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Continent : Europe
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Information about United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of England (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The British landscape can be divided roughly into two kinds of terrain – highland and lowland. The highland area comprises the mountainous regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales. Sandstone and limestone hills, long valleys and basins, such as the Wash, break up the lowland area on the east coast. Despite its small size, England is a country of much diversity.

As the UK is an island group, it is subject to very changeable weather. Extremes of temperature are rare, but snow, hail, heavy rain and heatwaves can occur

London, the capital, draws increasing numbers of visitors, not only to the well documented attractions of the West End with its theatres, cinemas, shopping streets, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs, but to its historic treasures such as: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. In addition, London has the vast green spaces of Hampstead Heath, Hyde and Richmond parks; vibrant street markets in Camden, Brick Lane or Portobello Road and many distinctive old pubs.

A short drive away from London are the elegant southern coastal resorts of Eastbourne and Brighton; the beautiful villages of the New Forest; historic religious centres such as: Winchester, Canterbury or Salisbury. Cornwall and Devon continue to draw visitors with their rolling hills, beautiful stretches of coastline and picturesque fishing villages. Similarly, the honey-stoned cottages of Moreton-in-Marsh or Bourton-on-the-Water are picture postcard material. Cumbria, more popularly known as ‘The Lake District’, has the stunning lakes of Windermere and Derwent Water, the cathedral city of Carlisle is close to Hadrian’s Wall built by the Romans.

Scotland is a beautiful and sparsely populated country with rolling lowland, dramatic mountains, lochs and many offshore islands. Edinburgh is the capital and its Castle is not only Scotland’s number one tourist attraction with the Edinburgh Festival in August, but also home to the Scottish Crown Jewels. Its vast profile sits at the head of the Royal Mile stretches down to the Palace of Holyrood House, the Queen’s official Residence in Scotland. Edinburgh’s cultural life, with its Festival as the highpoint of the year, features much theatre, music and dance unrivalled outside London. The Scottish highlands – the towns of Oban and Fort William and the islands of Skye and Mull – are a stunning wilderness of mountains and moorlands, lochs and rivers.

Wales is a country of great geographical variation with many long stretches of attractive and often rugged coastline. Cardiff is the Principality’s capital and principal seaport. The Castle, much of which dates back to the Middle Ages, was extensively added to during the 19th century, thus creating a strongly Victorian Gothic result. Much of Wales has a strong non-conformist ‘chapel’ tradition and maintains its own language. Llandudno, Rhyl, Pembrokeshire and Porthmadog are among the better known resort areas.

Northern Ireland contains some beautiful scenery, from the rugged coastline in the north and northeast to the gentle fruit-growing regions of Armagh. To the southeast of the province, Belfast provides shopping and city entertainment in the shape of theatres, cinema, a wide range of restaurants, the Grand Opera House and all the other attractions of any capital city.

The rest of the British Isles comprises the Channel Islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney (lying off the coast of Normandy) and the Isle of Man located in the Irish Sea between the main islands of Great Britain and Ireland. the Isle of Man is home to the 'Manx TT Races' (motorcycles) in June.

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