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Facts About England, Feature

If you want to learn facts about England, look no further! This guide features fascinating facts centring on the country’s history, culture, cuisine and geography for you to learn about.

England’s most famous for its capital city, London, but there is so much more to discover about the country. From seemingly strange by-laws to cheese rolling, you’re bound to uncover something that’ll surprise you in this guide.

Ready to brush up on your England knowledge? Find 17 facts below…

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1. Winchester was the first capital of England

Winchester City Centre

We’re beginning this collection of interesting facts about England by uncovering some insights into the country’s history.

It’s a well-known fact that the bustling city of London is the country’s capital, however, it hasn’t always had this status! Over 1,150 years ago, in 871, the Hampshire city of Winchester was the country’s capital.

This came to be when King Alfred began his reign as King of Wessex and chose the city to be his capital. During the 10th century, all seven of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, including Wessex, merged to become England. This led to London becoming the capital and the new base for the government, thanks to its fantastic trading opportunities.

2. French was the official language of England for over 300 years


After William the Conqueror of France completed the Norman Conquest of 1066, French became the official language of England. However, the language was mainly spoken by noblemen, whilst lower classes spoke English.

French continued to be the official language of England until 1362. Historians believe that the country reverted back to being English-speaking due to King John’s loss of the French region of Normandy in 1294. This was encouraged further by the 100-year War against France, which started in 1337.

Despite this, French names were popular throughout England, with Richard, Robert and William still being common names to this day!

3. A handful of world-renowned scientists were born in England

Isaac Newton, English Scientist

Another intriguing fact about England is that it’s been the birthplace of several iconic scientists! Sir Isaac Newton, a household name, was born in Lincolnshire in 1643 and went on to write the laws of motion, gravity and the theory of colour.

More recently, Stephen Hawking was born in 1942 in Cambridgeshire. The professor is best known for his theory of exploding black holes which has revolutionised the field of astronomy.

These English scientists’ findings are still very relevant for science to this day, with their works being used frequently in education and the industry.

4. The World Wide Web (WWW) was invented in England

Tim Berners lee

The World Wide Web came to be in 1989 when it was discovered by Tim Berners-Lee, an English scientist. Berners-Lee began the project whilst working at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, and its main use was for scientists to share information with each other and institutes across the globe.

The WWW was used privately until 1993 when CERN released it to the public. It’s really flourished since then, and you’re using it to view this blog right now!

If you want to experience this historic fact about England first-hand, you can browse the first ever WWW website right here.


5. You’re not allowed to get drunk in English pubs

English Pub

We’re starting the Culture section of this list of facts about England with this surprising by-law: It is illegal to be drunk in a pub. The licensing act took effect in 1872 and essentially bans anyone in England from being drunk anywhere that isn’t their private property.

It’s certainly an odd by-law to have in place when the country hosts more than 35,000 pubs, all of which have the main purpose of drinking. Even so, it’s a well-intentioned act that aims to reduce drinking levels in order to keep people safe!

6. There is an annual cheese rolling competition

Selection of Cheese

The unusual sport of cheese rolling was guaranteed to make this list of facts about England. A unique event, the annual cheese rolling takes place on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester and has been done since 1826.

The event involves a 9-lbs, round Double Gloucester cheese rolled down a hill, with competitors chasing after it to the bottom. The first person to reach the finish line wins the cheese.

Contestants are often locals from the area, however, the event attractions competitors from all over the world. If you’re up for a challenge, why not sign up for the race? Please keep in mind that due to the fast pace of the race, the event can be quite dangerous.

7. The two most common baby names are Olivia and Oliver

Toddler with mum

According to the Office for National Statistics, the top baby names across England and Wales in 2020 were Oliver and Olivia. Oliver has held the top position for over eight years, whilst Olivia has been at the top for five years in a row.

Regionally, babies named Oliver were mostly concentrated in the North East of England and Herefordshire, whilst babies named Olivia were mostly born in the North East, especially in Craven, and along the South Coast of England.

8. English is the most spoken language across the globe

English language

Another interesting fact about England is that the English language is the most spoken language worldwide in 2022. Statista reports that there are 1.5 billion English native speakers around the globe.

The language is also the language of the sky, with pilots being required to speak English on board.

9. The most Instagrammed mountain is Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike views

Represent Clothing published a study in July 2022 where they found the most Instagrammable mountains in the UK. They did this by investigating the number of geotags photos of the mountains had on the app, and the top English mountain was Scafell Pike with 85,100 tags.

Across the UK Scafell Pike came in third place, with Snowdon sitting in first place with 168,000 tags and the Brecon Beacons peak of Pen y Fan in second place with 146,000 tags.

There was little doubt that a Lake District mountain would make the list, with the national park sporting a wealth of beautiful peaks. If you want to explore Scafell Pike yourself and snap a picture from the summit, why not give the Scafell Pike Circular Walk a go?


