Can you believe that there are actually laws in the United Kingdom that go all the way back to medieval times? It may sound wild, but it's absolutely true! In this post, we're going to delve into some of the most bizarre and outdated laws that are still in effect in the UK legal system today. Get ready for a wacky journey! Universal Pictures 1. First up, it is illegal to be drunk in a pub!
It's a law that not many people would want to hear, and some of us may have unintentionally broken it already, but believe it or not, being drunk in a pub is actually illegal in the UK!
This law, which dates back to 1839, might come as a surprise. If you happen to get caught drunk in a pub, on a highway, or any other public place, you could end up with a hefty fine of £200! LeoPatrizi / Getty Images 2. Don't you even dare walk your cow in the street in daylight!
Just in case you wake up tomorrow with an urge to go for a leisurely stroll with your cow, hold your horses! Walking a cow down the street during the day is a big no-no, especially between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. This regulation can be attributed to the
Metropolitan Streets Act, and the Highway Act 1980 also forbids leaving any cow-related mess on the road. Therefore, if you allow your cow to even merely rest or loiter on the street, you may face a substantial penalty. georgeclerk / Getty Images 3. And definitely don't take your cow to the pub!
Somehow, this one makes sense! It's not only illegal in the UK to be drunk out in public, and illegal to take your cow out for a stroll in the day time, but its also illegal to be
drunk and in charge of a cow! This law aims to ensure the safety of all involved, and to try and prevent any mishaps involving the sizable and strong creatures. So next time you need a drinking buddy, remember cows are not the answer! Westend61 / Getty Images 4. You might need to halt your plans to start that gambling ring at your local library...
You might not anticipate it, but participating in gambling activities at your neighborhood book hub is actually against the law in British public libraries, as stated in the
Library Offenses Act 1898. This prohibition was put in place to prevent any disturbances for those who are using the library for studying or reading. Additionally, using offensive language is also considered illegal. Therefore, while you're casually browsing through your phone during a book break, make sure not to give in to the temptation of buying a lottery ticket, or else you'll find yourself on the wrong side of the law! rhkamen / Getty Images 5. Knock-a-door runaway is a knock-a-door no-way!!
You wouldn't be the only one to blame if you confessed to playing knock-a-door runaway as a child in the UK. Maybe you're more familiar with it as "ding-dong ditch" or "nicky nicky nine doors"? Regardless, this game is actually considered illegal. According to the
Metropolitan Police Act 1839, it's against the law to knock on someone's front door and then quickly flee. DHSphoto / Getty Images 6. It's illegal to impersonate a police officer. Maybe it's time to think of a new fancy dress outfit?
If you've received an invitation to a fancy dress party and considered going as a police officer, you might want to reconsider. In the UK, it's actually illegal to impersonate a police officer, as stated in the
Police Act 1996. The same goes for dressing up as a soldier in the armed forces. The Seaman's and Soldier's False Character Act 1906 makes it against the law to pretend to be a member of the armed forces.
Although the risk of fraudulent use of identification papers was higher back in 1906, it's still illegal to dress up as a police officer or a member of the armed forces today. Breaking this UK law could land you in prison.
xavierarnau / Getty Images 7. And make sure you don't look too fishy, while handling fish!
Well, at least when handling freshwater fish. Interestingly, the
Salmon Act 1986 (specifically Section 32) makes it illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances. This law not only covers illegally obtained, killed, or landed salmon, but also includes other freshwater fish such as trout, eels, smelt, and lamprey. Probably best to just buy your salmon fillet or trout from your local supermarket to avoid appearing even remotely sus. SimpleImages / Getty Images 8. We're British. Of course it's illegal to jump the queue!
Queuing is a common practice in the UK. Although we all know it's impolite and discouraged, it can be tempting to cut in line and try to get ahead.
However, if you attempt to do this at London's underground stations, you could find yourself breaking the law. Jumping the queue is actually illegal here.
This law was put in place to prevent the risks associated with pushing onto trains and to avoid the annoyance caused by people cutting in line. Travelpix Ltd / Getty Images 9. Flying a kite in a public area? Don't do it!
It may come as a shock to many that a seemingly innocent summer pastime, like flying a kite in a public area, is actually prohibited by law. This legislation was implemented to safeguard against potential disturbances and risks to the general public, as outlined in
Section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. So, I assume the summer of 1838, the skies were filled with kites? I feel like somehow Mary Poppins had something to do with this... Disney 10. When was the last time your Uber driver asked if you had the plague? Because they SHOULD be asking, or else they're breaking the law!
It may seem like a no-brainer that its illegal for taxis and private hire vehicles to carry rabid
dogs or dead bodies. But The Public Health Act 1936 allegedly states it's a legal requirement for taxi drivers to enquire if a passenger may have the plague or smallpox. So next time you get into an Uber, make sure you proudly exclaim that you're free an clear of the black death! Jacob Maentz / Getty Images 11. If you thought becoming an MP meant you can wear your armor at all times, then you would be wrong!
Edward II put into place the
Bearing of Armour (1313) Act, and technically its still in effect today. It makes it illegal in UK law to wear a full suit of armor in the Houses of Parliament.
The statute was put in place to stop the violence that had broken out between the two factions of parliament, the pro-royalist Lancastrians and the anti-royalist Earl of Gloucester’s party. So remember, when heading to the the Houses of Parliament, always wear a nice suit under your armor!
Erik Von Weber / Getty Images 12. If planning to shake your rugs in the street, make sure you do it after 8 a.m!
You probably have a rug or carpet that needs a good cleaning to remove dirt and dust. While you might believe that giving it a quick shake is harmless, it's actually against the law. According to Section 60 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, it's allegedly illegal for anyone to beat or shake carpets, rugs, or mats, except for doormats, before 8 a.m.
georgeclerk / Getty Images 13. Make sure your pups don't get too friendly with the Royal Corgis!
Although unlikely, it was found necessary to write a law that stated that it was illegal to allow your common, plebeian pet to mate with a royal animal. So make sure you have a good talking to them prior to any royal events! Just so you know they weren't joking, this law could allegedly result in the death penalty up until 1965!
Justin Setterfield / Getty Images 14. Careful on ice, if you slip, you're heading straight to jail!
Engaging in the enjoyable act of sliding down an icy street using a sledge or even just your shoes may appear enticing, but it is actually prohibited by one of the peculiar laws in the UK. This activity not only poses significant risks but also creates numerous problems and inconveniences for the local residents. Hence, it is explicitly addressed in
Section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. _ultraforma_ / Getty Images 15. And finally, when air-drying your clothes, don't hang them across the street!
You may consider this law a bit outdated, as it originates from the
Town Police Clauses Act of 1847. However, surprisingly, it is still enforced today. Although you won't be arrested for hanging your laundry across a street, you could face a hefty fine of £1,000 if caught by a police officer. Honestly, it's quite risky and can lead to traffic issues and injuries. But it does make you wonder why such a law was necessary in the first place! Reza Estakhrian / Getty Images So, there you go. You can go about your daily business knowing you're not breaking some weird law now!
Don't forget to let me know in the comments below the weirdest laws you know around the world or where you're from.