The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. It consists of four parts: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England, Wales and Scotland occupy the territory of Great Britain. Northern Ireland is situated in the northern part of Ireland.
The territory of the United Kingdom is about 244 square kilometres. The population is over 55 million. About 80% of the population is urban. The capital of the country is London.
The surface of Great Britain varies greatly. The northern and western part of the country is mountains and is called the Highlands. All the rest (south, east and centre) is a vast plain which is called the Lowlands. The mountains are not very high.
The rivers are not long. The most important of them are the Severn and the Thames.
There are many beautiful lakes in the mountainous parts of the country.
The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream influence the climate of Great Britain. The weather in GB is very changeable. A fine morning can change into a wet afternoon and evening and the wrong side out. The English people say: "Other countries have a climate; in England we have weather". The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon or when it rains all day long.
The best time of the year in GB is spring (of course, it rains in spring too). The two worst months in Britain are January and February. They are cold, damp and unpleasant. Summer months are rather cold and there can be a lot of rainy days. So most people who look forward to summer holidays, plan to go abroad for the summer.
Great Britain is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the world's largest producers and exporters of iron and steel products, machinery and electronics, chemicals and textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding.
Great Britain is a country with old cultural traditions and customs. The most famous educational centres are Oxford and Cambridge universities. They are considered to be the intellectual centres of Europe. The education is not free, it is very expensive.
The United Kingdom is a monarchy and the Queen is the head of state. But in practice it is ruled by the elected government with a Prime Minister at the head. The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the London, the Conservative and the Liberal (Labour) parties. The Liberal party is the ruling party nowadays.