A full breakfast is a substantial cooked breakfast meal that typically includes bacon, sausages and eggs, and a beverage such as coffee or tea. It comes in different regional variants and is referred to by different names depending on the area. While it is colloquially known as a "fry up" in most areas of Britain and Ireland, it is usually referred to as a full English breakfast in England (often shortened to "full English"), and therefore, as a "full Irish", "full Scottish", "full Welsh", “full Cornish”, and the "Ulster fry" in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Northern Ireland, respectively. It is especially popular in Britain and Ireland to such an extent that many cafes and pubs offer the meal at any time of day as an "all-day breakfast". It is also popular in other English-speaking countries, particularly countries that were a part of the British Empire. On its origin, Country Life magazine states, "The idea of the English breakfast as a national dish goes right back to the 13th century and the country houses of the gentry. In the old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality, households would provide hearty breakfasts for visiting friends, relatives and neighbours."
The full breakfast is among the most internationally recognised British dishes along with such staples as bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, cottage pie, fish and chips, roast beef, Sunday roast and the Christmas dinner. The fried breakfast became popular in Britain and Ireland during the Victorian era, and appears as one among many suggested breakfasts in home economist Isabella Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861). A full breakfast is often contrasted (e.g. on hotel menus) with the lighter alternative of a continental breakfast, consisting of tea or coffee, milk and fruit juices with bread, croissants, bagels, or pastries.