[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 11:18 GMT
10 things everyone should know about the UK
Dogs and cats are the most popular choice with pet owners
A Life in the UK handbook, which will form the basis of the new 'Britishness test' for immigrants who want to become UK citizens, has been published by a government advisory board. At more than 100 pages, there's lots to digest - but here are 10 things taken directly from the report that apparently everyone should know.

1. Just under half of UK households own a pet - dogs and cats are most popular.

2. Heirs to the throne are not allowed to marry anyone who is a Catholic or divorcee.

3. Years ago, an engagement was seen as a legal contract. Today it is not. If a person breaks off their engagement there is usually no duty even to return the ring.

4. Thatched cottages are mainly the products of south, south-west and the east of England.

5. Boxing Day is so named because servants, gardeners and other tradespeople used to receive money (a Christmas box) in appreciation for work done throughout the year. Some postmen still get them.

6. Motorcyclists and passengers must wear crash helmets, but the rule does not apply to Sikhs wearing turbans.

7. Only the United Nations is a bigger international organisation than the Commonwealth, which houses 30% of the world's population.

8. Groups of friends normally buy "rounds" of drinks, where the person whose turn it is will buy drinks for all the members of the group. It is sometimes difficult to get served when pubs are busy: people do not queue, but the bar staff will usually try and serve those who have been waiting longest at the bar first. If you spill a stranger's drink by accident, it is good manners (and prudent) to offer to buy another.

9. A full driving licence obtained in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway can be used in Britain.

10. "The BBC website provides access to a huge range of local, national and international information, with a news service in more than 40 languages. If you need to find out more about a particular topic, it is often the best place to begin, with its major sections on education, science, history, business, and legal rights."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific