Great Britain, which is surrounded on all sides by sea and ocean, still jealously guards its traditions and customs, which may seem eccentric to many foreigners. However, it is precisely this careful attitude to traditions that has made Great Britain one of the most famous and influential countries in the world, which also has amazing nature and even seaside resorts. At the same time, “Foggy Albion” is still a mystery to many of us…
When planning a trip to Europe, be sure to set aside time for London – the capital of Great Britain.
The UK is located in the northwest of Europe in the British Isles. In the north, Great Britain borders on Ireland, in the southeast, the English Channel (“English Strait”), whose width is 35 km, separates this country from France. The total area of Great Britain is 244,820 km. sq. The country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. The highest peak in the UK is Mount Ben Nevis in Scotland (its height is 1343 meters).
The capital of Great Britain
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Great Britain is London, which now has a population of more than 8.2 million people. London was founded by the Romans in 43 AD.
The official language of the UK is English, which is spoken by over 95% of the population. The minority languages are Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Cornish.
The state religion in Great Britain is the Anglican Christian Church, formed in 1534 under the influence of Protestantism. More than 10% of UK residents belong to the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, there are many Presbyterians and Muslims in the country.
Government of Great Britain
According to computerminus.com, Great Britain has been a constitutional monarchy for many centuries. The country consists of four provinces – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The head of state is the Queen, power is inherited. The head of government is the Prime Minister (he becomes the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons).
Legislative power belongs to the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the House of Lords (1200 seats) and the House of Commons (659 seats). The main political parties are the Conservative Party, the Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats.
Climate and weather
The climate in the UK is temperate maritime with high rainfall. The Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Gulf Stream have a decisive influence on the climate of Great Britain. The average temperature in winter is 0C, and in summer – +25C. The warmest months are July and August, while the coldest is February.
Note that although July and August are considered the warmest months in the UK, however, they are also the wettest, with high rainfall.
Seas and oceans in the UK
Great Britain is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. The total coastline is 12,429 km. The English Crown Lands include the islands of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel, as well as the Isle of Man (located in the Irish Sea).
Rivers and lakes
The UK has over 20 large rivers and over 380 lakes (many of them artificial). The largest of the rivers are the Severn (354 km), the Thames (346 km), the Trent (297 km), the Great Ouse (230 km), the Wye (215 km) and the Tay (188 km).
Note that in the UK there is an extensive network of canals, most of which were built back in the Victorian era.
History of Great Britain
Archaeologists have found evidence that people lived in the territory of modern Great Britain as far back as the Neolithic era. Many historical artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age have also been found.
In 43 AD Britain, after the stubborn resistance of the local tribes, was captured by the Roman Empire, and became its province. The power of Ancient Rome over Britain lasted until 410 AD, after which the island was alternately invaded by the tribes of the Angles and Saxons from Germany, and then the Vikings from Scandinavia. The spread of Christianity in the British Isles began at the end of the 6th century.
In 1066, the famous Battle of Hastings took place, which sealed the victory of the Normans in the conquest of Britain. William of Normandy (better known as William the Conqueror) became King of England on December 25, 1066.
In the Middle Ages, on the territory of modern Britain, there were numerous wars between the British, Scots, Irish and Welsh. In 1337, the “Hundred Years’ War” of England against France began over the French provinces of Guyenne, Normandy and Anjou, which, in the end, ended with the victory of the French in 1453.
Immediately after this, in 1455, a bloody internecine 30-year war of the Scarlet and White Roses between the two branches of the royal seven (Yorks and Lancasters) began in England.
In 1534, King Henry III became the head of the Church of England, which led to the English Reformation and the dissolution of many monasteries. The middle of the 17th century was marked by the overthrow of the monarchy, the reign of Oliver Cromwell, and then the restoration of monarchical power.
In 1707, England and Scotland signed an act of union, thus forming the Kingdom of Great Britain.
In the XVIII century, Great Britain became the largest colonial power with a huge fleet. Trade and banking developed rapidly in the country. At this time there were revolutionary changes in English industry and agriculture.
The development of Great Britain continued into the 19th century, during the so-called “Victorian era”.
