GB: What Are Your Likes & Dislikes?

What are your likes & dislikes about Great Britain? You may like to consider transportation, the weather, food, the British, television, the countryside - in fact anything. I will just mention one thing that I like and that is the fact that the price you see is the price you pay. You don't get the nonsense that prevails in some countries where local state/ province tax plus a goods & services tax is added to a listed price. In the UK a tax called VAT (Value Added Tax) is nearly always included in all published prices.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

The people eat ice cream outdoors in the winter. They're nuts.

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
371 posts

This really has nothing to do with GB, Your reply reminded me of when I was with my family for a year in Germany. I took classes in German for foreigners at the university and, on 1 Nov., the nice young German woman who taught the classes warned us all to stop eating ice cream or anything frozen and certainly no ice in any kind of drink. Interestingly, the two Italian ice cream shops in town closed and didn't open again until the spring.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
1990 posts

I love that so many museums are free in London!

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1918 posts

VAT has to be included in the headline price for any goods or services sold to individuals. It need not be included if aimed at businesses.

A number of international hotel groups developed a practice of displaying ex VAT prices on their London hotels but this was dealt with a couple of years ago.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4389 posts
  • I like the breakfast!
  • I like that they never let the weather stop them--well maybe total floods.
  • i like the clean taxis
  • I like the public transit--except in the north and west of Scotland. :)

Pam

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
1076 posts

I like virtually everything about Great Britain! We so far have always rented a car, so transportation is great for us. We love the food - I think Great Britain still has a bad reputation with some people about its food, but it's come a long way and is really good. We love the people - they are so friendly and helpful. We always go into the countryside which is beautiful. We are totally taken with British history and there are so many places to see. Even things that are not considered top tier sites are fascinating. It's just wonderful to be there and suck in the atmosphere. It's one of our favorite places. We have on a couple occasions run into weather that hasn't been ideal, but it's not a problem - we're prepared for whatever presents itself.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1450 posts

The relative orderliness of everything.
People are generally polite even if they are not feeling that way on the inside.
Cream tea every day if I want it.
Full English breakfast.
Trying to pin down where people are from in England based on their accent.
Indian food.
The history that exists everywhere you go.
BBC.
The fact that there are still vast stretches of countryside between cities and towns.
Crazy crisp flavors.
Good steak and ale pie.
The weather that varies from minute to minute.
The above are all likes by the way...
Dislikes -
Clothes dryers...where are they??? I hate drying my clothes on a little wire rack.
Some home interiors I have stayed in are damp and musty.
That's about it! There are very few things I dislike about England!

Posted by Jill
Boulder, USA
659 posts

Likes:

The Underground
Cider on tap
That you don't need a car in or near London
Seeing all of the historical things I've read about
LIstening to Brits talk

Dislikes:
Full English Breakfast - just can't get used to tomatoes and baked beans for breakfast:)
That I can't spend more time there:(

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1305 posts

Krispy Kreme at Waterloo - come on, the closest one to where we live is thousands of miles away...the only time I get Krispy Kreme is in England...lol. Oh - and Thornton's fudge - I have 8 packages coming home with me that my sister bought as a swap for sending over deodorant because she hates the deod selection in UK. Ten deodorants! She has enough for 4 years or so now...lol.

I do love the free museums, the great transportation system - the tube, the buses, the trains - and yes - the price you see is what you pay (unlike here in good ol NS where you get another 15% added to it - we have to adopt that practice here)...the 'keep to the right' on escalators - again, we have to adopt that here in NS. The history...the buildings, the old and new architecture...how they embrace amazing new buildings instead of trying to keep everything the same.

Dislikes - I guess as much as I like the Tube - getting on one crammed with people isn't fun (tho it isn't fun anywhere) and the parking willy-nilly facing any direction (as opposed to all the cars facing the same direction) - that always throws me when we go to visit my sister in Portsmouth - and - for her anyway - people don't seem to respect the not blocking in cars in driveways - she's turned the air blue a few times when she's gone out and some bugger has parked partially across her driveway making it all but impossible for her to get her car out... 'The Slug and Lettuce' - really - who names a restaurant that?!? But, we did eat there after mocking the name, and if I recall, we liked it.

Six days from now I'll be in London - YAY!!

Posted by harleydonski
Hampshire, England.
272 posts

"Dislikes -
Clothes dryers...where are they??? I hate drying my clothes on a little wire rack.
Some home interiors I have stayed in are damp and musty."

