Queen’s Birthday


Welcome and let’s celebrate the Queen’s Birthday by planning out trip to Britain. Completing this demo module may help get you a good grade from your teacher at school. Also, here is your chance to work with Colin Ellis, a British teacher working in Edinburgh. 


  1. Read the text below.
  2. Answer five comprehension questions.
  3. Explain the meaning of the 10 phrases in bold.
  4. Write a paragraph on a related topic.


We will ask you to email your answers to one of our teachers. Please enrol for Queen’s Birthday Project first at http://englishonline.naukabezgranic.pl/zapisy/ Colin, Georgina or Jay will be in touch with you and you will be able to send them your answers. Finally they will get back to you with their comments.


It is very likely that soon you will want to visit Britain. Here’s what you should know before you go.


Read the text below.


1.    Planning your visit

Britain has a huge number of places, buildings and events with historical associations. To list them all would be impossible, but a good place to begin is the local tourist office. Most towns or cities have one, and they will be happy to supply you with all the information you need to make your stay interesting and worthwhile - and lots of it will be free of charge. Many tourist attractions do charge for admission, though, so be sure to plan your visit in advance. The main tourist website for Britain is http://www.visitbritain.com/en/EN/   and for Scotland: http://www.visitscotland.com/. They won’t be able to guarantee that you’ll see the Queen during your visit – although if you’re in London or Edinburgh at the right time of year, you may be lucky…

2.    The Royal Family

The British royal family is always very much at the centre of public attention. You can buy postcards with Prince William, Prince Harry and the Queen in any souvenir shop in case you want to send one to your granny. You can always find stories about them in the newspapers, but there are also a few facts you may not know. Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as the Commonwealth realms, and their territories and dependencies, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. The British royal family has always been very international and for a long time was called Saxe-Coburg and Gotha but since 1917 the name used has been House of Windsor. In fact, if you asked a member of the royal family to show you their passport you would see ‘Windsor’ given as the surname. Prince Charles has written a book for children, so look under ‘W’ in a bookshop. The British have a lot of respect for the royals which is probably due to the fact that the Queen is a very polite, intelligent and likeable person (she is cleverer than she looks).  In many ways they are like any other family. They fall madly in love, they get divorced and they sunbathe topless and then complain about the paparazzi. Though not every family has their own website: http://www.royal.gov.uk/ 

3.    Food

Don’t worry about British food – it’s not as bad as people often think. If you have plenty of money and you’re in London or Edinburgh, you’ll be able to choose from a huge variety of restaurants with many different kinds of food, both British and foreign. If you’re on a budget, don’t think that you’ll have to choose between fish and chip shops and burger bars (although the leading chain of „comfort food” shops in British high streets, Greggs (http://www.greggs.co.uk/), is fine if you’re really hard-up). If you like Indian, Chinese or Italian food there’s a good chance that, wherever you may be in Britain, there will be a restaurant, cafe or takeaway not too far away. Most cities and towns now have sandwich bars for people who prefer to eat a quick lunch, and these are popular with both workers and students. Supermarkets also offer their own „meal deals”, consisting of a sandwich, a soft drink and a snack, although they vary in quality. You can check out the prices at http://www.sainsburys.co.uk or http://www.tesco.com/ before you go. For something a bit more civilised, traditional and British, try afternoon tea in a hotel or tea shop. Some pubs also offer daytime meals and the „pub lunch” is another possibility.

4.    Public transport

Public transport in Britain is usually clean, safe and reliable. Buses are cheapest; most cities and towns have bus services, and it’s normally possible to buy a ticket from the driver when you get on (though you must have small change). If you’re staying in one place for more than a few days it’s best to get a bus pass. This can be much cheaper in the long run, as you often get unlimited travel for the duration of the pass – quite important if you’re sightseeing or going out in the evenings. Buses are also the cheapest way to travel around the country, although they’re sometimes slow and can get stuck in traffic if you’re travelling in the daytime. Trains are faster, but the rail system can be very confusing, as trains on the network are operated by private companies, who sell tickets for their own trains but don’t co-operate with their rivals. Ticket prices are also very complicated - standard rail fares between, for example, London and Manchester, are more expensive than air tickets on the same route! Fortunately, you can buy cheaper tickets, called „savers” or „super savers”, in advance, and a good way of doing this is via the website http://www.thetrainline.com, which will show you the cheapest option for your chosen journey.

5.    Communicating with the British

British people are famous for being bad at foreign languages, so you’ll have to practise your English while you’re here! You could also be surprised by the way many local people speak – there are many accents in the UK which can be very different from the English you’ve learned at school. But if you’re polite and say „please” and „thank you” you’ll make a good impression on older, educated people (some young British people can be rude!), and shop assistants will try to help you if your English isn’t perfect.  


Answer the 5 comprehension questions

  1. Where can you look for information when planning your visit to the UK?
  2. What is Queen Elizabeth II surname?
  3. What is a meal deal?
  4. What is the cheapest way of travelling round the UK?
  5. What two words will help you in your communication with the British?


Find the following expressions in the text and comment briefly on what you think they mean:

  1. to make your stay interesting and worthwhile
  2. complain about the paparazzi
  3. if you’re on a budget
  4. „comfort food”
  5. if you’re really hard-up
  6. try afternoon tea in a hotel or tea shop
  7. best to get a bus pass
  8. can get stuck in traffic
  9. standard rail fares
  10. make a good impression on older, educated people


Write a short text entitled ‘Visiting Poland’



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