Episode 15

Episode 15

Tess and Ravi discuss the most famous city in the UK - I think you know what it is! Rob and Adam read your comments about social networking.


Adam and Rob

Rob and Adam: Hello!

Adam: Welcome to Episode 15 of the LearnEnglish Elementary Podcast. I’m Adam.

Rob: And I’m Rob and it’s nice to be back here with you.

Adam: We’re going to hear from Tess & Ravi today; they’ll be talking about a city – the biggest and most famous city in Britain – I’m sure you know where we’re talking about.

Rob: First though, as usual, we’ll look at some of your comments on the last podcast. In that podcast we talked about social networking and online friends. We asked you to tell us about your online friends and how you feel about social networking and, as usual, you gave us some very interesting answers.

Adam: The first thing that interested me was how many of you live in different countries – not the country that you’re from. So, for example, Ladna is from Somalia, but she lives in Alaska in America. And Mariami is from Georgia but she lives in Germany. Or Tonya – she’s Russian but she lives in Germany too. I’m interested in what takes you to other countries. Are you working? Studying? Something else? If you’re living in a different country, why not write and tell us what you’re doing there.

Rob: Anyway, someone else who lives in a country that isn’t where she’s from is Umi, who’s from Indonesia but lives in Hong Kong, and she had a lot to say this time about social networking. She’s not a fan. She says: Firstly, since we can make new friends very easily on networking sites, it makes us lazy about making an effort to socialise in real life. Secondly, we spend extra time on the computer and it eventually leads to a lack of movement, which also leads to obesity.

Adam: Umi also mentions risks to our relationships and our privacy. Some of you disagreed with Umi and some of you agreed. It was a really interesting discussion and we enjoyed reading it.

Rob: Now, we’ve already mentioned Tonya from Russia who lives in Germany. She says: There are not so many Russian people in Germany I can communicate with. I talk online with my internet friends, some of them I’ve know for many years and these friends know me better than some of my real friends in Germany. With some of my internet friends I have an intense relationship and we write almost every week.

Adam: So, online friends can help you when you’re away from home. And they can help you get in touch with people all over the world – Amanda Clemente from Brazil has friends “from Argentina to Kazakhstan. It's awesome how knowledge of other languages, especially English, can connect you to different people.”

Rob: That’s true. Some of you did mention that you have online friends that you don’t know in real life. Laia in Spain (whose username is ‘ahappylearner’ - nice user name, Laia!) says “I have lots of "friends" on Facebook, but I don't even know half of them. I know most of them only by sight, I see them around high school but at the most we say hello, how’s it going and bye! And then with some of them on Facebook we talk for hours, but face to face we only greet each other!

Adam: That’s strange, isn’t it? In real life you just say ‘hello, how are you?’, but online you chat like old friends. Maybe it’s a difference between younger people and older people.

Rob: Anyway, thanks for all your great comments. Sorry we don’t have time to read out more of them. It’s always good to hear what you think so remember you can write to us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish.

Adam: I also noticed this week that we have a listener called… Ravi!

Rob: Welcome Ravi, and now let’s listen to the original Ravi, along with Tess, talking about a special British city. 


Tess: Hello again, everyone. I’m Tess.

Ravi: And I’m Ravi.

Tess: And we’re here again to talk about the things you think you know about Britain and the things that you think are very British.

Ravi: We’ve talked about British food, British weather, drinking tea – and lots of other things, but today is a little bit different. We noticed that lots of you, when you talked about British things, talked about places in London – places you’ve visited or would like to visit or just places that you think are very British – and we’re going to take a look at some of them. What do you think people chose, Tess?

Tess: Big Ben?

Ravi: Good guess. Yep, the first one was Big Ben. If you don’t know it, Big Ben is the name given to the really big clock tower right in the centre of London – next to the Houses of Parliament. It was finished in 18...

Tess: How do you know that? Have you been studying?

Ravi: Research, Tess, research. It was finished in 1859 and it’s over ninety-six metres high. Actually, Big Ben is really the name of the bell that rings every hour to tell you what time it is, but everyone says Big Ben for the clock and the tower as well.

