I read blogs. I read a lot of blogs. They used to be mainly US based but now they are mainly UK based with a few Aussie and US thrown in for fun.
One of the blogs I read is written by a US expat who has been living in the UK for six or so years. She recently gave her observations concerning what it was like to live in the UK as a non native.
One of the things she found as a negative was that people in the UK don't speak to strangers. She said she had taken an evening class for four years and no one ever spoke to her. Apparently she has made few friends. She has found life here very lonely.
My experience has been diametrically opposed to hers.
People in shops, along the canal path, in pubs and restaurants, in fact just about everywhere, have been very friendly and will say hello or stop for a chat with us. Once they hear our, obviously, non
UK accents they are interested to learn what we are doing here and where we are from in the US.
The key word is HEAR. We speak to them first. A good morning, hello, or comment about the dog they are walking is usually all we say. We just aim for friendly.
We don't expect them to make the first move. They have busy lives, jobs, families, friends and all of these occupy their time and thoughts. They don't know we are visitors. That we might be lonely or just want to hear a human voice besides our own. :-)
It's up to us to put forth some effort to establish a link. But the effort is minimal and the reward is great. We have met and talked with so many nice people. I think people in the UK are very friendly if you just meet them part way. Sort of like people everywhere.