The United Kingdom is one of Europe’s most populous countries, and on the surface just over half the size of Sweden. The country consists of four parts of the country with partly separate political and legal systems; England, Scotland and Wales on the British Isles (Great Britain), and Northern Ireland in the north-east of Ireland.
|State:||monarchy within the EU|
|Population:||64.1 million (2013)|
|Population density:||250 residents per km²|
|Life expectancy:||79 years|
|Currency:||British pound (GBP)
1 pound = 11.13 kr
|GDP per capita:||$ 35,100 (2010)|
|Time difference:||-1 hour|
|Electricity:||240 V AC, 50 Hz|
|National Day:||March 1 (Wales), March 17 (Northern Ireland), April 23 (England), November 13 (Scotland)|
|Country area code:||44|
|2-Letter country abbreviation:||GB (See more abbreviations on Abbreviationfinder)|
|Business:||service sector 78%, industry 20%, agriculture 2%|
|Climate:||temperate; cold winters and mild summers; generally wetter and warmer in the west, cooler in the north|
The Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands are also part of the United Kingdom. The Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) and the Isle of Man are subject to the British Crown, but are not part of the country. The United Kingdom also has 14 possessions (British Overseas Territories) in various parts of the world, with a total population of about 280,000 residents.
The relationship between British possessions and the United Kingdom has been governed by the British Overseas Territories Act since 2002. In most cases, these areas have far-reaching autonomy with their own government, parliament and legislation. It is mainly foreign policy, defense policy and the head of state that are common.
England is one of the four parts of the UK. England is sometimes incorrectly used as the name of the British main island (Great Britain), as well as as the name of Great Britain. England is both geographically and demographically the largest part of the UK, with 53 percent of the area and 84 percent of the population.
Scotland is one of the four parts of the UK. It is the largest part of the country after England, with 32 percent of the area and 8 percent of the population. In addition to the mainland, Scotland also has 790 islands. These are divided into the four archipelagos: the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands and the Outer and Inner Hebrides.
Scotland’s largest city is Glasgow, while Edinburgh is the capital. Other major cities in Scotland are Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness. There are four World Heritage Sites in Scotland; Edinburgh, St Kilda, Skara Brae and New Lanark.
Wales is a peninsula on the west side of the British Isles. Wales also includes the island of Anglesey. It is a partially autonomous part of the UK. Larger than Northern Ireland, but smaller than both Scotland and England.
Both Welsh and English are spoken in Wales. Welsh is a Celtic language spoken by around 500,000 people, about 25% of Wales’s population. Most of these are bilingual and also speak English. Only a few in Wales speak only Welsh.
Wales has a 1,200-kilometer coastline, and the hinterland is characterized by a rolling, hilly landscape where mountains, hills, valleys and lakes take turns. The nature of Wales is often described as genuine and fabulously beautiful.
Most of the settlements in Wales are in the southern parts of the country. Here are the industrial cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. Cardiff is the largest city in the country and also the capital.
Northern Ireland is one of the four parts of the United Kingdom, and is the northeastern part of the island of Ireland. Belfast is the capital and also the country’s most important industrial and port city. The second largest city is Londonderry. The rest of Northern Ireland is sparsely populated in highland areas. Northern Ireland comprises 16% of the island of Ireland.
The following objects in the United Kingdom are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The year in which the item was added to the list is indicated in parentheses.
