If you’ve travelled between the northern and southern hemispheres, you will have noticed that there’s quite a big cultural difference between cold and hot nations, and where the sun shines, life tends to look a little different. Read on to find out more about how Brits deal with bad weather, how we make the most of the good days, and what people typically do in their free time.
At RKA Valencia, we love to teach English that makes sense to our students, and that feels relevant and modern. We don’t just teach grammar and correct mistakes, we try to bring our English students into the English-speaking world, and make sure they can communicate and get by (survive) if they work, study or live in an English-speaking country.
Weather – the basics
You might have heard that it rains a lot in the UK. There’s really no way to deny it, and I’ll be honest, it can be a real frustration at times. Across the whole UK, there was an average rainfall of 170 days, and 85cm in 2020. Comparing that to Spain, the driest parts receive less than 13cm, and the average sits around 65cm. A tip here – be like a Brit and don’t leave the house without an umbrella!
It’s just a wetter and colder place. But that doesn’t mean that English people hate our weather. We might love to strip off and sunbathe in the park at the slightest suggestion of a sunny day, but British culture has adapted to the local conditions.
Most British homes are much more protected against the cold, with thicker insulation in the walls, double or triple glazing (layers) in the windows, and central heating (instead of air conditioning, which is rare in UK homes). Carpeted floors don’t make much sense in Spain, as the drier and dustier air and hot days make warm and fluffy flooring a bad choice. But when it’s 2 degrees in January and it’s snowing outside, no-one wants to walk on a marble or wood floor.
British homes tend to use more warm colours for decoration, and very rarely have shutters to block light and heat, instead using heavier and insulated curtains.
Leisure – the basics
All that being said, activities and leisure time in the UK is spent indoors much more than in Spain. Part of the reason for this is that although the weather can be great for days and weeks, British people have learned not to trust this. A wedding held in March, April or even May needs a backup/indoor option to be considered well-planned.
More sports venues are indoors, and indoor squash courts take the place of outdoor padel courts. There’s less outdoor seating for restaurants and bars, and with space being harder to find in the UK (or more expensive), there’s generally less room to move in cities and less space given to central squares (although there are some nice ones).