Could You Live in Britain? Let’s See How High You Score on This Quiz!

WORLD

Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you want to live in Britain, then you're going to need to fit in. That means appropriate clothing, modes of speech, customs, etc. For example, if you're invited to dinner and they say, "7:30 for 8" they mean firstly, don't show before 7:40, and secondly that there won't be food until 8 p.m.

However, knowing all the etiquette may help, but it's not going to fully compensate for major knowledge gaps in the plain facts about your new home. It's not very practical to live in a place without doing a bit of homework on how its government works, how to get around, what places there are to go and so on. In the best case scenario, not knowing such things can simply mean missing out on some exciting adventures. Day to day, it may impact a person's life more seriously; for example, if you don't know that the Tube doesn't always run all night, you may end up stuck or paying through the nose for a 3 a.m. cab. In the worst case situation, things like not knowing how to call for emergency services can lead to genuine danger.

Are you ready to move to Britain? We're going to find out — and if you score higher than 25, you should get on that plane immediately!

Which of the below shows the correct order of succession to the throne?

The monarchy may not be the most modern thing in the world, but it's beloved in Britain so it's best to know how it works. Prince Charles is the heir to the throne, then his eldest son William. After William comes HIS eldest child, regardless of gender - this is a new rule for the new generation. This means William's children go in birth order: George, Charlotte, then Louis. As a brother to William, Prince Harry is next after all of them.

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What is the highest mountain in Britain?

Ben Nevis is in Scotland, and as a mountain over 3,000 feet, it is a "Munro". This means all the mountains of that size, for a total of 227. Some are quite hard going despite not being tremendously tall, and climbing all of them requires great skill. The Munros are in the Scottish Highlands, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

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If you wanted to go from central London to central Cardiff, what is your quickest option?

The Great Western Railway joins London to Cardiff, as well as to Bristol, Swansea, Penzance, and other cities in the west of England and in Wales. The nicest and quickest way to reach Cardiff, it goes through some rather unattractive industrial areas as it leaves London, then once it passes Heathrow, it enjoys a lovely view over some very charming farmland. As it gets further west, it really is quite stunning.

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Of what surprising type of car do the British own more per capita than anyone else in Europe?

The UK does not actually get more rain than many parts of the US, but the rain is very spread out throughout the year, meaning you can't quite predict when it will come. This means that a convertible really is a strange choice. However, the British love convertibles and buy more of them than anyone else in Europe!

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Where is the New Forest?

Hampshire is home to this forest, called "new" when it was created as a hunting round in 1079. It is a beautiful and protected park now, with wild ponies and very old oak trees. It is within an easy day trip from London, too, making it a popular place to visit.

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What is the average high in London in August?

London in summer is incredibly nice, at just 73F. It always cools down at night, even in a so-called "heatwave" (which is what the British call anything over 80F, much to the amusement of Americans). There is no AC anywhere because it is almost never necessary, but having a fan for the occasional day over 80F is considered wise.

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What does a pound coin look like?

The pound coin of old was a thick, fat little coin that was a gold color. The new one has a bigger circumference but is flatter and two-tone, with a silver middle and gold edge. It is apparently harder to counterfeit, hence the change. The old coins had a quite delightful "form factor" though; if you can hold one in your hand, then do, as they feel very nice!

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What is being connected to what by Crossrail?

If you've just landed at Heathrow, your best bet to get to Central London right now is the Heathrow Express. This train leaves every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes. However, it goes to Paddington, which is very central, but is on the northwest edge of Central London. If you want to get to the City to the southeast, it's what the Brits call "a massive faff". The Piccadilly Tube train is an option but takes 45 minutes, and you'll probably have to change. Crossrail will solve this; you can go direct to the City's commercial center at Canary Wharf.

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What do the following have in common: The British Library, London; National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; Bodleian Library, Oxford?

These libraries contain the brains of Britain, so to speak, alongside Cambridge University Library, Trinity College in Dublin and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. You have to give each one a copy of your book or periodical if you publish it in the UK. They each have a subterranean storage facility like Gringott's Goblin Bank, only cooler because it's full of books instead of just money.

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What famous contemporary of Shakespeare wrote the masterpiece, "Dr. Faustus"?

Marlowe was more famous than Shakespeare in their day, at first, and "Dr. Faustus" was absolutely ubiquitous in theaters. However, the Bard did later eclipse him. Part of Shakespeare's advantage was that he lived a long time; Marlowe died in a tavern brawl, though conspiracy theories say he was murdered for being a spy!

