Fun facts and trivia about the UK

houses of parliament fun facts about UK

Keep the kids occupied on a rainy day or a long journey with these fun facts and trivia about the UK.

North East

1. According to British law, it’s still perfectly legal to kill any Scotsman who enters the city of York if he happens to be carrying a bow and arrow.

2. Tyneside’s Angel of the North statue is made from 200 tonnes of steel, has a wingspan of 54 metres, and is 20 metres tall – that’s the height of four double decker buses.

3. Star Carr near Scarborough in North Yorkshire is home to what is believed to be the remains of Britain’s oldest house. The structure would have been 3.5 metres wide, and dates from around 10,000 years ago, when Britain was still joined to the rest of Europe.

North West

4. People from Liverpool are often called ‘Scousers’. The name is short for ‘Lobscouse’, which was a Scandinavian stew eaten by the sailors who visited the port. Local families adopted the dish, and the name stuck.

5. Manchester United have won the FA Cup more often than any other team. However, they’ve also lost more FA Cup Finals than any team except Everton!

6. You can view a very special type of colouring pencil in Keswick at the Cumberland Pencil Museum – at nearly eight metres, it’s the longest in the world.

South East

‘Big Ben’ doesn’t refer to the famous clock at London’s Houses of Parliament, but to the bell inside. The building itself is called the Elizabeth Tower.

8. In St George’s churchyard in Gravesend you can see a life size statue of princess Pocahontas, the daughter of a Native American chieftan, who is buried in the grounds. She was visiting the area with her English husband, but sadly died of a fever in 1617 before she could return to America.

9. East Peckham in Kent has a unique claim to fame: it’s where the first-ever speeding ticket was issued, in January 1896. Walter Arnold was spotted doing 8mph in a 2mph zone, but was easily apprehended by a policeman riding a bicycle.

South West

10. In 1886, Sarah Ann Henley threw herself off Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge after a row with her boyfriend, falling 75 metres on to the mud bank below. She was saved by her billowing crinoline petticoats, which helped to slow her fall, and lived on into her eighties.

11. The last ‘witches’ to be hanged in Britain were three women from Bideford in Devon, in 1682. There was no evidence against them, but other villages accused them of sending the devil to their enemies’ houses, in the form of a magpie and a tabby cat.

12. Athelhampton House, a fifteenth-century manor in Dorset, is said to be one of the most haunted places in Britain. Its ‘ghosts’ include two men fighting a duel, a black-robed priest, a grey lady, a cat and a pet monkey.


13. The one-and-a-half mile journey from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney islands is the shortest scheduled flight in the world. The trip takes less than two minutes.

14. Built in 1842, the Hamilton Mausoleum in South Lanarkshire has the longest-lasting echo of any man-made structure in the world – a whole 15 seconds.

15. In 1507 Stirling Castle was the scene of Scotland’s first recorded attempt at flight, when scientist John Damian launched himself from the battlements on feathered wings. Unfortunately, he crashed straight into a dunghill and broke his leg.


16. When it was built in 1286, Harlech Castle was on the coast. Today, it’s half a mile inland. That’s because the land the castle is built on is slowly rising, as it springs back into position after being weighed down during the Ice Age.

17. Bala Lake in Gwynedd is home to a rare fish called the gwyniad, which is found nowhere else on the planet. It’s thought its ancestors were trapped in the waters there at the end of the last Ice Age.

18. A cave in Aberystwyth was once home to the Crown jewels. They were moved there during World War II to protect them from German bombs, along with a copy of the Magna Carta and other valuable documents.


19. If you’re visiting Norfolk, watch out for jaspers (wasps), and try not to step on any dodmans (snails). The county has its own words for many things, including ants (pishamires), ladybirds (bishy barney bees) and money (kewter).

20. The skies above Lavenham in Suffolk inspired the song, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’. The words were written in 1806 by 23-year-old poet Jane Taylor, who lived in Shilling Street in the village.

21. The thousand-year-old Bowthorpe Oak in Manthorpe, Lincolnshire, is the largest living oak tree in Britain. It measures over 12 metres around the trunk, and 39 people can fit comfortably inside its hollow interior.

Northern Ireland

22. Ballygally Castle in County Antrim is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw, who knocks on doors at night and then disappears. Legend has it that Lady Isobel was locked in her room by her husband and starved, until she leapt to her death from a window.

23. Northern Ireland has more young people than anywhere else in the UK. Children under 16 make up nearly a quarter of the population.

24. Northern Ireland’s Tayto crisps are made at a 500-year-old castle in County Armagh. The brand’s best-selling flavor is cheese and onion; it’s so popular that earlier this year, Tayto even brought out a cheese-and-onion-flavoured chocolate bar!


25. In the 14th century babies in Herefordshire were baptised in cider, on the grounds that it was cleaner than water.

26. If you visit the graveyard of St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury, you might be excited to find the grave of Ebenezer Scrooge. Unfortunately, it’s not real. The gravestone is a prop left over from the 1984 movie 'A Christmas Carol', which was filmed in the local area.

27. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, but there are 30 other places called Birmingham around the world. There’s even a crater on the moon with the same name!

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