If you mean electric clothes dryers, I gather that a lot of holiday rentals have washer/driers, which from what I read are not that efficient (or people don't know how to use them). I have a separate washer and drier which are a lot better but only use the drier when its' wet outside (or threatening to rain) as energy costs are a lot more than they are in the States, maybe why you find more wire racks than driers.

Posted by harleydonski
Hampshire, England.
272 posts

"and the parking willy-nilly facing any direction (as opposed to all the cars facing the same direction) - that always throws me when we go to visit my sister in Portsmouth - and - for her anyway - people don't seem to respect the not blocking in cars in driveways - she's turned the air blue a few times when she's gone out and some bugger has parked partially across her driveway making it all but impossible for her to get her car out..."

That was the main reason I moved out of Pompey after 33 years (OK the divorce may have had something to do with it as well). :-)

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2572 posts

The only thing I dislike about the UK is when a weather report is given for Northern Ireland no mention is made of the adjacent Ireland. Yes, separate country and all that, but you get a report on Paris so why, oh why not Dublin. Seems silly to me. Other than that my likes about the UK and London primarily are: Theatre ( the small ice cream cups you can buy at intermission make me happy), Black Cab cabbies, public transport, free museums and concerts, open churches, the plethora of lovely parks, window shopping, The Photographer's Gallery, Timeout Magazine, Barclays Bicycle Hire, the neighborhoods, the canals, the pot pies, the civility, the preservation of architecture coupled with innovative new architecture, the cleanliness of the city in terms of litter, nearly non existent graffiti, how food preparation has evolved over the years, the National Trust properties, Poppy Day remembrances, the importance of tradition, Pantos at Christmas, how the city shuts down on Christmas Day, the Royal Family, Eddie Izzard, Judi Dench, Graham Norton, and ABOVE ALL, the pubs.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

Now see, here in the East Midlands there is no blocking people in. Park on the road, park on the pavement (yes, all the way), park half and half, but no blocking in. Unless you count those on the hill who park on both sides with about enough room for wing mirrors on both sides gggrrr.

If we ever had to get an ambulance or fire appliance through I don't know what they'd do.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
1305 posts

Yes - I know a lot of the roads were around before the advent of the automobile ;) Of course over here, if the roads aren't that wide, they only allow parking on one side - the street my sister is on in Portsmouth - if you see someone coming towards you, one or the other of you had better hope you can squeeze over somewhere so they can pass, because with parking on both sides, there is only room for one and 1/2 cars.

When we were in Bath, we stayed at an airbnb and the host came to the train stn to collect us. Of course, he's on a one way street, and we got stuck behind the garbage truck at the beginning of the street and he lived halfway down...long story short, no way to get around the truck except to lurch along behind as cars are parked on both sides, after about 5 min, he pulled over and we walked the other 1/4 way to his house. I shudder to think if there was an emergency and large fire trucks had to get thru (even without the garbage truck).

And those tiny little washer/dryer combo things - I have no idea how my sister with 4 kids could not do anything other then constantly wash clothes, since when we visited, after 2 pair of jeans and 3 shirts, it was practically overloaded...lol. And then to take 2+ hours to dry (she uses a line or one of those indoor wooden thingies)... I can toss 3 times as many clothes in my washer (then on the line during the warm months) then into the dryer and dry in 30-40 min for the heavy items - that washing machine would drive me MAD!

As an addendum - my husband reminds me about the time he parked in the wrong direction in front of his parents house and about 15 min later, a cop went by, pulled over and was going to ticket him for parking facing the wrong direction! He didn't get a ticket at least. So the willy nilly parking def doesn't fly here in Nova Scotia! :)

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8675 posts

I don't understand faucets that don't mix hot and cold water - even new ones!

Posted by Warren
Castlegar, BC, Canada
219 posts

I love baked beans for breakfast, (and the drop-dead gorgeous female bobby I saw.)

Confused with street names that are similar, or change for a bit and go back to the first one a few blocks down. If I remember right, this was around Victoria Station.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1320 posts

Ditto Laura re the faucets. But I didn't think that was particularly a British thing.

Dislikes: Driving on the left. Beans and mushrooms for breakfast (OK for other meals). Heathrow.

Likes: Everything else, especially the people!

