A Brief Introduction to the Culture of England

By Barry Kavanagh

England is part of the UK that is also comprised of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is a country rich in literary tradition with writers such as Chaucer from the medieval period and William Shakespeare from the golden age of the Elizabethan era. Numerous writers including Jane Austin and Charles Dickens are seen to be the embodiment of English culture and Englishness and along with Shakespeare are a core part of the English school curriculum. Recently the Harry potter novels have become immensely popular around the globe and have been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim.

Unlike its French neighbor England is not particularly famous for its cuisine but does have some distinctly English dishes that can be seen on menus in English pubs and restaurants across the country. The full English breakfast is one of these dishes. A very simple dish that consists of fried eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomato, sausages, black pudding and baked beans. Served with tea or coffee this dish although tasty, will probably not do wonders for your waistline. Fish and chips and roast beef diners are other dishes that are recognized as being quintessentially English and are a must for the traveller to England.

Tea is the iconic drink of the country. Originally ‘high tea’ or ‘afternoon tea’ was traditionally associated with the wealthy classes but over the course of the 18th century it has become a drink for the masses and is a prominent feature of English society and hospitality. A social visit to most homes in England usually results in a chat over tea and biscuits.

England has contributed greatly to the world of music and has a long history rich in musical genres and movements. The sixties gave birth to The Beatles, one of the most famous bands in the world. Artists that followed such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin have a huge global following. The seventies saw the rise of the punk movement with bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash and the nineties was awash with Britpop, a cultural movement that emphasized Britishness.

England is steeped in a rich literary and cultural tradition and the country has something for everyone through its architecture, museums, and sporting traditions.


April 1, 2017