Chelsea boots, black cabs and bacon baps — Great British exports

With terrible weather, the huff and puff about recession and a tendency to moan about everything, it’s a wonder why millions of tourists still visit Britain each year. Or is it?

Keeping the ‘Great’ well and truly connected to ‘Britain’ is what gives visitors pukka British products and experiences to take away.

Here’s a taste of some great unofficial British exports:

Bacon baps

bacon bap

The Great British breakfast goes mobile
Photo: Joe Gough -

For the more health conscious tourists, there’s porridge, cereals or a lovely slice of toast, but sometimes you need to submit to the grease.

Known to turn veggies and stop traffic, the Great British fry-up has built empires. And for those on the move or after something just a little bit lighter, the bacon bap offers the true taste of Britain.

Black cabs

London Black Cab

The King of Cabs - London Taxis
Photo: Monkey Business Images

There are taxis and then there’s the black cab. Right up there with the red bus as an iconic symbol of London, the black cab is a durable, hard-working beast, but still manages to always look smart and dignified.

Keep calm and carry on — is a fitting motto for the black cab.

Chelsea boots

chelsea boots

The classic British boot
Photo: Samuel Windsor

Among the huge selection of iconic shoes created in Britain, Chelsea boots step into the limelight as the soul of Great Britain.

Created in the inventive Victorian era, Chelsea boots are flexible, robust and stylishly conservative — just like the population.

Sunday lunches

Sunday Roast

Sensational Sunday roast
Photo: Chris Elwell -

Filled with random things like dartboards, whippets and pork scratchings, British pubs are a truly memorable experience for tourists.

Throw in a roast beef and horseradish lunch, the Sunday newspapers and a game of rugby or football on the telly and it don’t get much greater.


British Countryside

Beautiful British Countryside
Photo: Kevin Eaves -

Whether it’s the Highlands of Scotland, the valleys of Wales or the coastlines of Cornwall, Great Britain’s dramatic countryside is arguably the most beautiful in the world.

And the small villages and rural communities around these areas offer some great British novelties like Morris dancing, caber-tossing and a taste of Welsh rarebit.

Great music

top of the pops

Great Britain is still top of the pops

From the Rolling Stones to Radiohead, from PJ Harvey to PJ and Duncan, nowhere in the world has produced such an incredibly impressive wealth and variety of music talent.

Compare Great Britain to a country of relative size like New Zealand and it’s quite astonishing just how much brilliant music has been created.

Handsome handmade shoes

In a world of mass-produced and factory-made footwear, it’s a refreshing sight to see a pair of handsome handmade shoes.

Using natural materials, imagination and some traditional techniques, a shoemaker creates functional masterpieces for our feet.

Sometimes the results look so good, you won’t know whether to wear them or frame them on the wall.

hand knitted shoes

Hand knitted shoes
Photo by Amy Gizienski

joker shoe

Hand made joker shoe
Photo by Keith Williamson

snow shoes

Hand woven snow shoes
Photo by Mary Anne Enriquez

Hand painted shoes

Hand painted shoes
Photo by Shannon Kringen

woollen shoes

Hand moulded shoes
Photo by Inger Maaike

wooden shoes

Hand chiseled shoes
Photo by Sicko Atze van Dijk

straw shoes

Hand sewn shoes
Photo by Shi Yali

Khussa HandMade Shoes

Hand decorated shoes
Photo by Amir Taj

The million-dollar question for mens shoes – black or brown?

brown and black shoes 500

The big shoe dilemma - black or brown?

To be or not to be, red or black, Deal or no Deal? Indeed man has faced many great dilemmas through history and will undoubtedly face many more in the future. Yet no dilemma will ever challenge that which passes through the minds of shoe wearers around the globe — black or brown?

Flexibility — matching or clashing?

different mens shoes

Matching or clashing?

Whether it be blue jeans or white chinos, men’s black shoes are unrivalled for flexibility — quite simply, they will go with just about anything. Brown shoes on the other hand, err foot, are a little bit particular about what they’re associated with and clashes with certain colours are common. If you want flexibility, go back to black.

Style — cool or fool?

mens pimp suit

Look cool or be a fool?

When it comes to style, brown shoes have a certain je ne sais quoi and offer that touch of class needed to set off an outfit. Though there is most definitely a danger of getting it horribly wrong and looking like a pimp at a funeral. Black shoes offer a subtle kiss of style and won’t let you down, but sometimes they play it too safe and aren’t even noticed.

Occasion — sheep or wolf?

interview shoes

Rebellious or regimented?

There’s a misconception that the occasion dictates the colour of the shoe, but that isn’t necessarily the case. If it’s a funeral, then sure black shoes are your best bet, and this may also be the best option for the majority of job interviews. With everything else from weddings to creative job interviews, well it depends on what you’re wearing or how you’re feeling, but black tends to be more uniform and brown more rebellious.

Distinction — blend or rustle

brown shoes blend

Blend in or stand out? - Photo by Ed Yourdon

Make no mistake, brown shoes will steal the show when you first walk into a room — infusing the wearer with an air of distinction, but sometimes stealing the show from the wearer himself. Black shoes might seem unspectacular in comparison and sure they can blend into any party without a second glance. However shine those beauties up and match them with the right clobber, and they’ll give brown shoes a fight.

Character — you talking to me or would you like to talk to me?

black shoes

Mob boss or bohemian? - Photo by Jonathan Cohen

Black and brown shoes certainly give off different signals; intensified even more by the type of person who is wearing them. From mob bosses to nightclub bouncers to the police force, one might be forgiven for thinking black shoes have an intimidating, no-nonsense approach. Brown shoes tend to be on the feet of bohemian beatniks and artists, academics and librarians and posers and playboys.

Of course you don’t have to be any of the above to enjoy either colour — just remember it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it.