Great Britain played a big role during the world wars of the 20th century. In 1921, the Irish rebellion broke out, which led to the formation of an independent Ireland. As for Northern Ireland, it is still part of the UK. Now the UK is an active member of the NATO military bloc, and is also a member of the EU.
Since Great Britain consists of several “provinces” (England, Scotland, Wales and, of course, Northern Ireland), which used to be independent countries, it is clear that its culture is multi-ethnic.
The traditional English folk tales of the semi-mystical King Arthur and his knights, as well as the semi-historical tales of Robin Hood, are known all over the world. Many historians claim that such individuals did exist in Medieval England, but we only know about them from folk legends.
In general, it should be noted that traditions play a greater role in Great Britain than in many other countries of the world. The inhabitants of “Foggy Albion” are proud of their traditions, many of which seem strange and eccentric to us. For example, theaters have been closed on Sundays in the UK for more than 300 years.
Even one English tradition – in the Tower of London, according to the decree of King Charles II, 6 ravens must constantly live. The British are sure that as long as these birds live there, nothing threatens the royal power.
Some of you may know that in the House of Lords of the British Parliament, the chancellor sits on a woolsack. This custom goes back to the time when sheep’s wool made England a rich and powerful country.
Old English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish traditions may seem strange to modern Europeans, Asians or Americans, but the inhabitants of “Foggy Albion” adhere to them with enviable tenacity.
The Canterbury Tales by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, published in 1476, had a decisive influence on the development of literature in Great Britain. In the Middle Ages, England gave the world such talented poets, writers and playwrights as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Wyatt, John Milton and, of course, William Shakespeare.
Later came Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, John Keats, William Blake, George Byron, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Wodehouse, Eliot, Graham Greene, Iris Murdoch and Ian Banks.
However, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can also boast of “loud” literary names. Perhaps the most famous of them are the Scottish poets William Dunbar and Robert Burns.
The most famous British artists are George Gower, Samuel Cooper, Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, John Constable, Joseph William Turner and David Hockney.
If we talk about music, then, of course, there were quite talented classical composers in Great Britain, however, this country, first of all, gave the world the legendary “Liverpool Four” – the rock group “The Beatles”.
Each region of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has its own traditional cuisine. In general, we can say that the food of the British is based on meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken), fish, eggs and flour. Meat and fish are usually served with potatoes or some other vegetable.
English cuisine has traditionally been “mild-tasting”, with no seasonings. However, after Great Britain captured numerous colonies (we are talking, of course, about India), various Indian seasonings began to be used more in English cuisine.
Traditional English dishes – Yorkshire pudding, Christmas pudding, roast beef, Cornish pasta, pudding and Battenberg cake.
Traditional Scottish dishes are haggis, oatmeal, pickled herring rollmops and Cranahan dessert.
Traditional Welsh dishes are bara brit yeast bread, sorrel soup, beef in beer and Welsh flatbread.
Traditional Irish dishes are Irish stew, coddle (made from sausages, bacon, potatoes and onions), yeast bread with barmbrack grapes and boxy potato pancakes.
We advise tourists in the UK to try the famous English cheeses. In general, more than 400 varieties of cheese are now produced in England. The most popular of these is cheddar (hard cheese with a strong nutty flavor). In addition, we note such varieties of English cheese as Stilton, Red Leicester and Cheshire.
Traditional British drinks are beer, cider, tea, gin and pimm (made on the basis of gin with the addition of lemonade, fruit and mint).
Landmarks of Great Britain
There are so many attractions in the UK that we will highlight only the 10 most interesting of them (in our opinion):
- Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a prehistoric stone circle built several thousand years ago. This monument is located in Salisbury Plain in the English county of Wiltshire. Historians do not know exactly for what purposes it was intended, although they are inclined to the version of a religious cult.
- Tower Bridge in London. The Tower Bridge in London was built in 1894. It is considered one of the symbols of London.
- Chatsworth House. This mansion was built in the English county of Devonshire in the middle of the 16th century. Considered one of the finest country houses in the UK. It was in it that the film Pride and Prejudice was filmed in 2005.
- Lake Windermere. This lake is the largest in England. It is located in Cumbria. Beautiful landscapes attract thousands of tourists every year to Lake Windermere.
- The village of Portmeirion. Located on the coast of North Wales. The construction of this amazing village began in 1925. Perhaps now Portmeirion is the most eccentric village in all of Britain.
