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 Veena Kumari on Sat, 06/02/2021 - 08:50

Hi, all. I have been to London once. I went there last year in the winter. London is a great city to visit. We stayed there for only four days and tried to see as many places as we can. We went to London's eye and captured fantastic views of the city from the top. We walked through the Oxford street and did some shopping for self and family. This was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it a lot with my family.

Submitted by jmajo on Fri, 15/01/2021 - 20:07

I've never been in London but I've got some friends living there and they told me that's an impressive and beautiful city at night and also got old beautiful bridges which are full of lights at nights. They'd told me they went to visit the palace of Westminster and other attractions the first days they were staying in the city but they don't go any more because they're very crowded places full of tourists. I think like other capital cities in the world represent part of the culture of the country itself so it could be interesting to visit it someday and learn a bit more about how people live there in the present and share multiple cultures from many countries all over the world in the city. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!

Submitted by Sajja on Wed, 06/01/2021 - 06:42

I haven't been to Britain before. Also, I don't have many information about sightseeings that london has but the most thing I know it about it the Big Ben clock. I think London is very crowding city because it is the center of Britain so I think it has many big shopping centers and fantastic places to go there .

Submitted by Qoo on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 13:33

I’ve been to London twice and I liked it! In Japan we learn American English but in London they speak British English so I couldn’t understand some words.

Submitted by Marey Saad on Sat, 26/09/2020 - 21:17

Hi everyone I've never been to England and I am looking forward to it. but the most common thing I know about London is Big Bin

Submitted by nikoslado on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 18:18

Dear Team, is there maybe a little confusion with the statement, in Task 1/a:''Big Ben is a big clock in London'', according to the follow sentences from the text,which all of them could be taken as partly true? ''Big Ben is the name given to the really big clock tower...'' '' Actually, Big Ben is really the name of the bell that rings every hour...'' '' ...but everyone says Big Ben for the clock and the tower as well...'' What could we consider as the ''stronger'' true thing?The one with the terms''...Actually.....really...''or the other with''but everyone says...'' I am simply wondering. Thanks in advance, Nikoslado
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 10:56

In reply to by nikoslado


Hello Nikoslado

I've changed the wording of that first statement in Task 1 to make it more clear.

Thanks again for pointing these things out to us!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Thu, 30/04/2020 - 17:35

Hello everyone!I've never been there,not yet,But I watch The Premier League here from Brazil.I wish one day I will be able to watch a match in some of the Britain's stadiums.

Submitted by msoriano on Thu, 16/04/2020 - 22:24

I have never been in London, but I desire to go to there. I think that London is an elegant, clean, and beautiful pleace, in the other hand, I think you need a lot of money to go there because in england the transport, food and lodgigin are so expensive.
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Submitted by Sergey Sh on Thu, 03/10/2019 - 06:29

I’ve never been to London but I wish I could. When I used to study at school while English lessons I read about British culture, its authentic places to visit, food and people. What I think at once about when I think about Britain is Big Ben, British Channel, Buckingham Palace, telephone cab, red colour, double-decker and oatmeal for breakfast. For me London is a great city with its own rich history as well as the whole country, a very powerful colonial empire in the past. I can’t but mention Francis Drake, one of my favourite historical character who I read a lot about and saw many documentaries on TV like BBC and Discovery.