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United Kingdom

Windsor Castle in Windsor, England.
Windsor Castle in Windsor, Berkshire seen at sunset, viewed from the Long Walk. Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.
Image: Diliff

Location map of the United Kingdom. Where in Europe is the United Kingdom?
Location map of the United Kingdom

National flag of the  United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom
The Union Jack

Destination Great Britain, a Nations Online Project country profile.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is known as the United Kingdom, the UK, Britain, or even England. The country on the island of Great Britain in north-western Europe comprises England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, which occupies the northeastern part of the island of Ireland. On the island of Ireland, there is the country's only land border, the one with the Republic of Ireland.

The UK is separated from continental Europe by the English Channel. The kingdom is situated on an archipelago known as the British Isles with the two main islands Great Britain and Ireland, plus the surrounding island groups of the Hebrides, the Shetlands, the Orkneys, the Isle of Man, and the Isle of Wight. The island group is located southeast of Iceland, west of Norway and Denmark, between the North Sea in the east and the North Atlantic Ocean in the west. The UK shares maritime borders with Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the Faroe Islands (Denmark).

With an area of 242,900 km², the United Kingdom is not quite half the size of Spain, or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon.

The UK has a population of 66.8 million people (in 2020), the capital and largest city is London. Spoken language is, guess what, British English, ok there is also Welsh, Irish Gaelic, and Scottish Gaelic.

The UK was one of the 28 member states of the European Union (EU), but since a kind of populist referendum in June 2016, the UK has now left the EU. What a pity!

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Once a 'great' nation, at its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface.

Now four constituent nations form the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). Great Britain, the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy, in advancing literature, science, and later pop music.

The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength critically depleted in two World Wars. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a founding member of NATO, and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy; it currently is weighing the degree of its integration with continental Europe (Brexit).

Still a member of the EU, it chose to remain outside of the European Monetary Union for the time being. Constitutional reform is also a significant issue in the UK. Regional assemblies with varying degrees of power opened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1999.



Country Profile

Official Name:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
conventional short form: United Kingdom
abbreviation: UK

ISO Country Code: gb, GBR
Internet identification code: uk

Time Zone: Western European Time Zone (WET). Western European Standard Time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Local Time = UTC No UTC offset
Daylight Saving Time (DST) March - October (UTC +1)
Actual Time: Sat-Sept-23  03:34

Country Calling Code: +44

Capital City: London (metropolitan pop. about 9 million)

Other Cities:
Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield. more


Official Sites of United Kingdom

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Palace of Westminster in London houses the British parliament
The Palace of Westminster in London is the meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Westminster is probably one of the most famous parliament buildings in the world. The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret's Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Mike Gimelfarb

Political system
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a unitary state with a constitutional monarchy. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have a degree of autonomous devolved power. The head of state of the United Kingdom is the monarch (Queen Elizabeth II). The head of government is the prime minister. The bicameral British Parliament is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom; its seat is the Palace of Westminster.

royal The Royal Household
The home of the Royal Family.

Number 10 Downing Street
The official site of the British Prime Minister (various, they go in and out of the office).

United Kingdom Parliament
consists of the
House of Commons
and the
House of Lords

UK government information and services.

Department for Exiting the European Union
The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Government information about Brexit.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
The British Government department is responsible for overseas relations and foreign affairs.

Diplomatic Missions
UK Mission to the United Nations (New York)
Britain at the United Nations; the United Kingdom is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
British Embassy, Washington D.C.
The British Embassy to the United States.
UK Embassies Overseas
Address list of UK Embassies Abroad.
Foreign Embassies in the UK
Address list of Foreign Embassies in the UK.

UK Statistics Authority
Official UK statistics and information about statistics.
Office for National Statistics
The UK's largest independent producer of official statistics.

The Met Office
UK's national meteorological service.

Law enforcement
Metropolitan Police
The Scotland Yard homepage. 




Maps of United Kingdom

United Kingdom Map
Map of United Kingdom (click map to enlarge)
Image: ©


Map of the United Kingdom
Detailed Map of the United Kingdom.

Map of Ireland
Detailed Map of Ireland.

Google Earth Google Map United Kingdom
Searchable map and satellite view of the United Kingdom.

