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British English Accents – 1. Cockney Accent

What comes into your mind first when you think about a British Accent? Most people would easily think about the accents you hear in ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Britain really does have lots of different accents. Even inside of London, you’ll find people with a Cockney accent, an Estuary accent, a Neutral accent, and RP (Received Pronunciation) aka they speak with a posh accent. You can actually hear it in the famous film called ‘Kings man’ or the series ‘Game of Thrones’. If you have already watched ‘Kings man’, have you noticed the difference between ‘Eggsy’s’ (played Taron Egerton) and ‘Harry’s’ (Colin Firth) accent? You can hear that Eggsy has Cockney accent and Harry has a posh accent there.

British accent

What’s a cockney accent?

A cockney accent is traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. In 1980s and 1990s, it had become part of South East English in London and it is also known as Estuary English. Apparently Cockney Rhyming slang was originally made to use like a secret code so that other listeners could not understand. Some of Cockney slang expressions are now in popular use all over Britain, not only in London. Also it is used by a lot of young people, not only working-class people. If you don’t know these slangs, you wouldn’t understand even a single sentence. For example, “let’s have a butchers mate.” Can you guess what it means? This ‘Butchers’ is from ‘Butcher’s hook’, and ‘Butcher’s’ means “Look” in Cockney Rhyming Slang. I will give you some more examples that are quite commonly used especially among young people.

  • China plate = Mate (“Hey, my china!”)
  • Apple and pear = Stairs (Get your arse up the apples!)
  • Adam and eve = Believe (Oh my god, do you adam and eve it?)
  • Barnet-Fair = hair. (Look at my new barnet!)
  • Bird-lime = time. (Oh! sorry I don’t have bird)
  • Britney Spears = Beers (Let’s have britney tonight!)
  • Bees and honey – money (“Can you lend me some bees? I am totally broke.”)
  • Twist and twirl = girl (“I will take the twist out tonight.”)
  • Ones and twos = shoes (“Get your ones on, we are going out now!”)
  • Tea leaf = thief (“Some tea-leaf nicked my wallet!”)
  • Porky pies= lies (“my ex-boyfriend was full of porky pies.”)
  • Storm and strife = wife (“Guys sorry I have to go. The storm is on the way.”)
  • Loaf of bread = head (“Get your loaf out of the clouds!”)
  • Custard and jelly = telly (“Stop watching the custard and do your homework!”
  • Mince pies = eyes (“I don’t think she is lying. Take a look her mince pies.”)
  • Bottle and glass = arse (bottle = Aristotle,  Aristotle = aris = arse) (“Get your bottle up and go out right now”)
  • Boat race = face (“I punched him in the boat.”)

There are come famous celebrities who have a cockney accent. Do you know whom?

David Beckham (Football player)

British accent


Adele (Singer)

British accent


Michael Caine (Actor)

British accent


David Bowie (Singer)

British accent


Maggie Smith (Actress)

British accent


Have you recognized some of these celebrities already? Well, if you would like to hear their sound, have a “Butcher’s” at some of their interviews, then you will notice that they are Cockneys.

Interesting? I will introduce more British accent next time. Until then, enjoy your “Bird” and stay tuned for our next blog post my “china!”

Rules and Manners on public transport in the UK!

‘Manners Maketh Man’ what a famous line from the movie (‘KingsMan’). It is more than true for British people. In Britain, it is historically important that you should keep strict rules and good manners in both body language and speech and you have to apply it on public transport in the UK.

British rules and manners are the most important things that you should keep in your mind, literally at ALL TIMES. Queueing, compromising your turn, saying please and thank you, and sorry whenever appropriate, these are essential tips to get along with the Brits.

Today, we will learn about public transport in the UK.

What pops up first in your mind when you think of English transport? Yes they drive on the left! Anything else? The red double-decker bus in London? or the classic black cabs?

When you come to Bournemouth where our main World Choice Education office is, there are crucial rules and manners on public transport that you should keep and follow as they could be totally different to those in your country’.

This blog post will attempt to teach you some of the essential rules and manners on public transport.


1. British drive left!

public transport in the UK

Foreign students should be extremely careful whenever they cross the road in the UK, especially if they are not used to looking right before they cross. Have you ever been freaked out crossing the road because a car suddenly showed up on your right? Yes, I know, me too, everybody I know has been through it at least once and thankfully they are still alive. If you are in the UK, make sure that you look to your right as all cars drive left here!


2. Belisha beacon

public transport in the UK

If you see this orange coloured ball with a flashing light on a striped post on thew pavement, you are allowed to feel free to cross the pavement without worrying too much about getting run over by a car.

This special traffic light gives pedestrians priority over vehicular traffic. However, if you want to cross the road where there is no Belisha beacon or any zebra crossings, UK drivers will usually give way to pedestrians but you may be honked at. If a driver does give way to let you cross and is nice enough not to honk you, then we hope you won’t forget to thank the driver by lifting your hand slightly as if to wave.

public transport in the UK


3. Ride a bicycle only in the driveway!

public transport in the UK

public transport in the UKAre you a cyclist? When you decide to ride your bicycle, you shouldn’t use a pedestrian lane here. Remember a couple of crucial hand signals when you ride a bike in the UK. When you turn on the left or right, you need to show the signal by hands. And of course you have to ride on left! If you don’t feel comfortable to take off one of your hands from the handle or cycling on the left, well then… I highly recommend you just get on the bus as your life must be more precious than looking cool! Safety above anything else!


4. Please queue up, say hello and thank the driver when getting on the bus/train!

public transport in the UKHave you ever tried to catch a bus, but the bus just passed you? Maybe the reason you missed the bus is because you didn’t stick your hand out to stop the bus. 

Before you board, you need to let passengers exit first. And then please compromise your turn for the people with prams, people in wheelchairs, or seniors by saying “after you” or signal using hand gestures to give way.

When you get on the bus, say ‘hello’, ‘Hi’ ‘Good morning’ to the driver, and say ‘thank you’ when getting off the bus. 


These rules and manners on public transports in the UK will ensure you don’t get into any trouble, or offend anyone.  Now are you ready to come to Bournemouth and find World Choice Education office? We are located in the very centre of Bournemouth. Do not forget all the tips you learned from this blog post because keeping safe on the road is essential! We look forward to the possibility of seeing you very soon.

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