Posted by Michael
Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany
46 posts

there is a huge lot that I like:

  • culture and history (roman villas, celtic burial sites, brochs, castles, fabulous industrial heritage sites etc.);
  • the way the National Trust, Cawd, English Heritage etc. are taking care of it;
  • the gardens (from Stourhead over Kew to the "ordinary" village flower/veg/fruit gardens);
  • the pub culture, CAMRA;
  • single malt whisky;
  • the fantastic museums in London (and other cities);
  • Liverpool FC;
  • England beating Germany 5 -1 in München and 4 -2 in London;
  • cricket and snooker;
  • fish& chips,
  • the diversity of different cousine (and the people who brought them in from all corners of the Empire);
  • Smiths/Morrissey, Joy Division and the many other great contributions to popular culture;
  • the intellectual culture with people like Roger Penrose, John Lydon, Martin Rees, David Attenborough ...;
  • the NHS (not perfect but does a lot from the funding it gets)

and I guess I could think of a dozen more

Posted by Kay
Vancouver, WA, USA
415 posts

After our first trip last year, I can't wait to go back. Although we skipped London, we plan to visit in 2015. Mostly, we stayed in the countryside of East Midlands (LOVE this area - thanks Nigel!), Cotswolds, Bath, Wiltshire, and Kent. Our top favorites, besides the countryside/scenery are the people, pubs and pub food, and history - especially National Trust and Historic Houses properties. Least favorite would be the kinda-sorta 2-lane roads where cars park on one side leaving one lane for traffic both ways. One must hopskip and dodge in and out, hoping that the oncoming cars are as cooperative about letting each other advance. It's all doable. Keep calm and carry on.

Posted by Susan
Atlanta, Ga, USA
1547 posts

Likes:
museums, beautiful gardens, the pubs-especially the really old ones, ancient manor houses, the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, historic ruined abbeys, Tesco and Waitrose, the countryside, London Theatre, old churches especially in the Cotswolds, the forests in early spring, and so much more…all of this in England but love Scotland & Ireland also

Dislikes:
the faucets that hot & cold are separate, driving is a bit tricky, oversized roundabouts, too much "Pay & Display" parking

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3266 posts

Love most everything about GB... mostly the countryside and of course the cream tea.

Dislike... the full English breakfast... I even have a hard time watching others eat it... :)

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1759 posts

RE parking. We were told off by a policeman in New Zealand for parking against the flow of traffic. When we looked surprised he pointed out that the same rule applied in the UK so I had to look it up and guess what he was right! I bet if I did a straw poll most people would not know about it.

https://www.gov.uk/waiting-and-parking/parking-239-to-247

Posted by Erica
Minneapolis, MN
41 posts

My list of likes and loves about Great Britain would be far too long to list, so I'll offer one (tiny) pet peeve: I'm always puzzled by the lack of window screens on most windows! Invariably I end up getting bugs in the room when I need some fresh air.

Posted by James
372 posts

Britain (except for highland Scotland in summer), is generally bug free. If the odd bluebottle comes into the house, the free and easy way to kill it without using poisons is to keep an old window cleaner sprayer full of water in the fridge. Then, when one appears, spray it with the chilled water. This slows the blighter down enough that you can get him with a kitchen towel.

Posted by Erica
Minneapolis, MN
41 posts

I agree, James, it's not nearly as bad as the bugs here in the Upper Midwest, but I always seem to encounter a lot of them in York. But maybe the bugs there have heard I'm a good meal from the mosquitoes here in Minnesota. ;)

Posted by Rebecca
Nashville, TN, USA
1151 posts

Likes:
Great transportation; tubes, trains, buses
Great museums, London and all over England
Tudor architecture
Small cottages with thatched roofs
Small quiet villages in the countryside
Castles
Grand country houses
English Heritage and The National Trust
Roman ruins and villas
Stonehenge, Avebury, and other ancient circles (The Rollright Stones, etc.)
The fascinating history of England; all of it
Afternoon tea
Scones
Indian food
Canals and the canal boats that people live on
Little Venice/Paddington Basin/Regents Canal
The Thames Path
Pubs along the Thames with a river view
Walking trails/paths all over England

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4641 posts

I like all the things listed by everyone, but best of all my husband's relatives.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4159 posts