Tess: Why do you think it’s so famous?

Ravi: Well, it’s sort of the symbol of London, isn’t it? New York has the Statue of Liberty, Paris has the Eiffel Tower… and London has Big Ben.

Tess: It’s nice, isn’t it, when you hear the bells ringing for the hour, because you hear them on TV or the radio, on the BBC? What other places did people talk about in London? 

Ravi: Well, Buckingham Palace is another place lots of people mentioned.

Tess: Ah, the Queen’s home. Yeah, that’s a really popular place for tourists to visit and see the changing of the guard and things. What have you learned about Buckingham Palace? How old is it?

Ravi: The oldest part was built in 1705, but new bits were added after that. It’s got two hundred and forty bedrooms, I think, and seventy eight bathrooms and ..

Tess: Do you know what it means when you see the flag flying above Buckingham Palace? It means that the Queen is there, in the palace. She’s got lots of different homes, hasn’t she?

Ravi: Hmm. Are you sure, Tess? I don’t think it does. I think the flag is flying all the time these days. Anyway, when was the last time you went to Buckingham Palace?

Tess: Inside the palace? Never. Actually, it’s a real tourist attraction, isn’t it? Lots of tourists go there, but if you live in Britain you don’t go there very often.

Ravi: No, not really. There’s always a big crowd there though for big royal events, like a wedding in the royal family or Princess Diana’s funeral, isn’t there?

Tess: Yeah. It’s sort of a symbol, isn’t it? A symbol of the royal family.

Ravi: Yeah. Actually, the royal family is another thing on our list – another thing that people said is typical of Britain. Let’s talk about that next time.

Tess: OK. What other things in London did people say were typically British?

Ravi: Let’s have a look. The London Eye, shopping in Oxford Street, the Houses of Parliament, the London underground… I think we might have to come back to this one another time, OK?

Tess: OK, then, let’s do that.

Adam and Rob

Adam: It’s true that Big Ben is sort of a symbol of London, isn’t it? Ravi said that ‘Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York has the statue of liberty and London has Big Ben.’ How about you Rob - do you have a favourite sight in London? Or somewhere you take visitors when you’re there?

Rob: I do like Big Ben, I think it’s a great symbol for London. But when I go there with friends, I usually take them to a place called ‘Borough Market’. It’s just in the centre, south of the river.

Adam: Why do you like it?

Rob: Well, it’s a really authentic place with lots of great, great food from all over the world. And you can have something to eat, you can have something to drink; it’s just got a really good atmosphere.

Adam: Sounds great. I’ll have to go there next time I’m in London. How about you, listeners? Have you been to London? Did you like it? Write and tell us what you know or think about London. We love hearing from you and you can contact us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish.

Rob: Right, that’s almost all we’ve got time for. But first, we’ll remind you about the exercises you’ll find on our website. As usual, there are some useful tips to help you with your English. Listen to this: Ravi: It was finished in 18… Tess: How do you know that? Have you been studying? Ravi: Research, Tess, research. It was finished in 1859 and it’s over 96 metres high.

Adam: Ravi gave two years: 1850 and 1859. If you ever have problems saying the year in English, then the exercises on the LearnEnglish site will help. 

Rob: You’ll also find exercises on the different kinds of sights you can see in cities, on passive sentences, heights, weights and measures and lots, lots more.

Adam: Do go to the website and try the exercises and write and tell us what you think. We’re going to meet our LearnEnglish colleagues in London next week, so we’ll be back in three weeks with more from Carolina. Until then…

Rob and Adam: Bye!


