Fish and chips, roast dinners and Sir David Attenborough - the best things to ever come out of the UK, according to Brits

  • Fish and chips, roast dinners and Sir David Attenborough are the best things ever to come out of the UK, according to Brits
  • Santander UK research highlights the importance of international trade to UK companies – 48% currently trade internationally and 86% of these say it is critical to business
  • British companies reveal what it takes to make it overseas, including top tips for international success
  • Scotland-based e-retailer Snag Group shares its experience of trading internationally


Fish and chips, roast dinners and Sir David Attenborough have topped the list of the best things ever to come out of the UK, according to Brits. 

In new research by Santander UK1, Brits have named the top 20 things to come out of the UK as: 
1.    Fish and chips
2.    Roast dinners
3.    Sir David Attenborough     
4.    Full English breakfast    
5.    The internet
6.    Cadbury chocolate
7.    Cheddar Cheese
8.    William Shakespeare     
9.    The Beatles     
10.    Queen     
11.    James Bond    
12.    BBC
13.    The sandwich
14.    Sir Stephen Hawking
15.    Afternoon tea     
16.    The Royal Family    
17.    Marks & Spencer (M&S)     
18.    Rolls-Royce cars 
19.    Sherlock Holmes
20.    David Bowie 

Many in the top 20 have put the UK on the global map, being well known, well used and much-loved in countries spanning the globe. Santander UK’s research has also shed light on Brits’ pride in their nation’s greatest ‘exports’ - 82% of those polled think some of the best things in the world have originated in the UK.

As well as being a source of pride, British exports play a significant role in the day-to-day success of UK companies. Santander UK’s research2 shows that many businesses in the UK see international trade as vital. In the UK, 48% of companies surveyed currently trade internationally, and 86% of these said it was critical to their business. The most-cited countries they trade in are France (42%), the USA (42%) and Germany (39%). But international success doesn’t happen by chance. 

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK said: “A lot of research, hard work, perseverance, and adaptation go into transforming home-grown British goods and services into exports that resonate with consumers abroad and take off internationally. It also pays to have the right contacts in place - be they in-country retailers or distributors - to make sure UK-produced products and services have visibility overseas and get into the hands of buyers quickly and efficiently.”

The most common adaptations and measures UK businesses have undertaken to ensure their success overseas are:

  • Increased their social media presence (30%).
  • Marketed and advertised differently (29%).
  • Changed the pricing structure (29%).
  • Offered more products or services (29%).

It isn’t all plain sailing, as local businesses worked hard to overcome the common challenges of extra costs (31%), shipping and transport costs (30%), language barriers (30%) and shipping and transport rules and regulations (30%).

Of the UK companies that don’t currently trade overseas, the most common reasons behind this are the beliefs that their business is too small (35%) and that their products and services are unsuitable for an overseas market (19%). Despite this, 41% of these businesses aspire to take their products and services overseas in future. However, only 13% have a plan in place to make this happen. They say less red tape (21%), grants (20%), and education to understand the rules and regulations (18%) would encourage them to take their business international.

A significant number of UK companies are positive about trading abroad, with 58% agreeing ‘the future is bright for British businesses operating internationally’. Contributing to this optimism are their beliefs that there is now freedom from EU regulation (45%), consumers are supporting British businesses more (44%), and the world is becoming easier to trade in and increasingly opening up business opportunities (39%). 

Santander UK’s research has also revealed UK business owners’ and decision makers’ top tips for international trade success:

  • Ensure there’s a market for your product or service before you start (30%).
  • Ensure your UK business is doing well first (27%).
  • Invest in obtaining market intelligence on your sector in the country you want to trade in (23%).
  • Have a Plan B (21%).
  • Adapt your product or service so it suits the local market and complies with in-country regulations  (20%).
  • Hire employees who speak the language of the country you are entering (20%).

Inclusive clothing e-retailer Snag Group is a Scotland-headquartered company for which overseas trade is crucial. Now in its fifth year of trading, international sales represent 50% of all sales for the business, which sells recyclable hosiery and clothing for people of all sizes direct through its websites. With customers in 90 countries, Snag Group plans to expand sales further in the US, and key to this has been the acquisition - with support from Santander UK - of a new warehouse in Livingston, which significantly increases its capacity to store, process and package stock.

Snag Group Founder and CEO Brie Read said: “We began selling our products internationally through our website soon after we began operating and three years in, over half of our sales were overseas. With Brexit looming and the uncertainty that came with it, we decided to establish a warehouse in the Netherlands to ensure we could get our products to international customers quickly and efficiently. Localisation has been imperative to our international growth. Other measures crucial to success are offering payment service providers that are trusted within each different country and giving our customers the full Snag experience, from localised websites and communications to having native speakers available within our customer service teams. Having our website available in native languages has increased our conversion rate within Europe alone from 4% to 8%. My advice to UK companies considering taking their business international is that it may seem like a mammoth task but there’s so much fantastic help available to support you. Lots of research and an ‘all-hands-on deck’ approach are necessary, but it’s well worth knowing that your customers are benefiting like our Snagglers!”

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK added: “It’s clear from the research that international trade can play a crucial role in helping UK businesses to emerge from the pandemic and get back to growth and with the right support and partners, these internationally trading businesses can thrive. Later this year, we will be launching a new online platform, where we will share our years of experience and knowledge in one place to help UK businesses with tailored support to find their way when expanding overseas. We’re here to help these businesses with support that goes beyond banking as they navigate the challenges.”

Santander’s international team has dedicated market specialists that have access to extensive local networks and knowledge around the world, and a long track record of helping businesses implement their international growth strategies. This support ranges from working with them to identify new markets, helping them with shipping and logistics options, and organising virtual trade missions to introducing businesses to trusted local partners, potential new customers and vital networks in key destinations. For more information on the international support available, visit:


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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

For more information about the international support Santander UK provides British businesses please visit:

For more information about Snag Group please visit:


Notes to Editors
1) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 UK adults, nationally representative, on 14-20 January 2022.
2) Research is drawn from a survey conducted by OnePoll of 1,000 UK business owners and decision makers on 14-25 January 2022.