- Castles and city walls in Gwynedd (1986)
- Studley Royal Park with Fountains Abbey (1986)
- Stonehenge, Avebury and associated areas (1986)
- St Kilda Islands (1986)
- Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
- Giant’s Causeway with Surrounding Coast (1986)
- Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
- Blenheim Palace (1987)
- City of Bath (1987)
- Northern Frontier of the Roman Empire (1987)
- Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret’s Church, London (1987)
- Towern, London (1988)
- Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey and Saint Martin’s Church (1988)
- The Old and New Cities of Edinburgh (1995)
- Maritime Greenwich, London (1997)
- Neolithic monuments in the Orkney Islands (1999)
- Blaenavon’s Industrial Landscape (2000)
- The industrial area of Saltaire (2001)
- New Lanark (2001)
- The coast of Dorset and East Devon (2001)
- Derwent Valley Mills Industrial Landscape (2001)
- Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (2003)
- Liverpool Historic Center and Harbor Area (2004)
- Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, Wales (2009)
Electricity and electrical outlets in the UK
Voltage: 230 V
Frequency: 50 Hz
Type of plug: G
Need an adapter: Yes, Swedes need an adapter.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Weather in London
|Average temperature °C||8||7||7||7||8||11||13||13||12||11||10||9|
|Soltim / day||7||8||10||11||12||13||13||12||12||10||9||8|
Aberdeen is a port city in the north east of Scotland. The city is the administrative capital of Aberdeenshire, although the city today is not in the region itself. The city is Scotland’s third largest city in terms of population, with 179,950 residents in the central town (2006), and a total of 192,080 residents in the entire urban area.
Today’s Aberdeen is a fusion of two medieval towns, Old and New Aberdeen, both of which can trace their history back to the 12th century. Although the two medieval villages are only a few kilometers apart, they both held their own identity until modern times and were not merged until 1891. Old sources often refer to “The cities of Aberdeen”.
Aberdeen is often called Europe’s oil capital, as it is the center of most of the oil activity in the British sector, and the oil industry makes up the bulk of the local economy.
Aberdeen’s buildings are characterized by buildings in local granite, mined from the 18th and 19th centuries. The gray stone has given the city one of its many nicknames: Granite City (Granite City).
Bath is a city in southwest England, United Kingdom with about 90,000 residents. It is located about 159 km west of London and 21 km southeast of Bristol. Bath was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590, and in 1889 was granted administrative independence from its county of Somerset. The city became part of Avon when that county was created in 1974. Since Avon ceased in 1996, the city has become the most important city in Bath and North East Somerset.
The city was founded in the valleys of the river Avon around natural hot springs where the Romans built baths and a temple, which gave the city its then name, Aquae Sulis. Edgar was crowned King of England in Baths Abbey in 973. Later, the city became a popular savings target during the Georgian era, leading to a significant expansion that gave a legacy of Georgian architecture made of Bathsten.
Bath was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and has many different theaters, museums and other cultural sites that have helped the city become a major tourist destination with over one million overnight guests and 3.8 million overnight stays each year.
Belfast is the capital and also the largest city in Northern Ireland with 276,459 residents (2001), and 579,554 residents in the entire urban area. The city has long been divided into Catholic and Protestant areas. Since the conflict in Northern Ireland started in the late 1960s, there have been major roadblocks between the districts and many of the barriers remain, although the IRA has declared a ceasefire since 1997 and the city is considered more peaceful.
Some parts of Belfast are known for their political murals, so-called murals. In the Protestant area around Shankill Road, Newtownards Road and Sandy Row, paintings expressing loyalty to Britain are found, while in Catholic areas such as Falls Road, Ballymurphy, Whiterock, Short Strand and Ardoyne, Republican ideals are produced. Here is also the almost mythical Milltown Cemetery, where the IRA buries its dead from the Belfast area.
It is in the northern part of the city that the situation is most complicated. Here, Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods can lie alternately. And it is at the boundaries between the areas, so-called interface areas, that the tensions are greatest. Unemployment and social problems contribute to the contradictions. Every fifth political assassination during the conflict years 1969 ?? 1998 took place in this part of Belfast.
The city also has the world’s largest dry dock which is located at Harland and Wolff’s shipyard. The two huge cranes Samson and Goliath are famous landmarks. The shipyard is also known for having designed the Titanic.
Birmingham is a city in the West Midlands of England with about 1 million residents (2005). Birmingham is the largest city in the UK after London. Birmingham residents are usually referred to as “brummies”. Brummie’s dialect is not always popular with many Britons, as it may sound a bit negative.
