England is obsessed with ‘C-list celebrities and toffs’, according to the new Rough Guide to England, which goes on sale today.

England is also a country of tea-drinking Radio 4 listeners, apparently, with no one thing defining the people.

Celebrity gossip is just as important to the English as politics, says the guide, and the London bombings and war in Iraq have left a ‘quarrelsome’ atmosphere.

(British) Rough Guide writers say in the guide: ‘Of the 200-plus destinations across the world that Rough Guide covers, there is none so fascinating, beautiful and culturally diverse, yet as insular, self-important and irritating, as England.’

The Rough Guide continues: ‘England is a nation of overweight, binge-drinking reality TV addicts. But it’s also a country of animal-loving, tea-drinking, charity donors, where queuing remains a national pastime and bastions of civilisation, such as Radio 4, are jealously protected.

‘It’s a nation that prides itself on its patriotism – yet has a Scottish prime minister, an Italian football coach and a Greek royal consort.’

Visit Britain has responded by saying: ‘People should not take these comments seriously. The comments demonstrate the quirkiness of the English personality that is so attractive to many visitors.’

The Rough Guide to England, which goes on sale today worldwide, concludes that England is obsessed with ‘C-list celebrities and toffs’.

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