Drinking a cup of tea
Drinking a cup of tea ©

British Council

Britain and India’s histories have long been intertwined and still remain strongly so. India has made a huge contribution to British culture down the years and vice versa. From our favourite hot drink, to our favourite musicians, Britain would not be the country it is today without India’s influence.

Join us as we take a look at just a few things the British love India for.


Tea is an unshakeable institution in Britain, and it is all thanks to our relationship with India. Britons rely on tea to start the day, to cement friendships, to get through the hard times. It’s hard to believe, but tea only rose in popularity in Britain over the last century, even though it is a staple of everyday life for Brits now.

A staggering 165 million cups of tea are drunk in a single day in the UK.

Gin and tonic

There is currently an ongoing gin and tonic craze in the UK that shows no signs of letting up. Last year alone, gin sales rose twelve per cent as it became the nation’s favourite cocktail.

There has also been a blossoming in designer tonic waters, some with added flavours, that Brits cannot seem to get enough of.

Tonic water only came about in an attempt to fight malaria. The British East India company realised that quinine helped prevent the disease - but the taste was awful. Adding lime, water, sugar and gin seemed to ease the taste... hence one of the UK’s most popular tipples was born!

Indian food

It’s no secret that Brits are obsessed with Indian food, with most cities, towns and villages boasting numerous Indian restaurants. Faced with cold, dark winter nights, Britons have realised that a warming curry does just the trick. In areas like London, there are more and more Indian restaurants opening up all the time, offering authentic Indian dishes as well as British ‘interpretations’.

Freddie Mercury

We’ve all heard his timeless mock operatic rock masterpiece ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Freddie Mercury, from the phenomenally popular band, Queen is one of the indisputable legends of British music - and we have India to thank for him!

Mercury was born to Indian parents in colonial Zanzibar and named Farrokh Bulsara. It was while at boarding school in Bombay (now Mumbai) he learned the piano, laying the foundations for the musical genius he would go on to share with the world.

Freddie Mercury is widely recognised as a pioneer in the music industry. Watch out for the new movie about his life coming out at the end of the year!


Yoga started in Northern India over five thousands years ago, but in the last twenty years or so it has become unbelievably popular in the UK.

Did you know that yoga was one of the most searched for words on Google in the UK in 2016?

Life in the UK can be busy and stressful, with the meditative practice of yoga helping to counteract that. With millions of Britons spending hours and hours a day at their desks in front computers, the calming and restorative practice of yoga is just what the body needs.

The rare Himalayan Blue poppy flower that will adorn British Council's India garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

A Billion Dreams

We're at the Chelsea Flower Show this week with its first-ever India-inspired garden!

Titled India: A Billion Dreams, the garden is an ode to India-UK's shared love of cricket, and to the greatest cricketer of all time Sachin Tendulkar! The garden is designed by Sarah Eberle who got inspired by the hopes and dreams of young people in India.

It has been nominated or the BBC/RHS People's Choice Award!

We need your help to win, so VOTE NOW to show your love for cricket. Voting will be closed at 1.00 p.m IST, Friday 25 May

#InspiredbyIndia #RHSChelsea

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