Bright Side

17 Things That Make Great Britain So Different From the Rest of the World

Great Britain is surrounded by many secrets and legends that can confuse, not only tourists, but the British people themselves. Do you know what characters Prince Harry and Prince William played in Star Wars? What is the connection between the British Queen and Dracula? Why are Britney Spears’ songs used by the military as an effective way to fight against pirates?

We at Bright Side have found some mind-blowing facts about the United Kingdom that’ll shock just about anyone.

Buckingham Palace is built on the site of an old brothel.

Buckingham Palace was built on the site of a house that was a brothel. Now, the palace has more than 700 rooms: 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.

Queen Elizabeth II is a distant relative of Dracula.

Recently, it was found that there is a connection between the royal family and Vlad Dracula, a nobleman of the 15th century whose actions gave birth to the legends about vampires. It is believed that Mary of Teck, grandmother of Elizabeth II was a distant relative of one of the 2 sons of Dracula.

Slavery in Great Britain wasn’t officially banned until 2010.

The slave trade was canceled and made illegal in the 19th century, however, before April 2010, there was no law in Great Britain that would make forced labor illegal. So, Saeeda Khan, a woman from North London, was the first to be convicted under this law when a jury found her guilty of trafficking a Tanzanian woman into the country to work as her domestic slave.

Prince Harry and Prince William took part in shooting Star Wars.

Staff from a famous movie company revealed that the princes took part in the shooting of Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi when they visited the movie set in London in 2016. Harry and William played the parts of the famous stormtroopers, elite warriors of the Galactic Empire.

One of the monarchs had a pet — a white bear that lived on the bank of the Thames.

King Henry III had a white bear he got as a gift from the King of Norway. The animal was kept in London Tower and was allowed to swim in the Thames where it could catch some fish.

The “underground” could have become a place for water transportation.

London was the first city where there was a subway. In the beginning, the tunnels under the ground were supposed to be partially flooded to make it possible for small ships with passengers to travel, but in the end, they decided to build underground railways.

Birds made London go back in time.

This clock started working in 1859. The tower with the clock and the bell is actually called the Elizabeth Tower (before 2012, it was called St. Stephen’s Tower). And the bell (Big Ben) got its name after Benjamin Hall, the British manager of the factory who oversaw the installation of the bell. The tower survived about a dozen attacks from German bombers during World War II. However, in 1949, a flock of birds sat down on the minute hand which caused the clock to go 5 minutes behind schedule.

In Wales, traditional Christmas costumes look scary.

Since 1800, there has been an unusual Christmas tradition in South Wales. A person is dressed in a white robe and given a stick with a horse skull. The person wears this costume around town, sings songs, and collects treats.

If you go to the movies on Sunday, you might be fined.

According to a still-functioning old law in Northern Ireland, it is prohibited to visit movie theaters on Sundays. You may get a fine of £50 if the local police are in a bad mood.

Even the locals can’t memorize the exact name of one of their villages.

Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch is the longest name of a town/village in the world. It is a village in Wales. However, the name doesn’t follow the traditional Welsh rule for creating names, it was created just to attract and entertain tourists. It can be translated as “The church of St. Mary of the pool of the white hazels near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.”

There are more Indian restaurants in London than in the biggest cities of India.

More and more inhabitants of London prefer to eat at cafes and restaurants that offer cuisine from other countries. So, at the moment, there are more Indian restaurants in the capital of England that in the biggest cities of India, like Mumbai or New Delhi. And some of the popular dishes among the British people that are offered by these places (for example, tikka masala) were actually created in England, and nobody really makes them in India.

The military uses Britney Spears’ songs as weapons.

According to the military, hits of the pop-star like Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time were successfully used by British officers in their attempts to scare away pirates near the east coast of Africa. Britney’s songs were chosen by a team of military experts, because they know that Somali pirates hate Western culture and Britney’s songs are the brightest example of the propaganda of American values. As soon as they heard the voice of the famous singer, they decided to not approach the military ship.

In London, there is a memorial for people that died for a sandwich.

The smallest sculpture in London is located on the front part of a building on Philpot Lane. It shows 2 mice fighting for a piece of cheese. The story behind this tiny sculpture is actually tragic. At the time the building was being constructed, 2 builders got into a fight blaming each other over the disappearance of a cheese sandwich. The scaffolding they were on broke and buried both men. But later, it was discovered that neither of them had eaten the sandwich, as it had just been eaten by a mouse.

In the UK, you can rent friends that will mourn you.

It would cost you £45 an hour to hire professional actors in England, to act as if they were friends of the deceased, and they will express their grief in a very emotional way.

Farmers made up soccer.

According to an ancient legend, soccer was accidentally made up by Anglo-Saxon farmers that found the skull of a Dutch warrior in a field. In order to express their aversion to the Dutch and have some fun, the farmers started kicking the skull and even created a name for the new game, “kicking a Dutch head.”

English people don’t wash off the detergent when they do the dishes.

In her YouTube video, Jenny Mamedova discusses some of the strange things about the lives of British people that she’s noticed. One of them is that they don’t actually wash off the detergent after they do the dishes. They just take them out from the sink and leave them “as is” with the leftovers of the detergent still on them. “A friend of mine, when she first saw the way they do the dishes, asked, “Why? Why do you do this? This is harmful and you eat it later!” The English lady answered, “My mom did this all the time and I’ve been doing this my whole life. We are alive, healthy, and we feel great.”

There are separate taps for hot and cold water.

A user that has a YouTube blog called “Immigrant’s notes” shared his observations about life in Great Britain. One of them is about pipes, where he says, “I know there must have been a reason why they had different taps, but why does this still happen in the modern world? A tap for cold water and a tap for hot water in new apartment... This is really annoying! I have no idea why they do it now. They have one tap in the kitchen but not in the bathroom!”

If you had a chance to meet Queen Elizabeth II in person, what would you say to her? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below.