Birmingham has a long tradition as a significant industrial city. This is shown, among other things, by the many canals that cross the city by miles. Birmingham has more kilometers of canals than Venice itself and they form the heart of the British canal system. In the Bournville district, just southwest of the city center, is Cadbury’s large chocolate factory. Today it is one of Birmingham’s many tourist attractions and you can go on guided tours of the chocolate factory. Birmingham’s last car factory, Longbridge, was closed in 2005 and many jobs disappeared. The famous English car brands Rover and MG are now owned by the Chinese companies that bought the factory.
Birmingham is known for its “curries” or “baltis”, i.e. restaurants that serve food typical of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Balti is a specialty from Kashmir that is usually eaten with the hands or with bread. The amount of Indian restaurants is due to the high proportion of immigrants from former colonies such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many people have also arrived in Birmingham from the Caribbean.
Many music groups, such as Black Sabbath, Duran Duran, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Napalm Death, The Move, The Moody Blues and UB40, began their careers in Birmingham.
Blackpool is a coastal city in Lancashire, United Kingdom, with about 140,000 residents. The city has tram traffic, which it was long alone in the UK.
The city has a long history as a holiday and seaside resort. Since the 1960s, tourism, and thus to some extent also the city, has had a downward trend as more and more people have chosen to go to the Mediterranean instead of relying on the somewhat more uncertain British weather. In recent years, there are plans to make the city a British equivalent of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, provided that the government’s planned legislative changes in the gaming area are implemented.
Blackpool is known for its Blackpool Tower, which stands 158 meters above sea level. The tower cost 42,000 pounds to build in 1894 and is strongly influenced by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Brighton is a famous British tourist resort in East Sussex in the south of England with around 300,000 residents. The city has grown together with Hove, and since 1997 they form a joint district with a unified authority, Brighton & Hove. In 2000, Brighton & Hove received so-called city status from the Queen, as part of the millennium celebration.
Brighton has a notorious gay culture and is sometimes seen as Europe’s equivalent of San Francisco. Brighton has plenty of gay clubs and cafes. The Kemptown district is a particularly popular district among homosexuals. The city has recently become an increasingly popular place of study with two universities (University of Sussex and University of Brighton) and several language schools.
Amusement piers are found in every English coastal town with self-respect, but Brighton was long special with its two piers. However, since the older West Pier was completely destroyed by a fire in 2003, only Brighton Pier (formerly called Palace Pier) remains. West Pier was built in 1866, roughly on the border between Brighton and Hove, by Eugenius Birch, and closed as early as 1975, due to security risks. Several attempts to raise money for a renovation have been made, and just when a renovation seemed financially feasible, large parts of the pier collapsed in storms in December 2002 and January 2003. The fire in March 2003 destroyed all remaining hopes of a renovation.
Built in 1899, Brighton Pier is still a popular attraction, with various restaurants, pubs and a small amusement park at the far end of the pier.
Cambridge is an old English university town and administrative center of Cambridgeshire. The city is located about 80 km north of London. In 2001, Cambridge had 108,863 residents (of which 22,153 were students). Through the city flows the river Cam, which through a bend circles the medieval city center.
Cambridge is best known for its university, including the world-famous Cavendish Laboratory (named after Henry Cavendish), the beautiful building that houses the chapel of King’s College, and the University Library. The horizon of the city is dominated by the latter two buildings. The city is also the heart of “Silicon Fen”, the center of the British IT industry. The rock group Pink Floyd was formed in Cambridge.
Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales. Cardiff is located on the south coast of Welsh. It was a small town until the beginning of the 19th century, when its importance grew as a result of the industrialization of the area and the city came to be used as a port for transporting coal.
Cardiff officially became the capital of Wales in 1955. At the 2001 census, Cardiff had 305,340 residents, making Cardiff Britain’s sixteenth largest city.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is the second largest city after Glasgow. Edinburgh is 72 miles from Glasgow, 24 miles from Livingston and 160 miles from Carlisle and Aberdeen. The central town had 435,540 residents in 2004, while the entire urban area had 457,420 residents.
Edinburgh is located in the south east of Scotland, on the east coast of Scotland’s ‘Central Belt’, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth on the North Sea and due to its rugged location and its vast collection of medieval and Georgian architecture including several stone dwellings, it is a of the most dramatic cities in Europe.
Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 (when Scone was replaced) and is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the foremost during the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, and has been nicknamed the Athens of the North. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town districts are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were both set up in 1995. There are more than 4,500 preserved buildings in the city.
Edinburgh is known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually for about four weeks from the beginning of August. The number of visitors to the festivals in Edinburgh is almost as many as those who live in the city. The most famous parts during the festivals are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The city is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations with around 13 million visitors each year, and is the UK’s second largest tourist destination after London.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and the UK’s third largest, after London and Birmingham. It is located in the municipality of Glasgow City on the River Clyde, and had 581,940 residents in 2007, with over 1.7 million residents in the entire metropolitan area.
From the beginning of the 18th century, Glasgow became one of Europe’s most important hubs for trade with North America. The city grew during industrialization and became one of the world’s leading shipyards with large shipyards. Glasgows had a large pan-Atlantic port, and was known for its shipping companies. The city grew during the late 1800s and early 1900s to over one million residents, in 1931 it reached a peak with 1,088,000 residents. However, during this time a number of new towns were built, including East Kilbride and Cumbernauld, which led to population decline. When the shipyards were closed down, the city had a period of decline but is today one of the UK’s most important financial centers.
Over time, the city has become more and more known as a large conference city with many hotels focused on this. The city also has a strong cultural scene, especially in music. Music groups such as Simple Minds, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain and Franz Ferdinand come from Glasgow.
The city is the third most popular tourist destination in the UK after London and Edinburgh, it is also one of Europe’s sixteen largest financial centers and houses many of Scotland’s largest corporate headquarters, and therefore forms an important part of the UK economy. There is also the classic University of Glasgow.
Leeds is a city in the metropolitan area of West Yorkshire in the north of England in the United Kingdom. The city has about 430,000 residents while the metropolitan area (City of Leeds) has about 715,000 residents. The river Aire flows through the city. Leeds functions, among other things, financially as the capital of a metropolitan region, which also includes Craven, Harrogate, Bradford, Selby, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Barnsley.
The city grew strongly from the 0’s onwards and came to take over York’s position as the dominant city in the region, mainly due to the growing wool industry. Nowadays, most people work in the service sector and the financial sector is one of the largest in the country. The city’s official slogan is The UK’s Favorite City.
Leeds has neither the subway nor the tram, which is unusual for a city of its size. However, there are plans to reintroduce tram traffic. The city is known for its extensive nightlife with a large number of nightclubs, much due to the large number of students.
Compared to other British cities of the same size, Leeds has had a limited number of artists who have made an international impact. Those who have succeeded include Chumbawamba, Melanie Brown (Spice Girls) and Sisters of Mercy.
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan area in the north-west of England, north of the mouth of the River Merseys. The city itself has 439,473 residents (2001), while the metropolitan area has just over 1.3 million residents. The city was the European Capital of Culture in 2008. A person from Liverpool is called liverpudlian, but also goes by the name scouser, which refers to a local dish – scouse, a kind of stew. The word scouse is also used about the local dialect.
The Port of Liverpool is the UK’s second largest export port. Internationally, Liverpool is known for football and as the Beatles’ hometown. In Liverpool there are two famous football teams. Everton FC playing at Goodison Park and Liverpool FC at Anfield.
The Cavern Club was a music club in Liverpool where the Beatles performed a lot just before they broke through. It was also here that the group met its future manager, Brian Epstein. Almost every band in England in the 1960s has played at the Cavern Club. The club was demolished in the 70’s due to a railway construction. However, the planned railway was never built. A new Cavern Club was later built 30 meters from the site of the old club.
Liverpool was included in the 2004 UNESCO World Heritage List for the city’s role in the development of world trade and for its port technology.
According to Countryaah, London is the capital of Great Britain. The city was founded under the name Londinium as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia, for which it also constituted a port city on the river Thames. London is the EU’s largest metropolis with its 7.4 million residents (2005) and with suburbs about 14 million residents (London Metropolitan Area). At the last census, almost 22% of the population was born outside the EU.