Searchable map and satellite view of:
London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester

Google Earth Google Map the Tower Bridge
Satellite view with information about London's Tower Bridge.

Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.



News from the United Kingdom

UK Newsstand

UK News

A handful of corporations dominates the UK Media; among them is News UK, publisher of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers, owned by the American mass media conglomerate News Corp, headed by Rupert Murdoch. [1]

The UK media landscape is characterized by a strongly partisan mass-circulation commercial national press and a system of public service broadcasting led by the BBC. A sharp distinction exists between the national quality and tabloid press and between the regimes that govern the print and broadcast media. [2]

In the UK, most if not all tabloids cultivate a culture of sensationalism, with bold, notoriously aggressive headlines and content to the point of breaking the law or the most primitive standards to get a story out first. To stay in the game, they are poised for dishing dirt, provide juicy tidbits about people, and exaggerate incidents to scandals.
And yes, sex sells: "I want a tearaway paper with lots of tits in it," said Rupert Murdoch when he acquired the struggling British tabloid THE SUN.

Online News from the United Kingdom

The British Broadcasting Corporation online.
BBC News Online
The news site of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
The Financial Times
Business topics.
The Guardian
National and international news.
The Independent
National morning broadsheet.
British newspaper.
The Telegraph
A major 'conservative' broadsheet.
The Times
The well-known conservative British newspaper online.


Arts & Culture of the United Kingdom

banksy: Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock
Banksy street art. Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.
Image: banksy

Arts & Culture

British Museum
The museum is dedicated to human history plus culture, London.
British Motor Museum
The former Heritage Motor Centre is a British motor museum in Warwickshire, England, established in 1993.
Natural History Museum
Eighty million items, five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.
The National Museum of Science & Industry
Illustrating the history and contemporary practice of science, technology, medicine, and industry.
National Maritime Museum
The largest Maritime Museum in the World.
Science Museum
London's Science Museum on Exhibition Road is part of the Science Museum Group.

Performing arts
Barbican Centre
The Barbican is a performing arts center in London and the largest of its kind in Europe.
London Symphony Orchestra
LSO is London's oldest of symphony orchestra and one of the top orchestras in the world.

Classical Pop Music
Great Britain is the birthplace of many of the greatest rock musicians of all time. The music was essentially influenced by African American blues and US rock'n'roll.
The Beatles
Beatles interviews, photos, music, and animations.
David Bowie
Still contemporary British music.
Eric Clapton - Ginger Baker - Jack Bruce
Led Zeppelin
Fifty years of hardcore blues.
The Rolling Stones
Traditional British Rock music.
Pink Floyd
Classical psychedelic band.

Visual arts
The National Gallery
The national collection of Western European paintings, London.
The Royal Academy of Arts
Independent, privately funded art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London, it has a collection of fine arts from the 18th century to the present.
Tate Gallery
United Kingdom's national collection of British art.
V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)
The Victoria and Albert Museum, stylized V&A, founded in 1852, it boasts of being the world's leading museum of art and design.

Yale Center for British Art
The Yale Center for British Art at Yale University in downtown New Haven, Connecticut, houses the most comprehensive collection of British paintings, prints, drawings, rare books, and sculpture outside Great Britain.

Street art.
Frank Bowling
Guyana-born British artist.
David Hockney
English painter, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer.

London based site of a creative writing community where anyone can tell their stories and read the stories of others.

Oxford English Dictionary
The last word on words for the English language.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Shakespeare online. 



Business & Economy of the United Kingdom

Front of the Bank of England in London
The Bank of England at Threadneedle Street in London.
Image: Daniel Bennett

Bank of England
The Bank of England was founded in 1694; it is the central bank of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, based in London.

London Stock Exchange (LSE)
The London Stock Exchange is headquartered in London; it is among the largest and oldest exchanges in Europe.

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
The British Chamber of Commerce is the national representative body of 52 regional accredited chambers of commerce in the United Kingdom.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest independent networking and business support organization.

Department for International Trade
Formerly the UK Trade & Investment, it was replaced by the Department for International Trade in July 2016, a UK government organization helping UK companies to do business abroad.

