how to be british guide by Heathrow Airport and Stephen Fry

How to be British by Stephen Fry – a UK Guide for Heathrow Airport’s visitors

28 of January of 2016

Heathrow Airport has collaborated with famous English comedian and actor Stephen Fry to create a video guide about the UK on ‘How to be British’ for the airport’s 75 million passengers. In this three minute video, set in a traditional English pub, Stephen Fry in collaboration with awarded scriptwriter Graham Linehan, introduces visitors to the idiosyncrasies and quirks of modern British life through his notoriously dry sense of humor.

Here we bring you 5 eccentricities of the British from this unique video from Heathrow…

An Obsession With The Weather

‘A staggering 91% of all verbal exchanges in the United Kingdom concern the weather’ says Fry. The weather is certainly a hot topic in the UK. There are countless names and expressions to describe different types of rainfall ranging from ‘spitting’ and ‘drizzling’ to ‘raining cats and dogs’. Complaining about the weather is without a doubt one of the favorite British pastimes. In the UK it is always a bold move to leave the house without an umbrella so make sure you’re prepared for any impending showers.

Love of Queueing

The Brits are famous for their love of queuing (waiting in line politely) and it is something that they pride themselves on doing very well. Queue jumping is not a done thing in the UK, you are expected to wait in line and patiently wait your turn. The Brits will stand in line for just about anything and you mess with this system at your peril.

Getting Caught Up in the ‘After You Loop’

British people pride themselves on being super polite and when they find themselves in a queue they might feel compelled to allow someone behind them in the queue to go first. This can lead to a problematic situation which Fry refers to as the ‘After You Loop’ where you end up saying ‘after you’ to those around you for what seems like a lifetime…


British people are renowned for being able to ‘keep calm and carry on’. However sometimes it all gets too much and they can’t help but drop that stiff upper lip. If a queue is moving painfully slowly ‘it may become necessary to turn to your companion and display your displeasure in the strongest possible terms” – by tutting to show your disapproval. Tutting is an ideal way for British people to express their disapproval without having to actually articulate any words.

Cheering When a Glass Breaks

If someone drops a glass or plate and it smashes on the ground, the typical British response is immediately to stop what you’re doing and cheer enthusiastically letting out a loud ‘wahay!’ The reason for this? Who knows! It’s yet another weird and wonderful quirk of British etiquette.

Fry’s hilarious video gives the viewer a fascinating insight into British etiquette, a seemingly baffling world of covert rules and expressions. Despite all their eccentricities the Brits are a real friendly and welcoming bunch which leads to the golden rule of the video…make yourself at home!


Find out more about Heathrow’s UK Guide on How to be British

Read more about Heathrow’s Guide to the UK here

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