Customs and Culture of England
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Customs and Culture of England

If you are traveling abroad for business, study abroad, or vacation it is important to have an understanding of the local etiquette and customs. The following article covers basic etiquette and customs in business, meeting and greeting, gift giving. The following will help soften the blow of culture shock. Enjoy your stay in England.

Whether you visiting England for study abroad, business or vacation, it is important to be aware of what to expect as far as the culture and customs. To lessen your chances of culture shock, here is a guide to the culture and customs of England.

Greetings and Communications

When meeting someone for the first time, men and women usually shake hands. Politeness is highly valued in English culture. It is not unusual to hear “please” or “thank you.”  The English tend to be indirect than direct. Therefore, being too straight forward could be considered inpolite in some situations.  When communicating, you should be mindful about your tone of voice or facial expressions. This may indicate to the person you are conversing with what is really being conveyed. When addressing someone, you should call them by their title and surname. It is best to avoid calling a person by their nickname.  You should allow the person to invite you to refer to them by their first name. If not, it is best to call them by their proper title. 

Business Etiquette

If you are traveling to England for business you should be aware that the English value being well-dressed and groomed. Men should wear dark or medium colored suits, dress shirts, and conservative ties. Men should avoid wearing striped or flamboyant ties. Women usually wear stylish but classic business suits or dresses. When attending a business meeting, here are a few points to keep in mind.

  • Arrive on time for business meetings and appointments. Business meetings tend to be structured. However, meetings begin and end with small talk. 
  • When direct questions are asked during negotiations, the English tend to give indirect responses. Therefore, don’t be too aggressive or persuasive. 

Business Cards

When traveling to England for business, make sure you bring business cards to give to colleagues at meetings. Although there is no specific method on how to give business cards, do not bend or write on them. 

Gift Giving

It is not necessary to give gifts at a business meetings. However, if you are invited to someone’s home it is appropriate to bring flowers. When giving flowers, avoid lilies because they are used for funerals. Other acceptable gifts include good quality chocolate and fine wine. You should make sure that your gift is neatly wrapped and presentable. 


“England.”   Culture Crossing.  (Accessed May 29, 2011).

King, Tamiya.  “Business Etiquette in England.”   (Accessed May 29, 2011). 

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