Whenever I host a visitor to Britain, I take the greatest pleasure in torpedoing their misconceptions about this country. I'll introduce them to a real, full-on afternoon tea, or seafood right off the boats, or the best dim sum they've ever tasted. Maybe I'll take them for a walk in a London park in brilliant sunshine, or teach them about real ale and beer with complex flavors. Then perhaps we'll hop on a cheap train, or the ultra cheap Megabus and travel out into the country without mortgaging our homes.
Inevitably, I can almost hear the old chestnuts about Britain clattering to the ground - the things they think they know because they've seen the film, read the book, learned the primary school history lesson.
Everybody thinks they know all about the UK. It's the price the British pay from spreading their language and their culture around the globe. But actually, most of the things that lots of visitors think they know, or believe about Britain are just plain mistaken.
Did you know we have hundreds of locally produced cheeses - more cheeses than France, actually? Or that in blind tastings, English wines regularly win over their international rivals (yes even over the French)? And were you aware that calling a Scotsman English is akin to calling a Canadian an American? It doesn't go down very well because the UK is actually a union of three, distinctly different countries and six historic Irish counties.
People have all sorts of funny ideas about the British. I've put together a list of the 10 most common myths and misconceptions about Britain. Be honest now. How many did you think were true?
Photo ©Ferne Arfin