Greater London has an area of 1,579 square kilometers. The London Metropolitan Area, the London region including nearby towns and even some rural areas, covers an area of about 16,200 square kilometers.
Manchester is a city in northwest England. The city has 458,100 residents (2007) with approximately 2,240,230 million residents in the metropolitan area. Manchester is centrally located in one of the UK’s most densely populated regions, with several major cities within a few miles, including Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield. Within an eight-mile radius, more than 10 million residents live.
The city played an important role during the industrial revolution, and had a large fabric industry for a long time. In Swedish, there is a cotton fabric, Manchester, named after the city. Recently, Manchester also came to play a role for the music industry, with bands such as The Smiths, Oasis, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Joy Division (which later became New Order).
Newcastle is a city in the north east of England. The administrative unit has about 260,000 residents, while the entire metropolitan area, which also includes North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Gateshead, has just over 750,000 residents. The city is named after the Normans who built the wooden castle New Castle 1080. A person who comes from Newcastle is called Geordie, which is also the name of the local dialect. Traditionally, the shipping industry and coal exports have been significant for the city’s economy.
The castle that gave the city its name is long gone, but in its place a new castle was built between 1168 and 1178, Newcastle Castle Keep which remains. In Wallsend, east of the city center, there is a museum dedicated to the remains of the Roman fort Segedunum that was on the site.
Nottingham is a city in England with 284,300 residents (2001). The city has a good transport location, a varied industry and two universities. During the Middle Ages, Nottingham was one of England’s largest marketplaces.
Robin Hood who with his men stole from the rich and gave to the poor is considered to have a reality background. He is thought to have lived in Sherwood Forest, just outside Nottingham. There is a Statue of Robin Hood in Nottingham.
Oxford is a city in the central part of the south of England, located on the upper Thames, 80 km northwest of London. It has 110,000 residents (2001). Oxford is primarily known for its university, but is also a significant industrial city with i.a. car factories, graphic industry and book publishers (mainly Oxford University Press, founded 1478).
The city was founded by Saxons, and was first known as Oxanforda. The name means “ford for oxen”. The university is first mentioned in the 12th century. During the English Civil War, Oxford was the center of the royalist side and Charles I had his court in the city.
Authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, both professors at the University, lived and worked in Oxford for many years. Other literary celebrities with ties to the city include Oscar Wilde, Matthew Arnold, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Iris Murdoch and Colin Dexter. Actors also live in Oxford such as Orlando Bloom and Emma Watson.
Sheffield is a major city and metropolitan area in South Yorkshire, England. It is named after a river in the River Sheaf that flows through the city.
The city has grown from its widespread industrial roots and has developed a broader economic base. Sheffield has around 520,700 residents (2005), and is one of the eight largest English cities outside London, which make up the English Core Cities Group. The larger Sheffield Urban Area, which extends beyond the city limits, has 640,720 residents.
Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Sheffield became world famous in the 19th century for its steel production. Several innovations in the industry were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel. This led to an almost tenfold increase in population during the Industrial Revolution. The city received its city rights in 1893 and was officially named the City of Sheffield. International development led to a slump in local industry in the 1970s and 1980s, and at the same time the national coal industry was close to collapse, affecting Sheffield residents.
Sheffield has been home to several well-known bands and musicians such as Human League, Heaven 17, ABC, Thompson Twins, Pulp, Def Leppard, Joe Cocker, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA and Arctic Monkeys.
York is a city in Yorkshire in the north of England with just over 180,000 residents (2002). The city is an important railway junction with a diverse business community. Tourism is extensive, mainly due to the well-preserved medieval urban environment and the many medieval churches.
From the early Middle Ages, York developed into one of England’s most important cities. In the 6th century it became the seat of the archbishop. The city was conquered in 867 by Danish Vikings and in the 10th century an independent Scandinavian empire flourished with York as its capital. The city’s economic prosperity continued during the High Middle Ages, when it became a center for the wool trade. After a downturn, York received a new economic boost in the 19th century, when the city became one of England’s most important railway hubs.