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You Can’t Spend Summer in Britain Without Experiencing These 9 Things

Image representing spending summer in Britain

The UK is famous for having terrible weather, so when the sun comes out – even for a few days – everyone gets very excited! If you’re currently living in the UK, or you’re visiting Britain this summer, here are nine traditions and habits that you are guaranteed to see for yourself.

1. Barbeques (BBQs)

The second a tiny bit of sunshine comes out, everyone in the whole country rushes out to buy a disposable barbeque, or runs to the shed to find the dusty old one they haven’t used since last year. In fact in the UK, you usually know summer has begun because you can smell the smoke, before you even step outside!

Within hours of the weather getting warmer, the supermarkets have all sold out of BBQs and charcoal, and everyone is out in the garden, on the roof or in the local park, cooking sausages and burgers over their tiny little fires.

2. Going Shirtless

Visitors from warmer countries are often shocked to see that the moment the temperature goes above 18 degrees Celsius, many British men take off their tops and shirts in public, while British women rush to the nearest patch of grass in bikini tops, desperate to soak up as much sun as they possibly can before it goes back behind the clouds!

3. Endless Picnics

Officially, most public parks and other open areas have a “no barbeque” rule – which most Brits ignore when the sun comes out. However, you are allowed to bring cold food, so you’re just as likely to see big groups of people sitting on the grass having picnics. Picnic snacks usually include simple cold foods that are easy to share, like bread, crisps, dips, cheeses, olives and quiche. Oh, and lots and lots of beer or wine.

4. Music Festivals

No British summer is complete without at least one music festival. The most famous one in the UK is Glastonbury Festival – people come from all over the world to see the famous bands and tickets often sell out in hours, months before the event.

Most visitors camp in tents for the whole three days, though, and because it’s in England, it usually rains at some point, turning the whole venue into a huge muddy mess.

5. Crowds in Pub Gardens

No one in the UK wants to waste a second of sunshine and any pub that has a beer garden immediately becomes the most popular place on Earth during the British summer! Expect to see everyone squeezed into a tiny space, even if it’s horrible, sharing tables and following the sun around until it’s gone.

6. Running for the Ice Cream Van

Vans that drive around selling ice creams are part of every Brit’s childhood. The traditional favourite is a 99, which is a “Mr Whippy” (thick white gloop that comes out of a machine onto a bad quality wafer cone), with a chocolate Flake bar stuck in it. They used to cost 99p, but now they cost much more, so expect your British friends to get very excited about buying one, then angry about the price, and then disappointed when they remember that they don’t actually taste very nice. Don’t ask why…

7. Pimms O’Clock!

This is the most English of all English drinks (don’t bother trying to get it in Scotland), and an essential part of summer. In a jug, you mix a spirit called Pimm’s with lemonade, ice cubes, fresh mint and chopped fruit that always includes strawberries and cucumber. English people go crazy for it and most pubs sell it during the summer months.

8. Fish & Chips on the Beach

As an island, Britain is surrounded by coastline, but it’s rarely warm enough to enjoy the beach. On sunny days, trains and motorways are packed with people heading to the seaside, and beaches fill up with people eating deep-fried fish in batter, with chunky potato chips in salt and vinegar, out of paper bags. It tastes like a heart attack, but it’s delicious.

9. Complaining as Soon as the Sun Comes Out

After complaining all year about the cold and rain, 10 minutes after the sun comes out, everyone whines that it’s too hot! UK news is full of stories about “heatwaves” every time we have a few sunny days in a row – and everyone starts to panic. Of course, the moment it starts raining again, everyone will complain even more!

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