So, Its pretty common for people to want to visit Britain (Especially you Yanks from across the pond xD), But here is some things you should probably know before you come over here to avoid a culture shock :P
1) The Royal Family
Now, Its not uncommon to see lots of hype in the US about the British Royal family, I mean, they are the only English speaking monarchy you know off, so it's cool for you guys, but believe it or not the average British person really does not care about them.
Whilst you guys consdier them a cool part of our nation with lots of history, to us, they are just a bunch of rich, useless posh totties who attract tourists and spend too much tax money xD. Seriously, British people don't care. The only time we do is when a Royal wedding / Jubilee happen's and we all get a public holiday and a day off work ;).
2) Free Refils
Now, In the US, It's pretty much a common thing that in restruant's and stuff, when you get a drink, You get refils for free. Most of the time you don't even need to ask, They will just come round and refil your stuff for you.
Well, In Britain, if you drink all your drink, and you are thirsty, There ain't no free rides on this big red bus! xD. You're going to have to BUY yourself another drink. There are no free drinks in this country ;P.
3) Leaving Tips
Now, In my many ventures to the states, I have noticed, when you buy food or something, it will say on the bill ''Reccomended tip'' or something like that, And you actually HAVE to pay a tip. And, I thought ''How awfully cheeky''.
You see, In the UK, You don't have to leave tips, And if you do, They make such a massive deal out of it, If you slip a waiter £5 or something, You will have absolutely made his/her day, He will more then likely spend the following minute or two asking ''Are you sure!?'' and ''Thank you so much!!'' because tips are so uncommon here.
So, Don't worry about not tipping like you have to in the US, Just be aware if you do tip, You will SERIOUSLY make a waiter / service person etc. a VERY dandy little bunny indeed! :P
Now, In my time in the US, This horrified me. y'all lack some serious manners.
In Britain, You say ''Please'' and ''Thank you'' before and after EVERYTHING. If you don't , You WILL get nasty looks.
When i was in the US, If i were to say Please and Thank you as much as i do over here, I got weird looks like i was some crazy person, but over here you are considered ignorant if you don't. You cannot say please and thank you enough.
And here is one big thing in Britain. YOU ALWAYS HOLD A DOOR OPEN.
In the US, if i held a door open for girls, That considered as a form of flirting..... like.... What !?..... Flirting !??!?!..... If you are in the UK, and you are next to a door, And someone is behind you, You stop and hold that door open for them. It is not optional, you just do it, Not to make them happy, not to make you happy, not to flirt, Because thats the 'Non-Prick' thing to do xD.
A good rule of the thumb is, If they are more then 30 seconds walk away from the door, Don't hold it open as it will be awkward as they do a cute little skip run to do the door to make you wait less, But, If you walk through it, and slam it in there face, You are a bad person.
5) Sense of humour
Now, Despite the US / UK both being western nations, The sense of humour may differ greatly.
When I was in the US, I noticed a lot of jokes to me were very..... 'sarcstic' and kinda lame? xD. Like, People would say stuff to me they thought was hilarious and they were wetting themselves just saying the joke, And im sitting there with a blank face thinking... ''.......... what's the joke?....''.
In the UK, You will find a lot of jokes are..... I don't want to say 'Racist'. But.... ''Proud'' xD. If you went to the UK, and told a joke about... I don't know something you ate. You won't get much laughs, If you told a joke about ''how bad those Canadians are at football'' or ''how much those indians suck at cricket'', People will piss themselves laughing xD.
You get bonus points for making a joke about a different part of the UK to the part you are in, So if you are in England, pop out a joke about Scotland, if you are in Scotland, make a joke about wales, if you are in wales, say a joke about Ireland. Be sure to make the region you are in seem better then the one you are joking. Otherwise noone will laugh.
Jokes here are meant to mock others who aren't where you are from xD. But, Dont get carried away and just be racist, Otherwise you will probably end up getting punched.
6) Drinking Culture
Now, I have noticed, That in the US, And a lot of other countries, When you drink, you do it to have a good time with friends and enjoy yourself and make the most of your lives.
Well..... Not here xD.
In the UK, If you are drinking, you have but one single objective
To get as absolutely, completely and utterly wasted, in the shortest possible amount of time, until you throw up and pass out, only to repeat it the next day. We don't drink for fun, We drink to drink xD.
