The 8 things that Americans don’t understand when they visit UK

TWO UK hospitality experts have revealed the eight things Americans don’t understand when visiting the UK.

Laura and Nathan Curton have personally hosted American vacationers in their thatched 18th-century English cottage for the past three years.

Hospitality experts have revealed the seven things Americans are unaware of when visiting the UK


Hospitality experts have revealed the seven things Americans are unaware of when visiting the UKPhoto credit: Getty

As part of their English Cottage Vacation experience, the couple offer bespoke all-inclusive and luxury vacations.

Over the years, they have helped numerous American tourists make their vacation dreams come true.

Along the way, they’ve clocked the eight things that often baffle Americans holidaying in the UK.

The main road

According to Laura and Nathan, Americans cannot quite understand what is meant by the phrase “The High Street”.

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Nathan told Sun Online Travel: “You never understand what I’m saying when I mention The High Street.

“That’s because there really aren’t any high streets in the United States.”

Laura added: “We’re basically declaring the High Street to be the main shopping area in the city centre.”

For those who don’t know, a high street is usually a row of shops in UK city centers where you’ll find clothing stores, restaurants and other businesses.

A pound

No matter where you are abroad, money can cause some language problems – and the same is true on the other side of the pond.

Nathan said, “One thing I need to explain is what is meant by a quid.

“When I tell holidaymakers that something costs £10 or £20, I get surprised looks.

“Although the British know what a dollar means, the word quid often confuses tourists.

“I usually tell them it’s a pound’s nickname.”

Savory cakes

What could be more British than a hearty slice of a savory cake?

But even a good meal can cause a lot of confusion between the two nations.

Nathan added, “Our guests always ask about the food and often don’t know the difference between shepherd’s pie and cottage pie.

“You don’t understand the difference between the two options.

“We have to explain that shepherd’s pie is lamb and cottage pie is beef – otherwise the rest of the pie is exactly the same.”

Go away

In addition to driving on the opposite side of the road, the language used to describe the road also differs.

Nathan said, “Even though we speak the same language, there are many words that are just different.”

When greeting their guests, Laura and Nathan are always asked where the sidewalk is.

They continued, “Pavement is a confusing word because it’s called sidewalk in America, but Americans never really get it.”

“Many Americans we’ve met call the middle of the street the sidewalk, which often adds to the confusion.”

fanny pack

Fashion is another point of confusion between Americans and Brits.

Laura said: “Bumbag is a fun one.

“They don’t know that Brits don’t call their bottoms their fannys, so they don’t know the name for a fanny pack is changing.

“We have a so-called belt bag instead.”

parking garages

Nathan and Laura said many of their guests have commented that British words can be more self-explanatory, and one of those is parking.

A car park is simply a car park – this is where Brits often park their cars to shop on the High Street.

A full English breakfast

The hospitality professionals are asked many questions about British food while entertaining their customers.

Laura said: “Most Americans don’t realize that we don’t have a full English breakfast every morning.

“It would be too much to cook and way too heavy.

“But we often serve a full English breakfast when you stay with us.”

Instead of a full English meal, Brits are likely to eat a bowl of cereal, toast, crumpets or porridge.

phone booths

The last thing Laura and Nathan’s customers realized about Britain is the telephone boxes and what they are used for.

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Nathan said, “You often don’t realize that the phone booths don’t contain phones.

“Instead, they are used to store defibrillators or as book exchange zones — especially in the countryside where we live.”

Most Americans don't know that a pound is slang for a pound


Most Americans don’t know that a pound is slang for a poundPhoto credit: Getty The 8 things that Americans don’t understand when they visit UK

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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