If You Can Ace This Pub Trivia Quiz, We’d Guess You’re a True Brit


By: Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: Henrik Sorensen/DigitalVision/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Some spend their formative years with their noses buried in books. Some spend their time at university actually studying. Others spend that time watching reality television competitions, listening to obscure bands, or becoming obsessed with some niche area of history. There are even odds, when one steps into the pub quiz arena, that a formal education will be more valuable than an informal, ad hoc education. Perhaps those dozens of school trips to Hampton Court will finally pay off by providing a valuable piece of trivia, or that time you did not sleep through a history class will mean the difference between victory or defeat. We can guarantee that if you know Britain, you will know most of what we have in store for you!

Most of the facts one learns from teachers never really become useful, but the things one learns from the contents of a Christmas cracker will always be useful when it's pub quiz night! Sadly, we cannot provide you with a pub atmosphere (unless you take this quiz in a pub) but we can provide you with entertaining brain teasers guaranteed to have you swearing that the answer is on the tip of your tongue. Pub quiz victories don't come easily, so think of this as an opportunity to give your brain the workout it needs to conquer quiz night when it happens at your local. How well do you think you will do in our pub quiz? If you succeed here, we'll just have to assume you are a true Brit!

Which of the below is NOT a major British horseracing course?

While a horse race at Silverstone would be tremendously entertaining when they reached one of the banking turns, it would be a shocking sight. Silverstone is a Formula One racetrack. The others are all for horses.


In what part of the country would you find a Brummie accent?

“Brummie” accents are found in Birmingham, the largest city in the UK outside of London. Birmingham is a city in the Midlands, placing it about halfway up England on the north-south axis. The accent is considered fairly “neutral”, perhaps in a nod to the city’s position.


What tragic event occurred in the late 1340s that killed about a third of the British population?

About 50% of the population of Europe died in the Black Death. While it was absolutely tragic and very few families were left untouched by it, the plague did result in a huge weakening of feudalism when landlords were unable to hang onto their labourers and had to treat them a little better … for a while.


What building, later destroyed, was constructed to house the Great Exhibition of 1851?

There is still a football team called Crystal Palace, but there is no actual Crystal Palace! This Victorian building looked like a massive greenhouse and was designed to host the Great Exhibition of 1851, at which modern inventions were showcased. The palace was notable for having some of the earliest public bathrooms in the UK.


Whose birth on July 5th, 1996 marked a huge leap forward for science at the Roslin Institute in Scotland?

Dolly the sheep was the first mammal born by cloning a previously existing animal. She lived until 2003 and her birth marked a new frontier in the field of genetics. Dolly was named in honour of Dolly Parton, of whom the sheep’s creators were huge fans!


Britain has a very impressive inter-city motorway system. Which of its major roads was the first one completed?

One can be forgiven for forgetting the history of the British motorways, as the experience of commuting upon them can be so traumatic as to recommend wiping all thoughts of them from one's memory. Nevertheless, the answer is the M1. The M1 is the main road from London to Leeds.


Which of these is NOT one of the “legal deposit libraries"?

There are five libraries in the UK that receive a copy of all newly printed works - three of the above plus Library, Trinity College Dublin, and the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Together they protect Britain’s literary heritage -- and they are also very beautiful and well worth a visit!


Back before British money was decimalised, how many farthings were in a penny?

There were four farthings in a penny, twelve pennies in a shilling, and twenty shillings in a pound. This is, of course, a very silly system, and it was eliminated in favour of a much more usable decimal system in 1971.


What do the following have in common: The Rollright Stones, Long Meg and her Daughters, and Stanton Drew?

Stonehenge is not the only stone circle in the UK, though it is one of the best-preserved and largest. There are lots of other stone circles, including Arbor Low Stone Circle and the Ring of Brodgar.


Which of these islands or island groups does NOT belong to the UK?

The Hebrides and Shetland are both part of Scotland. The Isles of Scilly are part of Cornwall. The Faroe Islands, however, are a self-governing territory of Denmark.


Which originally British chocolate bar lost market share for giving up its much-loved foil packaging?

Kit-Kat was created by that great British institution Rowntree’s, which was later bought by Nestle. One of the great joys of the Kit-Kat was that it came in a foil wrapper whereby you could run your finger along the foil and break off a wafer, a weirdly satisfying feeling that endeared the chocolate bar to millions. A change to plastic wrappers caused quite an uproar.


By what collective name are the towns of Dover, Hastings, Hythe, Romney, and Sandwich known?

The Cinque Ports were part of a coastal defense system that dates back to pre-Norman times. “Cinque” is French for five, but thanks to English butchering of the French language, it is pronounced “sink” when referring to the ports.


When did all adult women get the right to vote in the UK?

Women in the UK were actually allowed to vote before 1832, if they had property. However, the Victorian age represented a step backward. Some women got the vote in 1918, but only if they were married. In 1928, all adult women were allowed to vote on the same terms as men.


What kind of bird would you find in a “covey”?

It’s a trick question! All game birds live in “coveys” (pronounced to rhyme with lovey, not rove-y). This also includes quail. Game birds can also be described collectively as a bevy or a pack.


What is the most northerly national park in the UK?

The Cairngorms national park covers the beautiful area of the eastern Highlands. It is one of the loveliest places in the world, affordable to visit, and easy to reach, thanks to Edinburgh and Glasgow airports being conveniently located nearby.


For what is the major British department store John Lewis known?