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Who wrote "The Canterbury Tales?"

Chaucer was a very successful writer in his day, as he managed to get paid by patrons to write his verse. It's in Middle English, which actually isn't that hard to read as long as you speak modern English fluently. Chaucer is also a good example of how a well-paid and flexible day job can be a boon to a writer: he wrote all his most famous works while serving as customs comptroller for London.

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What language or group of dialects was primarily spoken in England from around 400 AD to 1066 AD?

Anglo-Saxon is utterly unreadable if you aren't taught it; the text looks like a mishmash of German, Old Norse, and the occasional word that might be Latin. Some great works such as Beowulf were originally written in this language, the many dialects of which were the dominant tongues during the "Dark Ages" (which in some ways and places, weren't that dark) between Rome's departure and the arrival of the Normans.

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What should you dial to get the emergency services?

112 and 911 both work in the UK because the authorities rightly figured that tourists might not know what to dial. However, technically the correct option is 999. This is a holdover from rotary phones; the 9 takes the shortest amount of time to rotate back into place, hence it was the best choice for the emergency number.

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When did the Union of Scotland with England and Wales take place?

The Acts of Union were passed in the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1706 and 1707, making the two nations one country in 1707. There were rebellions and objections to this until 1743, when the so-called Jacobites were brutally suppressed at the Battle of Culloden. Highland life and the clan system were destroyed as Scotland was treated more like a colony than a partner. Eventually the relationship shifted to one far more equal, though there are still plenty of Scots who seek independence.

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When was the English Civil War?

The English Civil War took place from 1642-1651. This resulted in the king having his head chopped off, and Oliver Cromwell taking over. By 1660, people were pretty sick of Cromwell's joyless and dictatorial approach and replaced him with Charles II, son of the last king, in what is called the Restoration. However, the rules were permanently changed: Charles did not have sovereignty over the land. Parliament did. That is still true today.

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Who was the UK's first female prime minister?

Thatcher is a tremendously controversial figure in the UK today. Fans note that 1970s Britain had stagflation, over-powerful corrupt unions and power outages, which she was elected to fix; that home ownership rose hugely under her; that her government (unlike Reagan's) put a leaflet about AIDS through every door in Britain; and she helped win the Cold War. Her detractors note that she crushed unions far beyond what was needed, killed millions of jobs, tried (unsuccessfully) to kill the welfare state, instituted a poll tax and sowed the seeds of rising inequality that has led to today's politically absurd situation in the UK. Most Brits have very mixed feelings!

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Where would you find a Beefeater?

Beefeaters are so named as that was traditionally their diet, though they're officially called Yeomen Warders. They date back to 1485 and are the guardians of the Tower of London, a fortress that is a millennium old and contains the Crown Jewels. They have all served at least 22 years in the Armed Forces and earned a number of specific medals reserved only for the best. In 2007, the first woman Beefeater was appointed: Moira Cameron. They'll take a photo with you and they seem friendly and harmless, but don't be fooled by the fun outfits: they're incredibly badass.

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How many wheels does a Reliant Robin have?

A Reliant Robin was a cheap and absolutely rubbish car from the 1980s. They constantly fell over due to only having three wheels, with one in the front and two in the back. They were also basically a tin can. Fortunately, they didn't go fast enough to cause as many lethal accidents as you might imagine. They are looked back on with a surprisingly fond memory!

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What is the most northerly point in Great Britain?

John O'Groats is the mostly northerly point in Great Britain, though not the UK, which includes the Outer Hebrides and other northerly islands. The location takes its name from "John the large," though a local tradition says it is because a groat (a defunct unit of currency) was what you'd pay to get on John's ferry. Walking from John O'Groats to Land's End at the far end of the island is considered the ultimate in very British hiking trips.

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Roughly what is the exchange rate of pounds to dollars, over the period 2018-2019?

While the traditional safe assumption was that a pound buys 1.5 dollars, the exchange rate was depressed for several years by the uncertainty of the 2014 Scottish referendum, driving it down to 1.41. The day after the British Brexit vote, the pound collapsed, reaching 1.18:1 at its lowest point. It now hovers around 1.125-1.32. It's a safe bet that a no-deal Brexit will drive it way down, while a deal that the markets like will drive it back up.

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What is a welly?

A welly is a Wellington boot, so named for the Duke of Wellington, who became very famous for defeating Napoleon. Since then, "wellies" has become the catch-all term for rubbery rainboots. The most popular brand is Hunter, though if you want to really impress people and have oodles of cash, a leather Dubarry Galway is considered the creme de la creme of wellies.

