What are some of the first things that come to mind when you think of the British areas in the United Kingdom? Immediately you may say tea, fish and tips, the royal monarchy, soccer when referred to as football, and James Bond. But how about some deeper information regarding the UK that is more obscure?
Here are eight cool facts that you may not be as aware of that you can share at the dinner table tonight.
1. Glasgow Has Trees Older Than Dinosaurs
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, with a population of around 600,000 people, and is the fifth most-visited city in the United Kingdom. Along with plenty of people, you will also find trees that have been around longer than the dinosaurs.
When traveling in the United Kingdom, store your belongings in a Glasgow luggage storage facility and head over to Fossil Grove in Glasgow’s Victoria Park, where you will see eleven very remarkable trees. These fossilized tree stumps go all the way back to the Carboniferous Period, which means they are approximately 330 million years old, making them twice as old as the dinosaurs.
2. Billions of Cups of Tea
As stated earlier, the British are known for drinking tea each day. If you did the math, you would wind up at an estimated 100,000,000 cups of tea every day. This tradition started with the establishment of the British East India Company in 1600, which brought in tea from South Asian UK colonies.
Once Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II, she shared her hobby of sipping tea, and this habit became popular. Nowadays, drinking tea isn’t just for fancy social circles; it is enjoyed by people from all variations of economic, ethnic, and social groups.
3. The Oldest Subway
Out of the 180 subway systems that are spread across 56 different countries, London’s “Tube” is the oldest subway that began in 1860 and officially opened on January 10th, 1863, between Farringdon Street and Bishop’s Road, Paddington.
Now the London Underground has 11 separate subway lines that help five million passengers every day.
4. The Mystery of Stonehenge
Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain is one of the more memorable archaeological sites on Earth, dating back 4,600 years, but it can’t be properly explained. There doesn’t seem to be any knowledge about who built it or why it was constructed.
The theories of Stonehenge are all over the place, from the wizard Merlin during the times of King Arthur magically bringing the stones from Ireland to it being leftovers from a fortress from a Danish invasion. Some even think Stonehenge is a landing location for alien spacecraft.
5. UK Town with the Longest Name is in Wales
Imagine having to text all of your friends and family members that you are moving to the Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch? Yes, this is a real town in the UK, and yes, it is really spelled with 58 letters.
6. Shortest Flight in the World
Scotland has the shortest airline flight in the world at the archipelago of the Orkney Islands. It connects the small island of Westray to the smaller island of Papa Westray, and the time it takes to make this trip is only two minutes and 40 seconds.
But if the wind is in your favor, you can go from taking off to landing in under one minute, in just 53 seconds, to be exact. Keep in mind that these prop jets only hold eight passengers, and they also have no bathroom.
7. Golf was Invented in Scotland
The sport of golf started about 550 years ago in medieval Scotland during the 1400s, back when players smacked a pebble around with a bent stick on sand dunes and above obstacles.
The game that would eventually be called golf was temporarily banned in 1457 when it became so popular that men were avoiding their military training in order to play it.
The first known time that the game was referred to as golf dates back to St. Andrews in 1552, which emerged as the very first official golf club in 1764. Golf quickly spread throughout the British Empire and all around the globe.
8. Shakespeare Invented Thousands of English Words and Phrases
William Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers from the United Kingdom; he is also the author of many of the popular phrases and words that are now considered common in the English language. If you have ever used the words “gossip,” “grovel,” “gloomy,” bedazzled, or the phrases “heart of gold,” “fair play,” or “the be-all and end-all, ” you have Shakespeare to thank for them. Experts say that William Shakespeare was the first person to say about 2,000 expressions and words during the course of his famous written works.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Shakespeare also made use of about 15,000 different words during the course of his plays and poetry writing as well.