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When one thinks of Great Britain, one thinks of the Crown Jewels, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Royal Family, Beefeaters, etc. Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and each have their own unique features.

Officially called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy located in northwestern Europe. The largest island in a cluster of islands which comprise the British Isles, its capital is London and it has a population of over sixty million based on the estimate of 2008.

United Kingdom London United Kingdom Big Ben United Kingdom London Bridge

England is the largest and most populated area of the island and is located in the southern and eastern side. Wales makes up the west and Scotland the north. Northern Island on the north eastern corner of Ireland is the second largest area of the island.

It is a common mistake to call this country “Great Britain” as it is an incomplete term because it doesn’t include Northern Island, only the island of Great Britain. “United Kingdom” and “UK” are deemed more proper ways of referring to this country. The people of the country are called “British” though it is acceptable to call those from England “English”, from Scotland “Scottish”, and those from Wales “Welsh”.

The physical size of the United Kingdom is small, about twice as big as the state of New York. Its climate is chilly, mild, and wet. Almost the whole year round rain or cloudy skies occur. This is why the UK is generally lush and green with hills and plains on the southeast side and mountainous and hilly in the northwest side.

The UK has a dense population despite its size. It is economically developed and prosperous, culturally sophisticated, foremost in science and technology, and peacefully coexists with its neighbouring countries. The standard of living in the country is high and it is one of the most affluent in Europe

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The UK’s capital of London is a beehive of cultural activities as it is home to many theatres, orchestras, and galleries. It is also the heart of fashion, motion pictures, and publishing in the country making it the hub of UK culture. Yet Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the rest of England have their own unique and important contributions to UK’s cultural scene. The different ethnic minorities that have made their home in the country also make up part of what is uniquely British as celebrated in annual fests such as the Notting Hill Carnival.

A very popular travel destination, UK’s tourism industry is a vital part of its economy. Visitors in the UK are assisted by the government thought the British Tourist Authority which in its turn has a multitude of Tourist information Centres.

The main attraction in the UK is its heritage, arts, historical buildings, monuments, museums, and galleries. The majority of tourists that visit the UK annually are from the U.S.A., France, Germany, Ireland, and Holland.
London in particular is crowded with tourists all year round. The most popular areas of the city are the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. Pubs and theatres are popular night time destinations.
Wales, on the northern side, has its share of attractions, most of them castles of historical value such as Conwy, Caernarfon, and Harlech. Its Tintern Abbey and St. David’s Cathedral are beautiful to behold.

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United Kingdom Wax Museum

Many English cities have remarkably preserved cathedrals such as those in Salisbury, Durham, and Canterbury. Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is a must-see. It was the home of Robert the Bruce and where the famed “Braveheart”, William Wallace had been betrayed and captured.

The UK has numerous old, stately homes. Blenheim Palace, the home of the Churchills, is very popular. One of King Henry VIII’s homes, Hampton Court Palace, lies just outside London. Mary, Queen of Scots’ old home, the Palace of the Holyrood House, is located in Scotland. The university towns of Oxford and Cambridge have many ancient buildings, including the Tudor home where Shakespeare was born on Stratford-upon-Avon.

There are many places to see in the United Kingdom a.k.a. Great Britain. If history, culture, and tradition are your thing, this is the place for you. This is one of those places wherein the historical past blends in harmony with the modern age.






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