Are you ready to hop across the pond and learn about England? Get to know the country of Shakespeare and scones with these fun facts about England.
Basic Facts About England
England is located on the island of Great Britain. It borders Wales to the east and Scotland to the north.
A narrow strip of water called the English Channel separates England from mainland Europe.
England has a population of 53 million people. It has no government of its own but is part of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom’s capital is in England; it is the city of London. It is a constitutional monarchy whose head of state is a king or queen and whose head of government is a prime minister.
The flag of the United Kingdom is nicknamed the “Union Jack.” It is a large red cross edged with white on a field of blue. It has 4 red stripes radiating from the cross to the corners.
Now that you know some basic facts, let’s move on to some fun facts about England!
1. In England, Most People Fancy a Cuppa
“Fancy a cuppa?” is slang for “Would you like a cup of tea?” In England, the answer is most certainly yes!
The English love their tea. Most everyone drinks at least one cup per day. The English drink 100 million cups of tea every year!
2. You Probably Know the Tune of “God Save the King/Queen.”
The national anthem of Great Britain is “God Save the King (or Queen).” The title changes based on who is leading the country.
The song was written in 1745 and played at the end of every performance at the Theatre Royal in London. It quickly grew in popularity.
You likely know the tune of this song if you are American, since it is the same tune as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
3. If You Use a Pencil, You Can Thank England
Before 1565, pencils were made from writing with silver or lead. Silver did not write darkly; lead is poisonous, so neither were ideal writing instruments!
All that changed when a large repository of graphite was discovered in 1565 in Cambria, England. At the time, people thought it was a form of lead.
To this day, it is the best natural store of graphite in the world, being both pure and solid.
Because graphite was softer than lead, it required a casing of wood to keep it from snapping. Thus the modern pencil was born.
4. Stonehenge Is an Ancient Calendar
Stonehenge is a circle of enormous stones in Wiltshire England. Archaeologists think that Stonehenge is over 5000 years old and took 1000 years to build.
Every year at the spring equinox, the sun rises exactly over the heel stone, the base stone of the circle. Archaeologists believe that Stonehenge was a way to keep track of the yearly cycle.
It was a gathering place and ceremonial site for ancient people.
No one knows how the ancient people moved such enormous stones. In the Middle Ages, people believed a wizard moved them!
5. England Got Its Name from the Germans
In the 5th century AD/CE, Germanic tribes called the Angles and the Saxons invaded England. They liked it so much they stayed!
England is a shortened form of “Angle-land” as in “Land of the Angles.” There is even an area in England called Anglia.
The Germanic people brought their language with them. It’s called Old English, and we still use many of its words in modern English. Chances are if a word is one or two syllables, it comes from Old English.
6. Every Sunday the Menu Is the Same
In England, it’s tradition to have a roast meal every Sunday dinner. A roast consists of roasted meat (beef, pork, or chicken) served alongside vegetables like potatoes and carrots. There is typically gravy to pour overtop.
Another component of the Sunday roast is Yorkshire pudding. This is not like American pudding!
Yorkshire pudding is not sweet. It is made from baked eggs, flour, and milk. You top it with gravy for a starchy side to the roasted meat.
Is this making you hungry? Stop by an English pub on a Sunday and no doubt they will be serving a roast meal.
7. Buckingham Palace Has Over 700 Rooms
Buckingham Palace is a royal residence in London, England. The palace is enormous, with 775 rooms! This includes 78 bathrooms.
Buckingham Palace opens its staterooms for visitors during the summer. Inside, you’ll see works of art by famous artists, gilded furniture, and rich fabrics.
The Palace houses more than 100 people (they have bedrooms for the staff) and therefore has lots of things you would not expect. It has its own movie theater, pool, ATM, health clinic, and police station.
8. The Sport of Cricket Was Invented in England
Cricket is a sport similar to American baseball (but it has a lot more rules!).
It was invented in the 1600s by shepherds who were looking for ways to pass time while guarding the sheep.
The shepherds rolled the first cricket ball out of wood.
Today the cricket ball is made from a core of cork with twine wrapped around it, all encased in a leather shell. It has a seam of raised stitched along it.
The cricket bat is made of the wood of the White Willow tree.
The wood is quite light, which makes the bat (which is more like a flattened paddle) easier to swing.
9. Winston Churchill Had a Larger Than Life Personality
Winston Churchill is one of modern-day England’s most well-known figures. He was prime minister during World War II and famously said:
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.Winston Churchill
You never saw this bulldog of a man without a cigar dangling from his mouth. He was blunt and spoke his mind.
An interesting fact about Winston Churchill is that while staying at the White House in Washington DC, he claimed to have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln wandering the halls.
10. You Can Try to Catch the Cheese
In Gloucester, England, every year there is a cheese rolling competition. A 7-9 pound wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill.
After a one-second headstart, competitors race down after the cheese. The hill is steep, and more than one person tumbles down.
The first person to cross the finish line wins the cheese.
Does someone ever catch the cheese? They try! But the cheese has a headstart, and it can reach over 70 miles an hour as it rolls.
Read More About England
Did these fun facts about England whet your appetite to learn more? Check out these books on merry old England!
This book is packed with full-color photographs and fun facts for kids in upper elementary and middle school.
This travel guide for kids explains all the weird and wonderful places to visit in London, one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
If you are an adult or a high schooler, you may appreciate this history of England. It goes all the way back to ancient times and stretches to WWII.