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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales

What are Britain’s National Emblems?

What are the Symbols of England, Scotland and Wales?


Each country in Britain has its own patron saint and floral emblem:

England - St. George and the Rose
The national flower of England is the rose.
The flower has been adopted as England’s emblem since the time of the Wars of the Roses - civil wars (1455-1485) between the royal house of Lancaster (whose emblem was a red rose) and the royal house of York (whose emblem was a white rose).

Scotland - St. Andrew - the Thistle and Scottish Bluebell
The national flower of Scotland is
the thistle, a prickly-leaved purple flower which was first used in the 15th century as a symbol of defence. The Scottish Bluebell is also seen as the flower of Scotland.

Wales - St. David and the Daffodil
The national flower of Wales is the daffodil,
which is traditionally worn on St. David’s Day. The vegetable called leek is also considered to be a traditional emblem of Wales.

There are many explanations of how the leek came to be adopted as the national emblem of Wales. One is that St David advised the Welsh, on the eve of battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps to distinguish friend from foe. As Shakespeare records in Henry V, the Welsh archers wore leeks at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

Northern Ireland - St. Patrick and the Shamrock
The national flower of Northern Ireland is the shamrock,
a three-leaved plant similar to clover. An Irish tale tells of how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The Royal Coat of Arms carry the symbols representing England, Scotland and Ireland, the Sovereign's motto and the lion and the unicorn. Find out more


When you think of England and the rest of Britain what images appear in your mind?

Red double-decker buses and black taxis are a typical sight on London's busy roads.
What other things are typically English and British?

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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