Holiday in United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom or the UK) is a constitutional monarchy comprising most of the British Isles, and is one of the world's wealthiest nations.
The Union comprises four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It occupies all of the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland and most of the remaining British Isles. It is important to remember that the Republic of Ireland is a completely separate country to the United Kingdom, gaining its independence in 1922. It counts Ireland, France, Belgium and Netherlands as its nearest neighbours. The Isle of Man and the various Channel Islands are "crown dependencies", possessing their own legislative bodies with the assent of the Crown. They are not part of the United Kingdom, nor of the EU, but are not sovereign nations in their own right either.
The 'Great' in Great Britain (Grande-Bretagne in French) is to distinguish it from the other, smaller "Britain": Brittany (Bretagne) in northwestern France.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a union made up of the following regions, home nations and territories:
the largest component, in terms both of size and, by far, population.
the second largest home nation and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. The four archipelagos of Orkney, Shetland, and the Inner and Outer Hebrides are also part of Scotland.
located within the largely mountainous western portion of Great Britain.
occupies the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, occupying six of the nine counties of the ancient Irish province of Ulster.
Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark)
technically not a part of the UK, the Channel Islands consist of four small islands off the coast of France
Isle of Man
Technically not a part of the UK, the Isle of Man is a small island between Great Britain and Ireland
The UK today is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain hugely influential in the wider world. Although Britannia no longer rules the waves, the UK is still a popular destination for many travellers. The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom is London.
The UK has a benign humid-temperate climate moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. Warm, damp summers and mild winters provide temperatures pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities all year round. Having said that, the weather in the UK can be changeable and conditions are often windy and wet. British rain is world renowned, but in practice it rarely rains more than two or three hours at a time and often parts of the country stay dry for many weeks at a time, especially in the East. More common are overcast or partly cloudy skies. It is an idea to be prepared for a change of weather when going out; a jumper and a raincoat usually suffice when it is not winter.
Because the UK stretches nearly a thousand kilometres from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. Scotland and north-western England (particularly the Lake District) are often rainy and cold. Alpine conditions with heavy snowfall are common in the mountains of northern Scotland during the winter. The north-east and Midlands are also cool, though with less rainfall. The south-east and east Anglia is generally warm and dry, and the south-west warm but often wet. Wales and Northern Ireland tend to experience cool to mild temperatures and moderate rainfall, while the hills of Wales occasionally experience heavy snowfall. Even though the highest land in the UK rarely reaches more than 1,300 metres, the effect of height on rainfall and temperature is great.
Many cities and towns in the United Kingdom are of interest to travellers outside the capital city of London. Following is an alphabetical selection of nine - others are listed under their specific regions:
Belfast - capital of Northern Ireland and becoming a popular tourist destination, undergoing major renovations and improvements
Birmingham - central England's main city, features great shopping, and is home of the famous Balti and great culture
Bristol - an historical city famed for its Georgian architecture and nautical heritage
Cardiff - capital of Wales, host to varied cultural events and many other modern and historical attractions
Edinburgh - capital of Scotland, home to the largest arts festival in the world and numerous tourist attractions as well as being the second most visited city in the UK
Glasgow - Scotland's largest city, new cultural hotspot, former European City of Culture
Liverpool - Booming city, famous for its prominence in music, sport, nightlife and multiculturalism. Capital of Culture 2008.
Manchester - Thriving bohemian music scene, gay quarter and home to the world's only new work arts festival as well as being the third most visited city in the UK.
Newcastle upon Tyne - largest city in the north east of England, notorious for its busy night-life, a rejuvenated cultural scene and Hadrian's Wall.
Isle of Arran
Lake District National Park
Snowdonia National Park
The United Kingdom has an array of National Parks and designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that serve to preserve the country's natural heritage. There are 14 National Parks in total spread across England, Scotland and Wales (9 in England, 2 in Scotland and 3 in Wales) and 49 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (35 in England, 4 in Wales, 9 in Northern Ireland and 1 in both England and Wales). There are no Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Scotland, but there are the equivalent National Scenic Areas, of which there are 35 spread across the country.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, is a magnificently situated royal fortress located on one of the highest points in the city. The castle has been continuously in use for 1000 years and is in excellent condition.
Stonehenge is an ancient stone circle located near the cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire.
The Georgian architecture and Roman baths in Bath.
York Minster (Cathedral) in the historic city of York.
Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the head of the church of England. Located in the city of Canterbury in Kent
Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-Upon-Avon, is home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The ancient and world-renowned universities of Oxford and Cambridge
The Eden Project near St Austell is a massive botanical gardens including indoor rainforest and Mediterranean biodomes.
The Giant's Causeway sixty miles from Belfast on the north coast of Northern Ireland is a World Heritage site and a natural wonder.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to three of the most important ships ever built and 800 years of naval history.
Vacation Rentals United Kingdom