10 Things that surprised me about the UK

Maybe some of you are more cultured than I was/am, or have visited the UK so many times that these “surprising” things are quite obvious, but they definitely raised my eyebrows.

  1. There’s a fox problem here. Yes foxes. It’s not cat poop in the mews (i.e. alley), it’s fox poop. It’s not cat fights, it’s screaming (or mating) foxes. What would the fox say? Apparently “AHHHHH EEEIiIIEIIEiiI AHHHHEEEE”fox-london-window
  2. You have to pay to watch fireworks, be it Guy Fawkes day, New Years, or some other holiday I don’t yet know. Or you can stand on the street like a bumĀ and steal the view.
  3. They have full on carnivals to celebrate Christmas. I’m talking ferris wheels, house of mirrors, cotton candy, churros, Bavarian Beer Hall (randomly) carnivals.
  4. “Pants” means underpants, trousers are what you put on your legs. Whoops.
  5. They don’t seem to have people over their houses quite as readily as we do in the states – “I only met you today, but sure come to my house party!” Everyone meets out, perhaps because flats are smaller and the people more shy. I’m more like “I love you more if you come to me because then I can wear sweatpants.”
  6. It’s SO DOG FRIENDLY here. The other day we walked by a pub, and there was a 100 lb Fido lounging on the sofa. Yes, pubs where you eat, dogs are welcome inside in many cases (assuming the dog is well behaved). And there are TONS of green spaces, leading to #7.
  7. There are tons of green spaces here! So, so many parks and conservation areas right in London proper. Even in Zone 1, there are HUGE parks, way bigger than the Boston Common.


    Walking up to the Parkland, which feels like the woods.

  8. People don’t want friends that don’t live in their neighborhood / area of London, with a few friendly exceptions (hey Suzy!). Like literally, people are in our child birthing class specifically to make neighborhood friends even though they may already have other friends.
  9. 40% of the city isn’t from the UK, and there aren’t many people living in London who were actually born and raised in London. Literally I work with like 5 people from the UK – and none of them are from London. It’s like being from LA. Or NYC proper.
  10. They try to get you out of the hospitalĀ 8 hours after giving birth. Yes, 8 hours. And they typically don’t have any food to offer you after you’ve burned 2500 calories pushing out that new life – unless you happen to give birth around a scheduled mealtime. At first I was all “that’s barbaric!” and then I was “Oh you’re in a ward with 4 other moms and babies? Get me out!” [For those non-baby-owning people, typically you’re in the hospital for at least 24-48 hours following birth.]

Remember, no judgement here – just observations. And a little judgement about the 8 hours. Do you KNOW where that baby just came from???



  1. Susan · December 14, 2015

    Great photos- did you take them all? Don’t go outside in your pants!


  2. Pingback: More surprising things about the UK | The Fitzsimmons Family Goes Abroad

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