10. The national dish features Indian cuisine

Indian Cuisine

Commencing the Food section of this array of facts about England is the country’s national dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. According to NATO, the dish is England’s favourite, while Wales‘ national dish is Welsh Cawl, Scotland‘s is Haggis and Ireland‘s is Irish Stew.

It’s believed that Chicken Tikka came over from India and was first introduced in Glasgow. The Masala sauce part of the dish was added during the 1970s when a Bangladeshi chef wanted to match the British tradition of serving meat in gravy.

Indian cuisine has massively influenced the country’s dining scene, with estimating there to be around 10,000 curry houses in the UK.

11. Sparkling wine was invented in England

Sparkling Wine

It’s widely thought that Dom Perignon, a French monk, invented sparkling wine in the form of champagne in 1697. The BBC states that this isn’t entirely true and that an English scientist discovered and documented how to add fizz to sparkling wine 30 years prior.

The scientist in question was Christopher Merrett, who lived in the Cotswolds. If you ever happen to be in the area, you can head to the village of Winchcombe and uncover a plaque dedicated to Merrett and his wine documentation on Mill Lane.

Additionally, in the 17th century Sir Kenelm Digby, an English diplomat, was known to make the most ‘superior’ wine bottles of the time, with millions of his sturdy bottles being shipped throughout Europe each year.

12. Liverpool is England’s tea capital

Cup of Tea

Typhoo revealed in a Facebook post that a key finding from their recent survey was that people living in Liverpool drink more cups of tea than anyone else in the country! On average, Liverpudlians sip nine brews per day.

When it comes to the bigger picture, Statista shows that coffee is tied with tea as the nation’s favourite drink. So, who knows, perhaps Liverpudlians will favour an espresso over a brew this time next year?

13. The top 5 dishes are…

Full English Breakfast

Whilst Chicken Tikka Masala may be the national dish, England’s top five most popular dishes include:

  1. Full English Breakfast – The ultimate, fried classic that is bursting with a mixture of flavours. including those from tomatoes, eggs, sausages and bacon.
  2. Black Pudding – A blood sausage that consists of a mixture of pork or beef blood, cereal and fat. The English county of Lancashire is often associated with savoury pudding.
  3. Devilled Kidneys – This dish has ties to the Victorian period, originating from gentlemen’s clubs in London. It comprises lamb kidneys simmered in a spiced sauce.
  4. Eggy Bread – Inspired by French toast and believed to date back to the medieval period, eggy bread comes as it’s described! You can enjoy this as a sweet or savoury dish for breakfast/brunch.
  5. Kedgeree – This meal is the English take on an Indian dish, khichdi. It is packed with different flavours, including spiced rice, eggs and fish.

Want to find out where you can tuck into some of these culinary delights? Explore our England Eat & Drink guide.


14. The largest county in England is… Yorkshire

Sheep in Yorkshire Dales National Park

We’re continuing this guide on facts about England with a dive into the country’s geography. Taking up 11% of England’s land mass at 14,859 km², Yorkshire hails the title of being England’s largest county!

Due to its large size, it’s no surprise that Yorkshire boasts a large variety of landscapes. From the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and Moors to the flat greenery of the Vale of York; there’s so much to explore here.

The county is also home to a wealth of history, including two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Saltair & Salts Mill and Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal.

15. The South East of England is mostly flat

English Flat Countryside

England’s topography is quite varied, with the Lake District National Park being a great example of the country’s high elevation. If you venture towards the South East, you’ll find the opposite.

This part of the country is mostly low-lying, offering flat countryside with uninterrupted views. Some of the best places to experience these views are the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Cotswolds and Chiltern Hills.

The glorious South Downs National Park offers a stunning mixture of coastal and countryside sights, including the Seven Sisters cliffs. It’s well worth checking out!

16. England is very close to Europe’s mainland


The Channel Tunnel, also playfully known as the ‘Chunnel’, connects Folkestone to Calais. The tunnel offers easy access between England and France and stretches over 31.5 miles.

The tunnel was built in 1993, with the Eurostar’s handy services beginning in 1994. It’s the longest undersea tunnel in the world, with 23.5 miles of tunnel stretching 75 metres below the surface of the English Channel.

Thanks to the Chunnel, you can get to Paris from London in just over two and a half hours!

17. Wherever you are in England, you’ll always be within reach of the sea

English Seaside

Last but not least on this list of interesting facts about England is this intriguing fact about the English coast. No matter where you venture to in England, you’ll always be within 115 km of the ocean.

In fact, the location that’s furthest away from the sea is the village of Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire. The Guardian states that the quaint village rests 113 km from the nearest coastal point.

The seaside’s close proximity is great for those who live in cities, with London being a car journey away from many beaches.

Are you surprised by any of these facts about England? Learn more by browsing our England travel guide. If you want to experience what the country has to offer first-hand, be sure to book a stay at one of these England holiday cottages.

Image Credits: The Public Domain ReviewPublic Domain Mark 1.0; ITU PicturesCC BY 2.0

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