Likes....just going there, being there in London, the English tea, the full English breakfast, the Tube system, the helpfulness, courtesy, and friendliness of service industry staff, Victoria Station, Kings Cross/St Pancras stations, Paddington, pubs, free museums, public tranportation system, the Oyster card, British organisation, their use of language, its orderly and efficient nature, the Changing of the Guard, already decent weather in London by May,

Dislikes....overly expensive (London), rooms at B&Bs the size of shoe box (I've gotten used to this)

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1491 posts

Erica: re screens
The absence of screens is a European, not specifically British thing. It's something that has always puzzled me. I remember, growing up in Chicago, the twice/year ritual of changing storm windows for screens and the reverse. Therefore, I know that screens have been a part of life in the U.S. for more than 75 years. Why they haven't caught on in Europe certainly is a mystery.

On the other hand, there is so much to like about GB. I won't repeat all the things others have said. For me the outstanding quality is the humor and down-to-earthedness of ordinary people (not the stuffy upper classes).

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22015 posts

James,

A few "Likes".....

  • The people - I've always found them to be wonderfully friendly and helpful, with a good sense of humour.
  • The food - Some of my favourites are the full English Breakfast (without the black pudding!!!) and Fish & Chips with mushy Peas (accompanied by a pint of Guinness). In one part of North Yorkshire, the breakfast included toast that appeared to be deep fried. I'm sure it wasn't good for my cardiac health, but it sure did taste good!

At the moment, I can't think of any "Dislikes".....

Posted by James
372 posts

Many thanks everybody for your responses thus far. They have made very interesting reading.

Posted by harleydonski
Hampshire, England.
272 posts

"In one part of North Yorkshire, the breakfast included toast that appeared to be deep fried. I'm sure it wasn't good for my cardiac health,"

That would be fried bread (not usually toasted), has gone out of fashion slightly due to people being more health conscious but hasn't yet suffered the same fate as bread and dripping, not that you could call an English breakfast in any way "healthy". :-)

Posted by MC
Glasgow, Scotland
616 posts

Can't be a Full English with toast, got to be fried bread. And beans, must have beans, definitely a breakfast food. A Full Scottish has the beans but changes some of the other stuff.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

It's a pretty long list for BW and RNLI not to have shown up yet.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

fried bread is made in the pan with grease from bacon and sausage but not deep fried.

If I had anything for brekkie that was out of a fryer I would run the other way. The entire breakfast can be made on top of the hob.

Posted by emma
London
1096 posts

"Healthier" fried bread can be made by dipping the bread in bacon fat then toasting it under the grill, delicious!
A full English should always include baked beans but in my house they must never touch the bacon! Bacon is ruined by bean juice!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

It doesn't help the beans either.

You can have all my tomatoes (who started the abominable practice of serving chopped tomato out of a tin gently warmed instead of proper half tomatoes face down in the pan?) if I can have your black pudding and mushrooms!!!

Posted by MC
Glasgow, Scotland
616 posts

You can have the black pudding if I can keep the mushrooms and have both fried and scrambled eggs? And someone can have the bacon if it is that or two types of egg.

I agree about the tinned tomatoes.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
1320 posts

Note how the Brits have hijacked this topic to discuss breakfast options. I blame myself for complaining about the beans and shrooms earlier. BUT, see various prior posts about the people being the best part of GB. ;)

@Ed -- Please decode BW and RNLI. Normally I enjoy and somewhat understand your shorthand but this time you've got me baffled! ;)

Posted by richard
Yorkshire
432 posts

Royal National Lifeboat Institute.
All very brave volunteers and funded by charity.

As to BW.....I'm foxed too.
Quick rethink, British Waterways. The upkeeper of the canal network?
Resist Googling so far

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

British Waterways kept up the canals until they were dissolved last year.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution is made up of people with more than their share of guts.

Posted by MC
Glasgow, Scotland
616 posts

The RNLI is held in very high regard in the UK. Actually a sign on how high the RNLI is regarded is that it is also the volunteer lifeboat charity in the Republic of Ireland, complete with the Royal moniker.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

That's BW that was (very very sadly) dissolved, not the canals.

Posted by MC
Glasgow, Scotland
616 posts

British Waterways still lives! Under the trading name of Scottish Canals, it is still British Waterways (Scotland).

