All About the UK
What exactly is the UK? It is often confused as a country, though it is not, but it is a union of four countries found on the continent of Europe. The United Kingdom (UK) is an island nation in Western Europe off the coast of France and includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The official name of the United Kingdom is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In addition, Great Britain only includes the countries of England, Scotland, and Wales. Ireland is a nation bordering Northern Ireland, but is not a part of the United Kingdom, though when people refer to the country, Northern Ireland is included.
The land of the UK covers 93,628 miles with a population of 65 million (2016), with England as the largest and most populous with 53 million people making up about 84% of the region's population. London is the capital of England and most populous city with 9 million people, and is often referred to as the capital of Britain too.
High mountains and mountain ridges separated by deep valleys make up the north and west of the UK, which were shaped during the last Ice Age by glaciers that covered the land, with mostly rolling hills in the south of England. There are dozens of lakes in northwest England and the Scottish Highlands called lochs, which are long, narrow, and some are very deep. The Loch Ness Monster called Nessie is a legendary creature that lives in Loch Ness, a lake in Scotland.
Major landforms in the UK include the Cumbrian Mountains, Hebrides Islands, Shetland Islands, the Highland Boundary Fault and many others such as the Scottish Highlands, which are rugged mountains that have been relatively untouched by humans. Three-quarters of the land in Britain is used for farming.
The English Channel links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and separates southern England from northern France. It is a 350-mile-long channel and the shortest distance in width is 21 miles and the widest is 150 miles. It is a challenge to swim across the channel and many people have accomplished the daunting task.
Major bodies of water besides the surrounding seas include the Thames River in England (its longest); the Severn River, the longest in the UK at 220 miles; and the Humber River. Two of its largest lakes can be found in Norther Ireland-Lough Neagh, about 148 square miles and the second largest is Lower Lough Erne. The overall climate is temperate marine, with temperatures usually dropping no lower than freezing in the winter or much higher than 89Â°F in summer. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year.
The United Kingdom has many unique landmarks and attractions visited by millions throughout the world. Big Ben in England is the nickname for the Great Bell, a clock tower reaching 315 feet, located in London and opened in 1858. Wales is home to Snowdonia, a range of mountains and hills with 14 peaks over 3,000 feet high with its highest, Snowdon, accessible by train.
Finally, Scotland's most famous fortress is the Edinburgh Castle, built in the 13th century, it sits atop black basalt rock, with the entrance to the castle via a drawbridge over an old moat. Other major landmarks throughout the UK is Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Roman Baths, Buckingham Palace, and many others. England is one of the top ten countries for visitors in the world with London being the 2nd most visited city in the world.
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