John Lewis is one of the most popular department stores in the UK, and is a sterling example of a worker-owned cooperative. The store is deeply beloved by the British public, partly because the fact that the workers own it means even the most conscience-stricken shipper can shop there without guilt!


In what year was the dissolution of the monasteries?

Henry VIII did not appreciate the power of the church or the fact that it was richer than him. He broke with Rome when the church would not let him divorce his first wife, Katharine of Aragon, and decided he might as well take their land and money while he was at it.


Which writer is noted as a regular famous visitor to Chawton House in Hampshire?

Chawton House was the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward. Austen used to visit the house daily from a smaller residence on the estate, where she would enjoy the very impressive library. A visit to Chawton is not complete without checking out the library, which is notable for its large number of older books by women.


What very long British war was decided by the Battle of Bosworth Field?

There have been plenty of wars in Britain, but the War of the Roses was notable for lasting 30 years, from 1455-1485. This war between the houses of York and Lancaster ended with victory for the Lancastrians, after which winner Henry Tudor wisely married Elizabeth of York in order to ensure that both houses were satisfied in future.


Which of these sports was NOT invented by the British?

Tennis was invented in France, but golf, cricket, and rugby were all invented in Britain. Of course, the British take great pride in inventing sports and then losing consistently at them, particularly to formerly colonised nations.


By what name are the people who clean the tracks of the Tube known?

The Tube is cleaned by a trusty cabal of workers who keep the tracks clean. One of the most significant problems in the Tube is that the tunnels can find themselves beset by preposterously large clogs of human hair!


Which of these is NOT an Anglo-Saxon kingdom?

There was never a kingdom of “West Anglia”. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that joined up to form England were Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex.


How far can you get from the sea without leaving the United Kingdom?

The UK has such a wiggly coastline that you cannot get away from the sea. This helps to explain why it was such a seafaring nation, as it had plenty of coastline but almost no warm beaches to lie on!


What do Thame Park, Arisaig, and Beaulieu House have in common?

During World War Two, a number of stately homes and estates were requisitioned by the government for use as hospitals, codebreaking facilities, and more. Spies destined to join the Special Operations Executive would train at Thame Park, on the estate of Arisaig, and in cottages on the Beaulieu estate on the South Coast.


In what county does the Duke of Devonshire live?

Chatsworth House is the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, but it is in Derbyshire. This seems to be mainly a result of where the Cavendish family, holders of the title, happened to have land, which did not relate to the title that was given to their ancestor!


Which of the below is NOT one of the ridings of Yorkshire?

Yorkshire is a northerly county that has been divided into three “Ridings” - East, West, and North. There is no south riding. However, there is a diverse array of industrial history there, as well as some of the most beautiful churches and landscapes in the UK.


Which British author can reasonably claim to be the bestselling novelist of all time?

The creator of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot is the bestselling novelist, with some billions of books sold in dozens of languages. Christie’s work has also been adapted multiple times in multiple territories, and even those who have never read her work are at least somewhat familiar with it.


How many kings of England were named Aethelred?

While there is a convention in some quarters to refer to the king commonly called Aethelred The Unready by the title Aethelred II, this isn't correct. The first king named Aethelred was not the King of England, but only the King of Wessex. As the numbering convention of Kings is confined to their nation, Aethelred "Unrad" should be called "King Aethelred of England, first of his name".


For which surprising queen is an ancient monument on the Victoria Embankment in London named?

There are monuments all over the UK to its many queens, but there are also plenty of imported monuments, such as Cleopatra’s Needle on the Embankment in London. Some were looted, while others were legitimately purchased and brought back to the UK.


All true Brits love to go blackberry picking in the right season. But what other popular feature of British gardens is a cousin of the humble blackberry?

Blackberries may be mostly grown wild (and they really do show up everywhere in the UK), but they have some fancy domestic relatives. Roses, apricots, almonds and more belong to the same family. Indeed, disease-resistant “roseberry” plants have been bred to help roses borrow genes from their tougher relatives.


Roughly how much land did the British Empire cover at its height?

The British Empire was short lived by the standards of some historical empires, but it made up for this with its enormous size. It was so vast that the sun never set upon it, and it covered a quarter of the world at the same time. This is even more impressive when you allow that this number does NOT include the USA!


What did the ladies-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots’ have in common?

Mary, Queen of Scots, was mostly raised in France, but she had four Franco-Scottish ladies-in-waiting to attend her there. They were called Mary Steno, Mary Fleming, Mary Beaton, and Mary Seton.


What is the oldest item among The Crown Jewels?

Likely the most valuable spoon in the world, the spoon used to anoint the new monarch is just over 10 and one half inches long, and is beautifully engraved. Known to date to at least 1349, the spoon has survived in the collection while other objects, including Saint Edward's Staff, were destroyed and had to be remade.


What is the oldest recorded battlefield in Britain?

When the Normans took England, their historians quickly created a new category for the Norman kings, calling the time before 1066 "Time Immemorial" and giving kings from before 1066 adjectives, and the kings thereafter, numbers. It is thus no great surprise that few remember much of The Battle of Maldon, fought on the edge of the seaside village of Maldon, Essex.


What is the friendliest thing about British television?

Early CRT televisions were too slow to produce progressive images without a visible flicker. To overcome this, America, which had TV before the UK, used a video format called NTSC. It overcame this foible by interlacing video; writing one in five lines until reaching the bottom, then doing the same for the second and sixth lines and so on. Adopting TV once CRTs had improved, the UK adopted a progressive format called PAL. Friendly, no?


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