top of page

"Celebrating England" on St George's Day 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 23rd April

“This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea.” ― William Shakespeare


Before starting this session, take the opportunity to pay respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, who died on 8th September 2022 and to our new King and Queen Charles and Camilla. (There is a royalty page here )

By way of introduction, ask what people like best about England?

Do members have a favourite English place they like to visit?

Was anyone born or schooled in England, or have family members there that they visit?

Is there a famous English person that members would like to meet?


Complete a few of these following common British idioms together ...

A bird in the hand is worth two in the BUSH

It's better to be content with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking to get more.

A penny for your THOUGHTS A way of asking someone to share their thoughts with you.

A rolling stone gathers no MOSS

A person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth or status, or responsibilities or commitments.

Absence makes the heart grow FONDER Sometimes it's good to be away from your partner, because it makes you want to see each other again.

Actions speak louder than WORDS What someone actually does means more than what they say.

An apple a day keeps the doctor AWAY Apples are healthy and good for you.

Barking up the wrong TREE You’re looking in the wrong place.

Beauty is in the eye of the BEHOLDER Different people have different ideas about what's beautiful.

Beat around the BUSH You're purposely avoiding the topic and not speaking directly about the issue.

Beggars can't be CHOOSERS If you're asking for a favour from someone else, you have to take whatever they give you.

Best thing since sliced BREAD Basically meaning a good invention or innovation – a good idea or a good plan.

Better late than NEVER It's best to do something on time. But if you can't do it on time, do it late rather than not at all.

Birds of a feather flock TOGETHER People like to spend time with others who are similar to them.

Cleanliness is next to GODLINESS Be clean. God likes that.

Cost an arm and a LEG A phrase used to massively over exaggerate when something might be overly priced.

Curiosity killed the CAT Being too inquisitive can lead you to an unpleasant situation. Finding out an answer may in fact ruin the question for you.

Discretion is the greater part of VALOUR

Sometimes it's important to know when to give up and run away, instead of always acting brave and maybe getting hurt.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto YOU Don't do mean things to people.

Don't bite the hand that feeds YOU If someone's paying you or helping you out, you have to be careful not to make them angry or say bad things about them.

Don’t count your chickens before your eggs have HATCHED Basically don’t make plans for something that might not happen. For example, don't spend all your birthday money before you get it - as you might not get any at all.

Don’t put all your eggs in one BASKET Don’t put all your hope/resources in one possibility, lose the basket and you're left hopeless.

Easy come, easy GO When you get money quickly, like by winning it, it's easy to spend it or lose it quickly as well.

Every dog has his DAY Everyone gets their chance to do something big

God helps those who help THEMSELVES Don't just wait for good things to happen to you. Work hard to achieve your goals.

Good things come to those who WAIT Bide your time. Things will get better.

Have your head in the CLOUDS Day dreaming, not paying attention

Hit the nail on the HEAD A saying that simply means you have done or said something exactly right – matching someone’s feelings/point.

Honesty is the best POLICY Don't lie.

If it ain't broke, don't FIX IT Don't try to improve something that already works fairly well. You'll probably end up causing new problems.

If you can't beat 'em, JOIN 'EM When you try to change someone's behavior and it doesn't work, you might have to change instead. For example, if you're trying to get your classmates to focus on studying but they want to party, maybe you should just party with them.

If you want something done right, you have to do it YOURSELF Don't trust other people to do important things for you. You have to do things yourself to control the quality of the results.

It takes two to TANGO One person usually isn’t the only responsible party.

Keep your friends close and your enemies CLOSER If you have an enemy, pretend to be friends with them instead of openly fighting with them. That way you can watch them carefully and figure out what they're planning.

Kill two birds with one STONE When you accomplish two tasks in one go. So if you need to go to the bank, and you drop your library books off on the way - you'll be killing two birds with one stone.

