot a few on your travels.There’s Badgers Mount and Sandy Bottom, or Spankers Lane in Derbyshire to WhamBottomLane in Lancashire. There’s always something to keep you entertained on your journey.
10. You’re never far from the sea
England in part of the British Isles and large archipelago off the coast of Europe. It is not a very large country. In fact, you could fit the whole of the United Kingdom, that is, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, within Texas more than 2.8 times.So it shouldn’t surprise you too much to know that you’re never far from the sea when you’re in England. In fact, even if you find yourself in the centre of the country, you’re no more than 70 miles from the coast.
Be inspired by our facts about England
We hope our fun facts about England have inspired you to take a trip to the British Isles and discover for yourself some of its incredible history and culture. If you have any interesting facts about England, why not share them in the comments? Or, if you liked this article, take a look at another one on our blog.
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