Love them or hate them, tattoos are really popular nowadays in the UK. What do you think of tattoos?

In Britain, tattoos used to be seen mainly on sailors, prisoners and bikers and were considered a sign of being a rebel. However, now they are popular with all kinds of people and it’s pretty normal to have a tattoo these days.

Which design?

Japanese and Chinese characters and loved ones’ names are among the most popular designs today. Mario, who runs his own tattoo parlour, says ‘I have more women than men customers. Women often prefer smaller designs like stars, flowers and cherubs and men are into much bigger images’. Many well-known Brits have tattoos. Here are some of them:

  • David Beckham has a crucifixion scene and his kids’ names on his back. He also has a tattoo of his wife’s name in Hindi.
  • Victoria Beckham has stars on her back to symbolise the members of her family.
  • Robbie Williams has a lion on his right arm, Maori designs on his left arm, a French phrase on his collar bone, the musical notes to All You Need is Love on his lower back, ‘I love you mother’ on his arms, two birds on his stomach and many more!
  • Kate Moss has a small crown on her shoulder.
  • Samantha Cameron, businesswoman and wife of a former British Prime Minister, has a dolphin tattooed on her ankle.

Tattoo events

There are annual tattoo events that attract thousands of visitors such as the International London Tattoo Convention and the Brighton Tattoo Convention. At these events you can get a tattoo done or see human bodies completely covered in tattoos.

Chris, 18, from Stratford attended the Brighton Tattoo Convention last year. What’s his advice for someone thinking of having a tattoo done? ‘Fashions change but tattoos are forever. Make sure that you choose a design that you like.’


Tattoos are not just for the young. Many people are now going for their first tattoo in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s.

My dad got a tattoo done for his 50th birthday. I thought it was going to look rubbish but it’s actually pretty cool.
Lewis, from Middlesborough


A professor of sociology has studied the history of tattooing in the West. According to the professor, it was fashionable for rich people to have small tattoos in 19th-century Europe. These tattoos were designs which represented their families.

Then, tattoos became a symbol of working class masculinity. Now they are being reinvented as a middle-class symbol. As tattoos become popular with all kinds of people, the trend seems set to continue.

Total votes: 182


Do you like tattoos? Would you ever consider having a tattoo? Why or why not?


gianggiang's picture
gianggiang 11 February, 2016 - 07:05

No. In my country,adults associate tatoos with crime ( prisoners,bullies, cruel people,thieves).So, I am very afraid of people owning a tatoo. However, rock musicians and singers in Vietnam are an exception to that rule?

41 users have voted.
legend's picture
legend 9 September, 2014 - 14:01

I like them. I prefer small and simple tattoos not the huge who hides the whole body. I would like to have one in the future. Only one.

54 users have voted.
raspberrie_222's picture
raspberrie_222 8 August, 2014 - 09:19

I only like nonpermanent drawn tattoo. The real tattoo I dont like. Especially vulgar they look on women . I think that it is possible to live well without a tattoo.

50 users have voted.
Eichego's picture
Eichego 24 April, 2014 - 21:04

In my opinion, tattoos are not such a bad thing to get even though parents don’t like you to get them. I want to get a tattoo of wings on my back but I don’t think my parents will not let me get one but when I am an adult I will get a tattoo on my back. Also, tattoos are really cool looking so I think many men and women like tattoos. Some people like horrible tattoos also it doesn’t look good for everybody and you can’t change that so before you get a tattoo first, ask your parents. Second, think hard with someone then, get a tattoo. Don’t get a tattoo secretly if your parents learn about your tattoo they will kill you so I will ask my family first in the future.

42 users have voted.
KimchiSoup's picture
KimchiSoup 23 April, 2014 - 23:03

I think tattoos are bad like many older Koreans think tattoos are bad. However, I’m not old but my parents always say to me ‘If you get tattoos I will kill you’ so I think tattoos are kind of bad because even many old people say ‘Maybe he is a gangster’. I know it is their prejudice but also many Mafias have tattoos too. If I get tattoos I can’t erase my tattoos ever so I think it is kind of weird. If I don’t choose really carefully I will regret forever until you die. However, many people say tattoos are artistic also some people don’t want to forget an important thing in their life so they choose tattoos. I can understand their thinking also I agree tattoos are very artistic but it is very painful and it can have a lot of side effects too. I saw a picture of tattoo side effects. It was so horrible to me, I think his arm was going rotten.