Like two peas in a POD Two people who are always together

Look after your pennies and the pounds will look after THEMSELVES Another classic idiom normally coming from your gran - meaning if you take care of small amounts of money, the capital with quickly accumulate as if by itself.

Never look a gift horse in the MOUTH If someone offers you a gift, don't question it.

No man is an ISLAND You can't live completely independently. Everyone needs help from other people.

People who live in glass houses should not throw STONES Don't criticize other people if you're not perfect yourself.

Practice makes PERFECT You have to practice a skill a lot to become good at it.

The early bird catches the WORM You should wake up and start work early if you want to succeed.

The grass is always greener on the other SIDE People tend to want whatever they don't have.

There's no place like HOME Your own home is the most comfortable place to be.

There's no time like the PRESENT If you need to do something, don't wait until later. Do it now.

Too many cooks spoil the BROTH When there are too many people trying to lead and give their opinions, it's confusing and leads to bad results.

Two heads are better than ONE When two people cooperate with each other, they come up with better ideas.

Two wrongs don't make a RIGHT

When someone has done something bad to you, trying to get revenge will only make things worse.

When the going gets tough, the tough get GOING Strong people don't give up when they come across challenges. They just work harder.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking some EGGS You can’t make everyone happy

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him DRINK You can’t force someone to make what is seemingly the right decision

You can’t judge a book by its COVER A classic saying meaning one should not judge something or someone by how it looks - it's what's on the inside/content that counts most (obviously).

Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an ENGLISHMAN


Ask people to use these typically English sayings in a sentence, or to describe their meaning...

“Chuffed to bits” Meaning: Very pleased

“Bits and bobs” Meaning: Various items

“Throw a spanner in the works” Meaning: To prevent something from happening smoothly or to bring a plan to a halt

“Brass monkeys” Meaning: Very cold weather

“Bob’s your uncle!” Meaning: “There you have it” or “ta-da!”

“Gutted” Meaning: Feeling extremely upset or disappointed

“Knackered” Meaning: Exhausted

“Cream crackered” Extremely tired or exhausted

“Have a gander” Meaning: Take a look

“Lost the plot” Meaning: Lost the ability to cope or behave rationally

“Throw a wobbly” Meaning: Become very angry or throw a tantrum

“Chinwag” Meaning: A good chat or gossip with someone

“Curtain twitcher” Meaning: A nosey neighbour or friend

“Full of beans” Meaning: Lively or full of energy

“Chockablock” Meaning: Crammed full or crowded

“Not my cup of tea” Meaning: Not my favourite thing

“Spend a penny” Meaning: Use the rtoilet

“Take the biscuit” Meaning: Particularly bad or annoying

“Put a sock in it” Meaning: Be quiet

“On your bike”

Meaning: Go away

“Codswallop” Meaning: Nonsense

“Scrummy” Meaning: Tasty

“Bodge” Meaning: A clumsy patch or repair

“Barmy” Meaning: Crazy or daft

“Collywobbles” Meaning: Stress-induced stomach pain or queasiness

“Donkey’s years” Meaning: A long time

“Gobby” Meaning: Loud, opinionated, and offensive

“Lurgy” Meaning: A contagious, but not a serious illness

“Blimey” Meaning: An expression of surprise

“Gobsmacked” Meaning: Shocked

“Kerfuffle” Meaning: A confrontation over differing views

“Trainers” Meaning: Athletic shoes

“Bagsy” Meaning: Stake a claim

“Faff” Meaning: Waste time on something unproductive

“Knees up” Meaning: A party

“Skive” Meaning: Ditch or leave early

NB. With 6 Rounds this is a Bumper Music & Picture Quiz. I suggest splitting it into two sessions.


ROUND 1. British Icons On UK Sterling Notes

Identify the person on the bank note, using the clue given ...