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If someone says, "Ta", what do they mean?

Ta is a northern word that just means "thank you". It started "oop Narth" as they call it, but it is now all over the UK. The OED--generally seen as the top authority on English word usage--says that it dates back to 1772, so it's not a modern word by any stretch of the imagination. It can be used interchangeably with "thanks", "thank you," and the use of "cheers" that expresses the same sentiment.

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What is the name of the highway that serves as London's ring road?

The M25 is the most miserable road in the UK, and the widest. If anything goes wrong (eg a tire bursts, an accident occurs, or the weather isn't perfect for driving) it becomes a parking lot during rush hour. However, it's incredibly useful if you want to get to a totally different part of London without going through the city, or if you want to avoid the city entirely.

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Which of these is not a county that currently exists?

Middlesex is a county that has been gobbled up by London. London is a truly enormous city, though it's deceptively dense and actually has a lot more road surface than people assume. Middlesex as a county was abolished in 1965, and now you can just put "London" on your address if you live there.

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Which of these is something a person might mean by saying "Cheers"?

"Cheers!" used to just be a thing you'd say to celebrate a toast. However, now it means basically everything. You can use it for hello and goodbye, and you can also say it sarcastically or sincerely to thank someone. For example, "I know it's Friday at 5 p.m., but I need you to complete this report." "Cheers, boss."

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What is Britain's "second city"?

The second city is the place to which the government would decamp in an emergency, and Birmingham is it. It's the biggest city in the Midlands and very accessible to all parts of the UK. The locals are called "Brummies" and have a mild Midland accent that would not be hard for a foreigner to understand!

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Which of these is NOT part of a "full English"?

A full English breakfast includes the following: fried egg, toast with jam and/or butter, baked beans, back bacon, black pudding and sausages. It also comes with a lovely cuppa (a cup of tea) and some orange juice. It does not include any baked goods except for the toast. Those are what Brits call the Continental breakfast, because it comes from Europe.

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What is in a Cornish pasty?

A Cornish pasty is a very official designation, and it means the following: a pastry crimped on a single side, and containing chunky beef and turnips (swedes). It's a delightful little lunch, and a quality one is hard to beat on a rainy day. It comes from Cornwall, hence the name, and Cornish people are very protective of it.

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Which county is the home of the Bakewell tart?

Derbyshire is home to Bakewell, a town named for a tart instead of the other way around. A Bakewell tart is a splendid concoction of delicious almond topping over frangipane and jam, in a shortcrust pastry crust. The town is in the Derbyshire Dales and very beautiful, with a walkable historic center.

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By what nickname is the Swiss Re building known?

Swiss Re bank were proud to build their massive skyscraper in London in 2001, no small feat in a city that doesn't like to give permission for things taller than St. Paul's cathedral. The Gherkin fell prey to the British sense of humor, which led to a tradition whereby all new skyscrapers get a silly nickname and nobody calls them anything else. Thus London now sports the Walkie-Talkie, Cheesegrater, the Helter-Skelter, the Pringle, the Stealth Bomber, and possibly most galling to the architects, the Can of Ham.

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How is the BBC funded?

"The Beeb" is a treasured national institution, but it is a popular pastime to fuss about how it is funded. The BBC gets a "license fee" from all households that own a TV. It's regarded by many as a pretty modest sum but others say it is too high, or object to it on principle. It is unclear how changes in technology will affect it.

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If you arrive at a roundabout when driving, to whom do you give way?

At a roundabout, you give way if there is anyone to your right, if your entrance to the roundabout would mean they had to slow down. Knowing how to drive on a roundabout is very important in Britain, since there are millions of them.

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What notable watch company, believed to be Swiss by many, actually started in England?

Rolex started in England, where they made everything except the watchworks. They made fancy watches and bought the inner workings from a Swiss company. They later bought out the Swiss company and moved all their operations to Switzerland.

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In what year was the Magna Carta signed?

The Magna Carta was a document that forever changed the relationship between ruler and ruled: It said that the monarch was subject to the rule of law, instead of above it. It also said that that consent of the barons would be needed for the king's rule to be legitimate. This was signed between King John and the lords in 1215.

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Which of the below is part of the UK, but not Great Britain?

Northern Ireland is on the same landmass as the Republic of Ireland, and thus not part of Great Britain, which is a geographical designation. Wales, England, and Scotland make up Great Britain. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, however.

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