The traits that define Britishness - survey reveals 40 classics

Having a barbecue as soon as the sun comes out is one of the top traits of what it means to be British (Picture: SWNS)

The top 40 traits and activities that make people feel British – including dunking a biscuit in tea and roast dinners – have been revealed.

Almost a third of people think the definition of ‘typically British’ has changed since the Brexit referendum and another third think it will change again following the UK’s departure from the EU, a survey by Sky Arts found.

Sky Arts carried out the research by questioning 2,000 adults to launch Art 50, where 50 artists created pieces to show what it real means to be British.

According to the poll, talking about the weather is considered the most British trait, followed by queuing for things, always having a roast dinner on Sundays and putting the kettle on in a crisis.

Having a fry up is an activity behind Britishness (Picture: SWNS)

Other top traits are having a barbecue when the sun comes out, being culturally aware and being proud of where you are from.

The survey results revealed a difference between the generations, with more than half of people over the age of 60 saying they see putting the kettle on in a crisis as a sign of being British, compared to just over a third (36%) of millennials.

More than four in ten pensioners consider it British to be proud of where you are from, compared to just 19% of younger adults.

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Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts said: “As a nation, there are various traits and activities which people believe define Britishness.

“But many people think this definition is changing over time, especially thanks to the Brexit referendum and our exit from the EU.


“There is so much which is great about Great Britain, but the country is constantly evolving, leading to a different meaning to the phrase ‘being British’.”

According to the survey, 29% of Brits don’t feel they can be as openly proud of being British as much as they did before the EU referendum.

Despite this, 47% are proud to be British, with another four in 10 saying they feel this way ‘a little bit’ and only 13% aren’t at all proud to be British.

The survey reveals a shift in attitude since the EU referendum (Picture: SWNS)

Researchers also found that the Brexit negotiations have left more than one in 10 wishing they had voted differently in the referendum.

If there was another vote now, 37% would vote to leave while 46% would vote to remain.

Many Brits say it is traditional to talk about the weather (Picture: SWNS)

Top 40 signs you’re British:

Talking about the weather
Having a roast dinner on Sundays
Putting the kettle on in a crisis
Liking fish and chips
Using tea as a cure/fix for everything
Saying ‘sorry’ too frequently
Saying please and thank you
Dunking biscuits in tea
Going to the pub
Having a stiff upper lip
Having a dry sense of humour
Having good manners
Eating fry ups for breakfast
Being proud of where you are from
Pulling together in a crisis
Not complaining in a restaurant when the food is poor
Having meals based on what day it is – like Fishy Friday
Having a barbecue as soon as the sun comes out
Holding the door open for someone when they’re unnecessarily far away so they end up running for the door
Wearing shorts and sunglasses the second the sun comes out
Respecting our elders
Moaning about our commute
Saying ”right” before you’re about to do something
Being tolerant
Being squashed on the train by a larger person and pretending you don’t notice when they are half sitting in your seat
Shouting “WAHEY” when someone drops a drink in the pub
Never letting your emotions get the better of you
Putting ketchup on everything
Uttering ‘Aaaah’ after taking a first sip of a cold beer
Loving to hate the Royal Family
Eating cucumber sandwiches
Always clearing your plate at dinnertime
Refusing to eat non-Heinz baked beans
Being culturally aware
Not swearing or using bad language
Respecting LGBT culture
Being open with your feelings and emotions
Being supportive of immigration