1. CLUE. Apple / 'Theory Of Gravity'

2. CLUE. 'Beagle'

3. CLUE. "Bah Humbug!"

4. CLUE. 'Fighting Temeraire'

5. CLUE. 'Emma'

6. CLUE. "Lady With The Lamp"

7. CLUE. 'Enimga Code'

8. CLUE. 'Bard Of Avon'

9. CLUE. 'Pomp And Circumstance'

10. CLUE. "We shall never surrender."

11. SONG. 'Penny Lane', The Beatles -

Which character featured on the pre-decimal Penny (see below)?

ROUND 2. London Landmarks

​12. Identify this place (or palace)? During June and July, what ceremony takes place at 11am every day (10am on Sundays)? a. Royal Garden Party b. Trooping The Colour c. Changing Of The Guard

​13. Identify this place? How many stories are there (nearest guess)? (Does anyone have a fear of heights?) a. 72 b. 82 c. 92

​14. Identify this place? Who designed it? (Has anyone visited 'The Whispering Gallery'? How does it work?) a. Capability Brown b. Thomas Telford c. Christopher Wren

​15. Identify this place? Who lived here and who lived next door? (What do members think of them?) a. Boris Johnson & Rishi Sunak b. Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson c. Charles Dickens & Samuel Pepys

​16. Identify this landmark? How long does a ride on it take? a. 30 mins b. 45 mins c. an hour

​17. Identify this place? What, of great value, are kept here? Which guard and which bird protects the Tower? a. Metropolitan Police & Pigeons b. Coldstream Guards & Peacocks c. Beefeaters & Ravens

​18. Identify this landmark? When did it open? (Has anyone climbed over the top of it?) a. 31st December 1999 b. 1st January 2001 c. 23rd April 2002

​19. Identify this place? There is a famous statue here dedicated to whom? a. Duke Of York b. Horatio Nelson c. Queen Victoria

​20. Identify this place?

What are the clock and tower called?

a. 'Big Ben' & 'Elizabeth Tower'

b. 'Westminster Clock & Tower'

c. 'Big Ben' & 'House of Commons Tower'

​21. What is the name of this bridge? What river does it cross? How many times, on average, does it open a week? a. 14 b. 44 c. 104

Song 'Waterloo Sunset', The Kinks -

22. What kind of an afternoon was it on another of their hit singles?

a. Rainy

b. Windy

c. Sunny

ROUND 2. Landmarks Elsewhere In England - DOWN SOUTH

​23. Name this place? Where do the 'bluestones' come from? (And how on earth did they get them there?) a. Presili Mountains in North Wales b. White Cliffs Of Dover c. Bodmin Moor in Cornwall

​24. Name this place? How hot is the water that springs from the ground here? a. 20 degrees C b. 40 degrees C c. 60 degrees C

​25. Name this place? What used to be quarried here? a. Tin b. China Clay c. Granite

​26. Name this place? Who organises the music festival nearby? (Has anyone been?) a. Michael Evis & Emily Eavis b. Richard Branson & Deborah Meadon c. Ferne Cotton & Jo Whiley

​27. What is the name of this bridge? Who designed it? Which river does it cross? a. Severn b. Thames c. Avon

​28. What is this place called? What other place is it twinned with? a. Mont Saint Michel in Normandy b. Lindisfarne in Northumberland c. Edinburgh Castle

​29. What is this place called?

Who departed from here for the "The New World" in 1620? What was the name of the ship?

a. Sir Francis Drake / 'Golden Hind'

b. William Bligh / 'HMS Bounty'

c. The Pilgrims / 'Mayflower'

​30. What is this place called? Who was it built for? a. Edward & Wallis Simpson b. Prince Albert (Queen Victoria) c. King George 1V, Prince Of Wales,

​31. What is the most southerly point of England called? How far is it to the most northerly point in the UK (by road), and what it called? a. 674 miles b. 874 miles c. 1,074 miles

​32. What is this national park (near Plymouth) called? Which 1902 novel was set here? a. 'Hound Of The Baskervilles', Sir Arthur Conan Doyle b. 'Wuthering Heights', Emily Bronte c. 'Jamaica Inn', Daphne Du Maurier

