Are we really that gormless about geography?

With the world watching the UK for London 2012 it seems most Brits need a crash course in geography – about their own country!

Despite media coverage of the Olympic torch relay and a continued focus on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour, an independent survey commissioned by Warwick Castle reveals that most Britons lack basic knowledge about the UK.

The findings come at a time when the government is stressing the need for a focus on facts in the national curriculum and a move away from verbal reasoning exams such as GCSEs to more knowledge-based tests like O Levels and CSEs.

The survey shows:

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Only 38 per cent of Brits can identify neighbouring counties;

Scots know more about England than the English;

Only 47 per cent correctly connect The River Avon with the town of Warwick;

Almost ten per cent believe London is the nearest city to Warwick.

Just 38 per cent of Brits questioned in the independent survey could correctly identify English counties that neighboured one another, with over 10 per cent believing Yorkshire and Norfolk border Warwickshire, and almost one in five being too bamboozled to offer any answer at all.

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Worryingly, given the dearth of geographic nous, 60 per cent of Brits claim they are confident enough to navigate on a day out without either a map or a SatNav.

However, those aged 18-24 are least confident with over 50 per cent relying on technology to show them the way compared with just a third of those aged over 55.

Londoners prove the least confident, with just five per cent willing to trust their own navigational skills contrasted with those from the North East, 27 per cent of whom are happy to jump in their car for a day out without a map.

Warwick Castle general manager Tim Harrison-Jones is astounded by the lack of knowledge: “At a time when the whole world is looking at the United Kingdom, maybe we should swot up and be experts on our own country so that we can enjoy it ourselves and tell the world how wonderful we are! There are so many great days out to be had all over the UK so we’d encourage people to get out and explore for themselves – with or without a map!”

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