The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, usually shortened to the United Kingdom, the UK, or Britain, is a country and sovereign state that is situated in north west Europe. Its territory and population are primarily situated on the island of Great Britain and in Northern Ireland on the island of Ireland, as well as numerous smaller islands in the surrounding seas.
The United Kingdom is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and its ancillary bodies of water, including the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the Irish Sea. The mainland is linked to France by the Channel Tunnel and Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland.
Most of England consists of rolling lowland terrain, divided east from west by more mountainous terrain in the Northwest (Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District) and north (the upland moors of the Pennines) and limestone hills of the Peak District by the Tees-Exe line. The Lake District in the heart of Cumbria, is an area of outstanding natural beauty with sixteen great lakes. The lower limestone hills of the Isle of Purbeck, Cotswolds, Lincolnshire Wolds and chalk downs of the Southern England Chalk Formation.
The Northwest region, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Rolls Royce and Beatles, is dominated by the great Victorian cities of Manchester and Liverpool, two of England's most dynamic spots. The magnificent Roman city of Chester, with its distinct black and white Tudor architecture and Norman cathedral, is the heart of Cheshire.
The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber Estuary. The largest urban area is Greater London. Near Dover, the Channel Tunnel links the United Kingdom with France. There is no peak in England that is greater than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), the highest mountain being Scafell Pike in England's Lake District, at some 978 metres (3,208 ft).
To visit the Southern part of UK, “England’s Land of Heritage”, with its famous White Cliffs, you can take a ferry to Dover, Newhaven, Portsmouth, Plymouth with FerryTravels. Drive into the country and discover the Heart of England, Shropshire, in the west of the region, where England meets Wales. Here you will find beautiful medieval towns with distinctive Tudor architecture that continues into Herefordshire.
Scotland's geography is varied, with lowlands in the south and east and highlands in the north and west, including Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. There are many long and deep-sea arms, firths, and lochs. Scotland has nearly 800 islands, mainly west and north of the mainland, notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The capital city is Edinburgh, the centre of which is a World Heritage Site and Glasgow being the largest city. In total it is estimated that the UK includes around 1,000 islands, with 700 in Scotland alone.
Wales (Cymru in Welsh) is mostly mountainous, the highest peak being Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa). North of the mainland is the island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn). The largest and capital city is Cardiff (Caerdydd) that has been the Welsh Capital city since 1955, located in South Wales. The greatest concentration of people live in the south, in the cities of Swansea and Newport, as well as Cardiff, and the South Wales Valleys.
Northern Ireland, making up the north-eastern part of Ireland, is mostly hilly, with the capital at Belfast ('Béal Feirste' in Irish), other major cities being Derry ('Doire' in Irish) and Newry ('Iúr Cinn Trá' in Irish). The province is home to one of the UK’s World Heritage Sites, the Giant's Causeway, which consists of more than 40,000 six-sided basalt columns up to 40 feet (12 m) high. Lough Neagh, the largest body of water in the British Isles, by surface area, can be found in Northern Ireland and the highest peak is Slieve Donard in the province's Mourne Mountains.
The United Kingdom contains some of the world's leading, and oldest, seats of higher education, such as the ancient universities Oxford and Cambridge. It has produced many great scholars, scientists and engineers.
The countries that make up the United Kingdom have provided some of the world's most notable and popular authors, poets and literary figures. Many world-famous writers and poets lived and wrote in the United Kingdom. England is particularly well represented in the history of the novel. Wales and Scotland have also contributed many fine writers to the UK's stock of great literature, particularly in poetry. Many authors from other nationalities, particularly the Irish, and from Commonwealth countries, have also lived and worked in the UK.
The history of the theatre in the United Kingdom is particularly vivid. Shakespeare's contemporaries Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson add depth to the early theatre. The English playwright and poet William Shakespeare is arguably the most famous writer in the English language. Shakespeare Country is Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can visit the famous writer’s birthplace, former home and final resting place, and of course Shakespeare Theater. Also, Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, where the English Civil War began and ended, although Nottingham is just as famous for its beautiful handmade lace. You can reach all these spots with FerryTravels.
The United Kingdom has been influential in the development of cinema. Despite a history of important and successful productions, the industry is characterised by an ongoing debate about its identity, and the influences of American and European cinema.
The nation is credited with numerous scientific discoveries including hydrogen, gravity, the electron, structure of DNA, antibiotics and inventions including the chronometer, steam locomotive and the modern railway, vaccination, television, electric lighting, the electric motor, the screw propeller, the internal combustion engine, the jet engine, the modern bicycle, the electronic computer, along with the later development of the World Wide Web.
A number of major sports originated in the United Kingdom, including association football or soccer, rugby, golf, cricket, tennis and boxing.
There is so much to explore in this land of historic cities, dramatic moorlands, incomparable theater, country lanes and the quintessential English garden. UK is also known as the land of tea and beer, or the land of heritage and tradition, richly endowed with style and culture.