​33. What is this landmark called? a. 'Portland Bill' b. 'The Needles' c. 'The White Cliffs Of Dover'

Here is the Vera Lynn song -

ROUND 2. Landmarks Elsewhere In England - UP NORTH

​34. What is this name of this landmark? Which popular TV show comes here for one episode every year? a. 'Coronation Street' b. 'Strictly Come Dancing' c. 'Antiques Roadshow'

​35. Which national park is shown here? What 1929 children's book by Arthur Ransome is set there? a. 'Swallows And Amazons' b. 'Lord Of The Flies' c. 'Watership Down'

​36. What is the name of this cathedral? What is the name for the medieval streets near to it? (They were used in which children's film for scenes of 'Diagon Alley'?) a. 'Brambles' b. 'Rambles' c. 'Shambles'

​37. What is the name of this monument? How wide is its wing span? a. 75 feet b. 175 feet c. 275 feet

​38. Which legendary hero is pictured here (name the actor)?

Which place in Nottinghamshire is he associated with? a. Sherwood Forest b. Nottingham Forest c. New Forest

​39. Where would you find this cathedral? What do the locals call it? a. 'The Glass Triangle' b. 'The UFO' c. 'Paddy's Wigwam'

​40. What is the name of this wall, that cross West to East of England. How wide is England coast to coast at its narrowest point? a. 73 miles b. 173 miles c. 273 miles

​41. Name this east coast seaside town? What horror character is associated with this place? (How would you repel or kill him?) a. Frankenstein b. Dracula c. Werewolf

​42. 'Ironbridge' in Telford, Shropshire, is know as 'The Birthplace Of ...' what? a. The Industrial Revolution b. Irn Bru c. Isambard Kingdom Brunel

​43. The 'North Yorkshire Moors Railway' is associated with which 1970 movie? a. 'Murder On The Orient Express' b. 'The Great British Train Robbery' c. 'The Railway Children'

Song 'Ferry 'Cross The Mersey', Gerry And The Pacemakers -

44. What was the name of their 1963 number 1 hit?

a. 'Strawberry Fields For Ever'

b. 'You're My World'

c. 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

ROUND 5. Quintessentially English

​45. What year did England win the 'FIFA World Cup'? Who is holding the cup? Here are the highlights -

​46. Who starred in the 1964 movie 'My Fair Lady'? Here's a song clip -

​47. Who starred in the 1964 movie 'Mary Poppins'? Factoid. In 2017 he apologised for his 'atrocious cockney accent' in this movie. Another song clip -

​48. What is Oliver about to ask in this 1968 movie and from whom? Here's another song -

​49. Who starred in 'Carry On Henry', 1971? Name the 6 wives of Henry V111?

Song link -

​50. Who lived at 221B Baker Street? Name the actors?

​51. Complete these titles of Colin Firth's most iconic roles? - 'Pride And *********', 1995 - 'Bridget Jones's *****', 2001 - 'The King's *****', 2010

​52. Complete these titles of Agatha Christie books/films... - 'Murder On The Orient *******' - 'Death On The ****' - 'Evil Under The ***' - 'And Then There Were ****' - 'A Murder Is *********'

​53. Which actors played the parts of Lord Grantham and The Dowager Duchess in 'Downton Abbey'?

54. Name as many James Bond actors as you can?

List the James Bond movies? Here's a list -

(You could play a few James Bond theme songs here.)

Remember James Bond in the 'London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony' in 2012?

Here's that fantastic clip -

SONG. 'Ain't No Sunshine', Bill Withers -

55. Which two actors starred in this movie?

This 'Walk Through The Seasons' video provides an opportunity to discuss the seasons we enjoy in the UK. Which is members' favourite?

ROUND 6. Food & Drink

​56. Is this a Devon or Cornish cream tea? What is the more common pronunciation of ‘scone’?

​57. Which tea did they advertise? What tea is flavoured with bergamot? (Discuss the use of animals in advertising.)

Advert -