Posted by Mark G
London, United Kingdom
115 posts

British Waterways also has a successor in England and Wales - a charitable trust called the Canal & River Trust (known as Glandwr Cymru in Wales, I believe) is taking over from the previous government owned organisation. See Canal & River Trust for all the details.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

True, Mark G, but it isn't really the same. BW sadly missed.

Posted by Michael
Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany
46 posts

I forgot the most important:

Received Pronunciation! - simply heavenly, especially after talking a lot to people from the USA.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8862 posts

Likes:
The wonderful museums and galleries, free or not( but free is nice!)
The people
The streaky bacon, its meatier then what we have at home
The history
The ease of travel since there is no language barrier, you can always ask for help! ( even though some accents are boggling)
The countryside- beautiful

Dislikes:

The tube in summer, always way too hot ,air doesn't move down there( metro in Paris is much better that way)
Chips- I am not a fries person
The bread - ugh
The way the roads are blocked on sides by hedges so often you can't see the views unless on hill rise.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12356 posts

Dislikes:
The tube in summer

The Circle Line trains are now working towards all air conditioned. Others are following.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8862 posts

Harly when one gets to sample the breads in France, Italy and Germany , there is simply nothing to say about the bread in England( although we did find some nice bread in Ireland)

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
3319 posts

Dislikes:
- Bathtubs that only have the hand held sprayer and no place to hang it on the wall. I need a "real" shower in the morning :)
- Sinks that have separate hot and cold taps. Washing your hands at them means can mean a choice between near-frostbite or scalding
- That really soft "vanilla" ice cream that tastes completely artificial. You know the kind that comes out of a machine where they stick a Cadbury flake in it. I mean, England has wonderful dairy ... why does this fake stuff exist?
- Tube breakdowns or the dreaded announcement that a station is closed due to "a person under the train"

Likes
-Most everything else

Posted by James
372 posts

Picking up on some recent comments.

A massive new tunnel is being bored under London to take full sized electric trains which will be air conditioned. Read about it here:>http://www.crossrail.co.uk

The hedges often date from medieval times and farmers are discouraged from removing them as they provide a habitat for wildlife - especially nesting birds. They are one of the features that make the British countryside so attractive though I do agree, that they often block the view from roads or prevent you seeing what is coming the other way.

Some of you will have encountered 'ice cream' that is made from vegetable oil rather than cream. Ironically, the fake 'ice cream' is actually healthier for you (in most cases) as it does not contain the fats that clog arteries. It also therefore, less likely to lead to obesity.

Keep it coming folks! My post is turning out to be one of the most popular ever on RS. A pity we don't have figures for the number of views.

Posted by MC
Glasgow, Scotland
616 posts

That really soft "vanilla" ice cream that tastes completely artificial. You know the kind that comes out of a machine where they stick a Cadbury flake in it. I mean, England has wonderful dairy ... why does this fake stuff exist?

Lady Thatcher. Seriously, before she went into politics she worked as a chemist on the project developing it.

Posted by harleydonski
Hampshire, England.
272 posts

"Harly when one gets to sample the breads in France, Italy and Germany , there is simply nothing to say about the bread in England( although we did find some nice bread in Ireland) "

Well, everyone to their own, are we talking "sliced white" here, the cheap stuff that you get in supermarkets, if so I would agree with you. Personally I only eat granary brown bread as it's actually got taste and is a lot better for you than white bread. Have sampled the bread in the countries you name and they have their good and bad examples, the same as here.

Posted by arao
7 posts

Likes:

The people! Every single one I stopped for directions was unconditionally helpful, some even turned back as they turned the corner and made sure I was going the right way. I was touched!

The Scottish Highlands (breathtaking!)

Walking in Edinburgh and ducking into closes

York's energy

The Tube

The Thames bank views - both by day and by night

The Lake District's B&Bs and outdoors (Keswick in particular)

Indian Food

Dislikes:

The windiness of Edinburgh in the springtime

Veggie haggis (yeah, I know, but I HAD to try it)

Transport options in NW Scotland and NW England

Dirty hostels :( (anywhere, not just GB)

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1689 posts

I love everything about the UK, dislike American fast food chains

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4159 posts

to add to the "Likes"... putting HB sauce on the fried beans and the tomato in the Full English breakfast. Good quality restaurant options at the train stations such as at Paddington, Victoria,

Dislikes: as pointed out often above, hard to come up with something but one is the cost of sending postcards back to the US seems to keep going up and up, at least from 2009 to 2012, each year the postage increased.