Another thing you should know, In the UK you are aloud to drink in pubs / clubs and stuff at 18, And if you are 16 you can drink Wine, Cider or Beer in a restruant (But you need an over 18 to buy it for you).
So, Don't be shocked when you see 16 year olds walking round drunk xD. Its very very common here.
7) Castles / Landmarks
I see this a lot, the whole ''omg i want to go to the UK they have castles''
Well, Believe it or not.... we don't actually care about castles. To us they are just busted up old piles of rocks and bricks xD.
I mean, The island where i live has more Castles then i can count, a lot of them are offshore fortress' that use to be Naval forts, These things are huge things with islands of their own, But guess what.... we dont care about them xD. They are just castles to us. Big whoop xD.
So don't be shocked when your awesome castle adventure has Brits saying ''Why the heck would you want to visit that? thats so boring....''. :P
Now, This various where abouts in the UK you are. If you are in a city such as London, Liverpool, Manchester (Etc etc), just ignore this point, BUT, If you are in the countryside (Which is the majority of the UK), In a town / rural area where the populations aren't that high, You will find the communities are VERY close nit.
And, If you walk down the street, When you are close to people (Within a metre or two), You will be looked in the face, And they will smile at you. Do not be scared and think ''omg are they flirting ?, Why did they smile ?!''.
Its perfectly normal, Infact, its abnormal if you don't, People will think you are a miserable bugger if you dont ;).
Seriously though, ALWAYS smile to people, Even if you don't know them and they look scary, Smile at them. This goes along with the ''Manners'', When you are in a shop buying something, Smile at the cashier. Its very normal.
Now, In Britain, there are several things you should avoid, But, The one you want to avoid the most, Is a thing that we call ''Chavs''. You often find them in cities, normally on the poor side's of town. You can often tell who they are by what they wear / how they talk, They will usually wear clothing like this (Normally Joggers / tracksuits or ''Trackies'') and be in groups.
I am not trying to pick on these people, And some of them are nice people, But, a lot are not. You will find most people like this in the likes of Liverpool or other MAJOR cities on the outskirts, And you are best avoiding them, They won't hurt you or anything, But..... I wouldn't go near them personally xD.
The reason i say this, In Britain, There is a very defined 'Wealth Gap', There are your people with jobs and stuff, Then there are your 'Chavs', These are people who live on Government handouts and in council houses, And normally they hate people who have more money then then, And are the type of British people who speak like ''m8 i swer i wil 1 smak u''.
Don't be scared of them, Just dont get involved with them xD. They are usually very very cocky and act a lot bigger then they really are (When i was in school, 'Chavs' and 'Non Chavs' would often fight alot).
I know this point may seem like i am picking on these people, But, Its hard to understand if you don't live here, There is a MASSIVE cultural divide between these two parts of society, And generally both sides dislike one another. With the ''Chavs'' often being more hostile then the Non Chavs. (All those riots in england a couple years ago where half of the stores in london got robbed and set on fire was famously branded a ''Christmas for Chavs'' due to all the theft).
Anyway, Moving on!
10) ''Patriotism is a virtue''.
Needless to say, In a nation that only a hundred years ago controlled 1/4 of the entire planets land mass, British people are VERY patriotic about our Military,
It is common sight in the UK in cities like London, to see Uninion jacks on most streets, Whilst Parades of ''British Grenadiers'' (You call them ''Redcoats'') are a weekly, if not daily occurance.
If you are in the UK, I would avoid insulting its military or you will seriously turn some heads, Not too long ago, An Ex-soldier called ''Lee Rigby'' was killed , And this is 1 Soldier (if this happened in the US it would probably be news for an hour and then forgotten), But, This soldier getting murdered, Sparked national outrage and was in every paper for the better part of a month, We even had Minutes of Silence for Lee Rigby and his funeral was a national event.... Seriously..... we are that proud of our Army.
So yeah, Never insult the British Armed Forces, As a nation we are fiercely patriotic about it, They are one of our proudest features that has quite rightly defined Britain over the past few centuries and the famous ''RedCoats'' are a powerful symbol all over the world.
Thank you for Reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, And don't forget to try some 'Fish and Chips', They will change your life xD.