Paddington’s how to be a British bear etiquette guide

Thursday 01 January 1970

Paddington is a very polite and well-mannered bear, having been taught by his Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo. We’ve come up with some guidelines we think Paddington would approve of for anyone who wants to brush up on their British etiquette.

Manners

Paddington Sat on a suitcase with a cup of tea

Paddington’s well-known politeness is something that should definitely be emulated by grown-ups and children alike. If you find yourself out and about here’s how best to avoid any social faux pas:

Make sure never to forget to say please and thank you. Always offer to share your marmalade sandwiches with others first, before eating one yourself. You can’t go wrong saying ‘Good day’ to strangers. Sir and Madam are the best way to address someone you don’t know, especially if you can’t pronounce their name.

Topics of conversation

Paddington Bear with his suitcase waving

The weather is always a great topic of conversation in Britain.  You’re sure to be off to a fine start conversing with any local if you touch on the changeable precipitation.  Some useful phrases to help you get started:
‘Real brolly buster today isn’t it’
‘It’s raining cats and dogs’
‘Perfect weather for ducks’

Afternoon tea etiquette

Afternoon Tea with London's Tower Bridge as back drop. - ©VisitBritain, Team London Bridge, Mickey Lee Photography
Afternoon Tea with London's Tower Bridge. Image credited to ©VisitBritain, Team London Bridge, Mickey Lee Photography

More an institution now than a pastime, afternoon tea is an acceptable and respectable way to spend your afternoon. With an occasion like this comes strict protocol which must be adhered to. Ignore these at your peril:
One must not drink tea from the spout of the teapot, this is considered very rude. Do not lick cream off the scones, this is also considered rude. Talking with one’s mouth full of cucumber sandwich is also not acceptable. A hard stare is the best solution for people who have forgotten their manners. Ketchup is not an acceptable addition to afternoon tea.

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