March 9, 2016 | Pride of Britain Hotels
In advance of HM The Queen’s official 90th birthday celebrations this summer, Pride of Britain Hotels has researched what it means to be British in 2016. From Britain’s most popular figureheads and celebrities to the most polite county and the nation’s favourite sayings, here is a breakdown of what Britishness means today.
As expected, HM The Queen is the public figure who, according to members of the public, best represents Britishness – with 38% of the total vote. Perhaps surprisingly, The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, garnered the same number of votes as actress Dame Judy Dench (15%), with actor Hugh Grant (20%) and actor/presenter Stephen Fry (18%) pipping others to the post. Dame Helen Mirren, who famously portrayed the role of HM The Queen on the big screen, claimed just 8% of the vote – the same as the singer Adele – with thespians Kate Winslet and Sir Anthony Hopkins jointly achieving 11% of votes, and Sir Trevor Macdonald 9%.
Where politicians are concerned, 13% of Scots believe David Cameron best represents Britishness as opposed to Boris Johnson (5%). However, 9% of residents in the East of England believe Boris Johnson best represents Britishness as opposed to David Cameron (1%).
Over a third (37%) of those surveyed thought that ‘politeness’ best defined Britishness, followed closely by ‘stiff upper lip’ (33%), and thereafter ‘sarcasm’ (23%) and ‘good hospitality’ (20%). Over a quarter (28%) of 55 and overs felt Brits were best defined as ‘resilient’ as opposed to just 10% of 25-34 year olds. Interestingly, 35% of 16-24 year olds and 41% of 55 and overs felt that Britishness was defined by politeness.
In terms of the politest part of the UK, Yorkshire came out top as the politest county, with just over 10% of the votes. This was followed by Devon (5.8%), Lancashire (5.7%), Surrey (4.9%) and Kent (4.3%).
The nation’s love of the British cuppa remains strong, with 42% of Brits preferring tea to any other British drink. And 50% of women reported that tea was their favourite British beverage compared to 32% of men. Nearly a fifth of Londoners (18%) named cider as their favourite British drink compared to 14% of the population as a whole. The rise in popularity of British-made wine was also noted, with 4% of Midlands’ residents naming it their favourite drink – but ale remained the favourite drink of 20% of male respondents.
When asked which Royals the nation would most like to serve them for a day, Prince Harry was the clear favourite, winning 26% of the vote. This compared to Prince William, nominated by 10% of the population, and Kate Middleton, who proved more popular than her husband with 15% of the vote.
On to the nation’s favourite sayings, with top billing given to ‘keep calm and carry on’ (26%), followed by ‘awful weather’ (21%) and ‘jolly good’ (20%). Almost a third of those over 55 preferred the phrase ‘mustn’t grumble’, compared to 6% of 16-24 year olds; just over a fifth of respondents in the North East and 16% of Yorkshire residents’ favourite saying is ‘alright pet’. Surprisingly, 15% of younger respondents (16-24 year olds) confess their favourite British phrase is ‘old chap’ compared to just 4% of 35-44 year olds.
Furthermore, 22% of 25-34 year olds claim that ‘splendid’ is their favourite phrase, almost double that of any other age group.
The British public were also asked what they would like to give HM The Queen as a present for her 90th birthday; corgis, family photos and flowers all proved to be popular options. Some more unusual suggestions included a ‘Keep Calm I’m The Queen’ t-shirt, a Segway for the long corridors of Buckingham Palace, a homemade dish of Lancashire hotpot, a birthday card signed by as many members of the public as possible and, one that might appeal to our hard-working monarch, a much-deserved day off.
Says Peter Hancock, Chief Executive, Pride of Britain Hotels, “This survey throws light on what we at Pride of Britain Hotels have long suspected, namely that everybody has their own individual idea about what makes Britain great. Certainly our 48 member hoteliers all understand how to deliver great hospitality, which is identified in the survey as one of this country’s defining characteristics.”
The research was commissioned by Pride of Britain Hotels, a collection of 48 independent luxury hotels, proudly practising the art of great hospitality on a daily basis. Spanning the UK, the collection is limited to a maximum of 50 hotels to guarantee quality and exclusivity. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929; prideofbritainhotels.com).
The survey was carried out by censuswide amongst a sample of 1,000 adults (aged 16+) in the United Kingdom on 17th/18th February 2016.