What foreigners think of Britain: We drink too much but our manners are good

British Prime Minister David Cameron sinks a pint of Guinness. Credit: PA

What do people abroad think of British people? Britons drink too much but are polite and well-educated, according to a new survey.

Some 5,000 people aged 18-34 in Brazil, China, Germany, India and the USA were asked for their opinions of Britain.

The results are as follows:

Best British characteristics

  • Politeness and good manners

  • Educated and skilled

  • Friendly

  • Respect rule of law

  • Sense of humour

Oxford and Cambridge universities are among the most prestigious in the world. Credit: PA

Worst British characteristics

  • Drinking too much

  • Bad eating habits

  • Ignorant of other cultures

  • Too nationalistic

  • Intolerant towards people from other countries

Foreigners think British people drink too much. Credit: PA

Name someone associated with Britain

  • William Shakespeare

  • The Queen

  • David Beckham

David Beckham was the third best-known Britain behind the Queen and William Shakespeare. Credit: PA

A wider survey that included young adults in Britain as well as the other five countries showed that, in terms of overall "attractiveness", the UK was ranked second only to the USA, sharing joint second place with Australia.

With respondents not permitted to rate their own country, France was in fourth place and Italy fifth.

British Council strategy director John Worne said: "This research confirms culture and education are among the UK's biggest assets in attracting people from important countries to the UK's future.

"But, while there's a lot to be proud of, some stereotypes still colour the way that we're viewed overseas."