How many weird laws could you name?
Weird UK Law #1. It is illegal to carry a plank along a pavement.
True. This has been illegal since 1839. The Act also bans you from sliding on snow, playing "annoying games", and flying kites in the street. No fun please, we're British.
Weird British Law #2. It is illegal to die in parliament.
False. There's a longstanding myth that you're not "allowed" to die in parliament, because the government would have to give you a state funeral.
Weird Old Law #3. It is illegal not to carry out at least two hours of longbow practice a week.
Not any more. Englishmen aged between 17 and 60 were required to own a longbow and practise using it regularly by a law enacted in 1541. This law was eventually repealed, but much later than you might think: It was on the statute books until 1960.
Crazy UK Law #4. It is illegal to beat or shake any carpet or rug in any street.
True. This has been illegal since 1839, but you are allowed to beat a doormat, provided you do it before 8am.
Weird UK Law #5. It is illegal to be drunk on licensed premises (i.e. in a pub).
True. This one is enforced under at least three separate laws. Under the 1872 Licensing Act, there's a penalty for "every person found drunk" in a licensed premises, while 1839's Policing Act forbids landlords from permitting drunkenness. The 2003 Licensing Act also makes it an offence to sell alcohol to a drunk person, or to buy a drunk person a drink.
Funny UK Law #6. It is illegal to be drunk in charge of a horse.
True. This dates back to 1872, and you're also not allowed to be drunk in charge of a cow, or while you're carrying a loaded firearm, which seems... pretty sensible, actually.
Old UK Laws #7. It is legal to shoot a Welshman with a longbow on Sunday in the Cathedral Close in Hereford; or inside the city walls of Chester after midnight; or a Scotsman within the city walls of York, other than on a Sunday.
All of these are FALSE. Please do not do any of these. The Law Commission couldn't find any evidence any of these laws ever existed.
Weird Laws Debunked #8. It is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas Day.
This happened one time. Christmas Day in 1644 fell on a legally mandated fast day, so it would have been illegal to eat a mince pie, even though they weren't specifically mentioned.
Weird UK Law #9. It is illegal to jump the queue in the tube ticket hall.
True. So long as there's a sign telling you to queue (or a member of staff), queue-jumping is illegal under TfL byelaws: You have to join from the back. This is possibly the most British law in existence.
Strange UK Law #10. It is illegal to destroy or deface money.
Mostly true. If you want to destroy a banknote for some reason, that's actually legal. But under the Currency and Banknotes Act of 1928, it's illegal to deface a banknote by drawing, stamping, or printing on it. It's also illegal to destroy coins.
Funny Laws #11. It is illegal to place a stamp of the Queen upside down on a letter.
False. It's illegal to do anything with the intention of deposing the Queen (sorry, republicans), but this is fine. The Royal Mail will deliver the letter as normal.
Bad UK Law #12. It is illegal to stand within 100 yards of the reigning monarch without wearing socks.
False. Fear not, you can go sockless near royals.
Weird UK Law #13. It is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances.
True. This is illegal under the Salmon Act of 1986, apparently. Alas, the Law Commission did not elaborate on what counts as a suspicious way to handle salmon. You can check the original law here, but it won't help all that much.
Weird UK Law #14. All swans are the property of the Queen, and killing one is an act of treason.
Not ALL swans. The Queen has first dibs on all "wild, unmarked mute swans in open water", and has since the 12th century, but only actually claims ones on the Thames and some tributaries.