- Path of the Giants. The Giant’s Trail is located in Northern Ireland, it consists of about 40 thousand basalt columns that appeared as a result of a volcanic eruption. According to legend, this Path was created in ancient times by the Giants who previously inhabited the Earth.
- Edinburgh. The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is an ancient city that has preserved a huge number of historical and architectural monuments, among which the “star” is Edinburgh Castle.
- Tresco Abbey Gardens. These gardens are located on the Isle of Scilly and were planted in the 19th century. At the moment, Tresco Abbey Gardens grow flowers and trees from 80 countries, including, for example, Burma and New Zealand. Even in winter, more than 300 plants bloom here.
- York Cathedral. Construction of York Minster in York (Northern England) began in 1230 and continued until 1472. York Minster is considered one of the most majestic Gothic cathedrals in all of Western Europe.
- Eden Project. The Eden Project is a modern botanical garden in the UK. It is located in Cornwall. Now in this botanical garden, more than 100 thousand flowers and trees from around the world grow under two huge transparent domes.
Cities and resorts
The largest cities in the UK are London (more than 8.2 million people), Birmingham (more than 1.1 million people), Glasgow (about 600 thousand people), Belfast (more than 600 thousand people), Manchester (more than 500 thousand. people), Edinburgh (more than 500 thousand people) and Liverpool (about 500 thousand people).
For most of us, Great Britain is associated with constant rain and fog. However, in this country, it turns out, there are excellent seaside resorts. Moreover, in the UK there is even an English Riviera (Torbay). The most famous seaside resorts of Foggy Albion are Newport, Eastbourne and Brighton. In total, there are about 760 beaches in the UK, which are annually tested for compliance with European standards.
We also note that there are many balneological resorts in the UK, among which the most popular are Bath, Leamington, Bilt, Harrogate Llandrindod, Buxton and Llanurtid. By the way, the resort of Bath is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, because. it is the best preserved Roman baths, created in the era of the reign of Ancient Rome.
In the UK, tourists will be offered a huge number of various souvenirs. The traditional ones are tea, T-shirts, balls, dishes, handicrafts, toys. Tourists who have been to Scotland are advised to bring home traditional Scottish macaroons, Glenfiddich single malt whiskey and a kilt (a plaid men’s skirt).
In the UK, most shops on weekdays are open from 9.00 to 18.00, and banks – from 09.30 to 16.30.
Pub opening hours:
Mon-Fri: from 11:00 to 23:00, although many now prefer to work later.
To enter the UK, Ukrainians need to apply for a visa.
The pound sterling is the official currency of Great Britain. One pound sterling (international designation: GBP) is equal to 100 pence. In circulation there are banknotes of the following denominations: 5, 10, 20 and 50 pounds.
In addition, there are coins in circulation with a denomination of:
- 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pence
- 1 and 2 pounds
Some large stores in the UK accept euros.
Ukrainians can import the following goods into the UK duty-free (but not more than £145): 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars), 60 ml of perfume, 250 ml of eau de toilette, 1 liter of spirits and 2 liters of wine.
It is forbidden to import pornography, meat, fish, eggs, milk (including powdered milk) and honey into the UK. To import firearms and ammunition, you need to get a permit, and animals must have a certificate from a veterinarian.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Embassy of Great Britain in Ukraine:
Address: 01025, Kiev, st. Tithe, 9
Phone: (044) 490-36-60
Fax: (044) 490-36-62
Embassy of Ukraine in the UK:
Address: 60, Holland Park, London W11 3SJ
Phone: (020) 7727-6312
Fax: (020) 7792-1708
E-mail: [email protected]
In the UK, you can contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance by calling 999 and 112.
Behind Kyiv for 2 hours. Those. if in London, for example, 9:00 am, then in Kyiv – 11:00 am.
Tips for services in the UK are usually 10-12% and are already included in the bill.
To enter the UK, international health insurance of at least €30,000 is required.
The UK has a reputation for being a safe country, but crime does happen. Therefore, tourists need to take precautions, especially in cities.
Pickpocketing is quite common on the London Underground, so tourists should be especially careful there. Never leave valuables in your hotel room or in your car.