45 users have voted.
cklj's picture
cklj 16 February, 2014 - 19:17

I don't like tattoos and my parents don't like them also. The small tattoos look cute sometimes, but I just don't understand the people who make huge tattoos. I'd never make any tattoo.

51 users have voted.
SARAH K's picture
SARAH K 10 August, 2013 - 18:58

Yes, I LIKE tattoos. I would like to a big dragon on the back of my right leg, but I am a girl and my parents would never let me to do this.

58 users have voted.
Meriem's picture
Meriem 31 July, 2013 - 21:00

Hi.;actually tatoos in my religion"Islam":) are forbidden also by scientific studies the tatoos can cause many dangerous disease such as toxemia "blood poisoning".....

48 users have voted.
Toma English's picture
Toma English 3 July, 2013 - 01:01

I don't like Real tattoos , and I won't ever do one because they are against my religion and here only bad people do tattoos like thugs ,,, fake tattoos with Henna is a lot better ,, they won't hurt at all and can be changed easily and immediately after the first one had vanished :)
I'm sorry if my grammar is kinda bad :'(

48 users have voted.
Lavender's picture
Lavender 6 July, 2013 - 14:22

Hi Toma, I like your comment.
But I don't understand much about 'Henna'.
Could you please explain more?
I'd like to know <3

50 users have voted.
Toma English's picture
Toma English 7 July, 2013 - 23:53

well , It's a kind of plant we use to change the hair color "it doesn't make changes as same as dye" ,, there is another type of henna for making tattoos :) you can search about it in Google !
When you search about it , you'll understand well what I mean because I can't explain it :D it's very common in the middle east so everybody here knows about it :)
you can find what it is , where you can buy it from , how you can prepare and draw it :)
I hope my comment was helpful for you :)

53 users have voted.
hayaalhams's picture
hayaalhams 19 June, 2013 - 10:14

i don't like tatoos because it is not allowed in my islam religion .. & if it was allowed i will not make it .. because when i see it .. it makes me feel sick

44 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
Natalija 15 April, 2013 - 18:25

Hey, Lavander;)
Your friends seems to be pretty extravagant and original. I would never dare to do such a thing. Eiffel Tower could be a nice tattoo, but still to dangerous for me. Thanks for telling us about it;). Greetings:)

54 users have voted.
Lavender's picture
Lavender 14 April, 2013 - 17:06

My 2 friends have tatoos. One has a sentence "I love my family" in French on her shoulder. And she is going to go to France to study, she told me that she would have a tatoo of Eiffel Tower shape once she got there. The other has 2 tatoos, one which has a design of a hanger on her finger and one is some mysterious characters on her back. I actually don't get the meaning of them. She said that only she could know what they mean :D

50 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
Natalija 5 April, 2013 - 20:47

I don't like tattoos, it just destroy our skin. And when you're young, it's looks so ugly. I will never have any tattoo. It's disgusting, and you can get infected, and once your skin is tattooed, you can never change that. So, think good before you do something like that, and just like Bora said, if you have a tattoo, you can't give blood, and perhaps someone'll need it. Bora, it's great you're so thoughtful and unselfish person. The majority wouldn't think about other at all, but you do, and it's really kind of you.

54 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
MALINE 28 March, 2013 - 04:20

Yes, I´d love to have a tatt but I want an unique design I wouldn´t like that someone else had the same tatt as mine.

46 users have voted.
Anisa18's picture
Anisa18 15 March, 2013 - 19:41

I love tatoos and i admire other people who have tatoos but i dont like having one in my body

46 users have voted.
Bora F's picture
Bora F 9 March, 2013 - 21:32

in fact i love tatoo but if one day i need to give blod i can't so i don't think that i will make any tatoo...

55 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 10 March, 2013 - 00:54

Hi Bora F! I think that's a kind and thoughtful decision. Good for you!
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

49 users have voted.