Language level

Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by ElenaCo on Sun, 01/09/2019 - 20:07

Hello British Council team, I've been to London six days this summer. I stayed in Southbank 25 minutes walk to the centre. London is an amazing city and people are so nice and helpful. It's difficult to choose what I liked the most because I liked everything: the House of Parliement, the walk alongside the Thames to the Southbank, the Tate gallery, the National gallery, the multicultural Camden, Borough market and the beautiful view of the city you can see from Hampstead hill. I like the old fashion buildings near the modern ones. I came back home with the purpose to improve my English an "elementary podcast" and "word on the street" help me a lot! Thank you really much British Council! I'm looking forward to visiting London another time! Ps. sorry for mistakes

Submitted by parisaach on Sun, 12/05/2019 - 05:53

I've never been in London and don't have much information about it, I just watched some british movies and have some imagination of London. When I talk about London I remember old movie "Oliver Twist" I'm not sure it is really happened in London or other cities of England but for me London is a symbol of England. I also remember a movie that I really liked and I have watched it several times when I was a teenager, It is "My Fair Lady" , I was totally affected by the movie the first time I watched that and I loved Audrey Hepburn , she was really charming and she was a good actor. the other thing that I hear in the news is about royal family of England, I often hear or watch new about Queen Elizebeth , prince Harry and Meghan, prince William and Kate, and I read something about princess Diana. this is the all the things I know about London and England.

Submitted by Andressa15 on Tue, 19/02/2019 - 16:02

I have never been in London, but i'd like to visit it, especially the London Eye , Tamisa River and a lot of castles! I hope i can travel to there soon as possible.

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Thu, 27/12/2018 - 05:02

Hello everyone, I have not been to London, but I like London. It is an interesting place I want to come. There are many beautiful structures, towers, palaces, parks...I can see it on the internet or magazine. I have loved London since I read Sherlock Holmes. How amazing it is if I have a chance to visit London.
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Submitted by Nathalie on Wed, 29/08/2018 - 08:31

Hi ! I am from france We have just visited London with my husband daughters and my parents in august We slept in a flat which we found with airbnb That was great but we were afraid of parking for our car because we did nt know where we could park it...but the landowner explained we had To pay 8 £ per day and that was Ok We had never seen so many buses And all people with bikes ! We founded really dangerous with all vehicules One day sunny and one day rain ! In France we used To sit down quietly to eat but in London everybody eat on a table corner...quickly... Maybe in Paris it s the same in big town everybody don t take time ? We liked really To see all of kinds people with all of kinds clothes it s really interesting and people are really Nice ready To help poor lost tourists

Submitted by Shiiya on Tue, 08/05/2018 - 12:44

Hi , I´ve never been in London , but I really want to go there , actually I am planning my next travels to visit Europe for the first time , and the most want country I would like to know in Europa is England , I wish to visit a lot of sightseing like Big ben and ride London eye . and of course try to speak my english as much as possible I hope to be with my english better when I will go there , unfortunately the pound is the most expensive currency to Exchange in my country .

Submitted by foofighters12 on Mon, 16/04/2018 - 18:02

I've been to London loads of times I was born in Essex, I've been to Wembley stadium been to a West End Show gone to Concerts, done the Jack the ripper walk been to Wembley Arena and the oppollo.

Submitted by Hal55 on Thu, 12/04/2018 - 03:05

Hello, Everyone I've never been to London. but maybe London is my next place to visit. I want to look around the city and see something typical sights, buildings, fashion so on. I can't wait to visit London.
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Submitted by dpreet on Sat, 24/03/2018 - 06:44

Hello British council team, I kanwalpreet, i am so glad to participate to do training for my english learning skills. I love this topic. I have never been known this much about London.

Submitted by annacm on Tue, 20/03/2018 - 03:14

Hello everybody! I've been in London two years ago for two weeks. I love it! People was so nice and there were many things to see. There are many parks, museums. So lovely. I was near Kensington Park so I use to walk around there and in Hyde Park too. I visited tower Bridge and saw that Buckingham Palace and Big Ben too. St Paul's Cathedral, Natural History museum, Victoria and Albert museum... I loved all of them. Oh, and as a Beatles' fan, I cross the Abbey Road like the album. Unfortunately I haven't been in Liverpool and other places like Bath, Stone henge, Windsor Castle. I think I'll come back as soon as possible ❤️ Kind regards