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
BEIS is a government department supported by 46 agencies and public bodies that was created in 2016 as a result of the merger between the former Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Dos and Dont's
Etiquette Guide: The UK
How to Succeed Royally in Britain.



British Airways
The Kingdoms national airline.
British low-cost airline headquartered at London Luton Airport.
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Privately held UK airline.

Thomas Cook Airlines
was a British charter and scheduled airline headquartered in Manchester; it ceased operations on 23 September 2019.
BMI was UK's second-largest airline; it served over 30 European destinations; it ceased operations on 16 February 2019.

Brittany Ferries
UK's slow connection to mainland Europe.

High-speed passenger train linking London, Paris, and Brussels.
Train travel in the UK.

Well-known British Brands
Alfred Dunhill
English style.
English luxury fashion of weatherproofed outerwear.
Burberry Group Inc is an English luxury fashion house, headquartered in London, England.
The Body Shop
The British cosmetics and skincare company was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick; the company is now owned by L'Oréal.
British menswear retailer.
The Store.
Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley was a Welsh textile design company, now in the hands of the MUI Group of Malaysia.
Marks & Spencer
British retailer.
Leather accessories.
Paul Smith
Royal Designer.
Private White V.C.
British Luxury Menswear.

The world's first fine art auction house was founded in 1766 by James Christie, now owned by the French Groupe Artémis.
The other one of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art. Sotheby's was established in 1744 in London. The company is now headquartered in New York City.

Aston Martin
Manufacturer of luxury sports cars and grand tourers.
A typical British car, acquired by Volkswagen Group in 1998.
MG Cars (Morris Garage), was a British sports car manufacturer.
Jaguar Cars
Luxury vehicle brand.
Land Rover
Famous British four-wheel-drive.
The icon of the 1960s British pop culture was first produced by the English based British Motor Corporation (BMC). The last original Mini was produced in Longbridge on 4 October 2000.
Also a very typical British car, acquired by Vickers, then sold to Volkswagen; it is now a subsidiary of BMW.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in England.
Premier League
The top level of the English football league system.
Royal Ascot
Hats and horses.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.




Tourism in the United Kingdom

Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire
Warwick Castle, as seen from the bridge over the River Avon. The medieval castle in Warwickshire was (re)built in stone in the 12th century.
Image: DeFacto

Destination United Kingdom - Travel and Tour Guides


Discover United Kingdom (just the highlights): London, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the British Museum, the National Gallery, Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Lake District in Cumbria, Eden Project Eco-park, National Railway Museum York, Warwick Castle.

Visit Britain
The British Tourist Authority Web Site.
The UK in pictures.

Guardian Unlimited: Travel United Kingdom
The Guardian's guide to the UK.

London at a glance with a map.
Page about Birmingham with a map.
About the capital of Wales.
Scotland's capital with a map.
About the city of Glasgow.
More about the birthplace of the Beatles.
Manchester info with a map.

More Travel and Tour Guides can be found at the separate pages of:
below England, London Northern Ireland Scotland Wales




UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Greenwich Hospital with Canary Wharf in background, Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
Greenwich Hospital or the Old Royal Naval College, with high-rise buildings of the Canary Wharf in background, one of the central business districts of London.
Image: Tony Grist

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom
There are 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom, 27 cultural, four natural, and one mixed. (see the UNESCO list for the UK)

World Heritage Site Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
The four castles of Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and their fortified towns of Conwy and Caernarfon in Gwynedd, North Wales, are the best examples of late 13th and early 14th-century military architecture in Europe.

World Heritage Site Maritime Greenwich
The building complex includes the 17th century Queen's House, part of the last Royal Palace at Greenwich, the palatial Baroque-style Royal Hospital for Seamen (now known as the Old Royal Naval College), and the Royal Observatory founded in 1675. (Maritime Greenwich official website)

World Heritage Site Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
The Scottish capital has two distinct areas, the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress, and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning.

World Heritage Site City of Bath
The city was founded by the Romans as a thermal spa. In the Middle Ages Bath was an important center of the wool industry. Bath became the center of fashionable life in England during the 18th century; it was an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings.


Education in United Kingdom

The Great Court at Trinity College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
The Great Court at Trinity College, Cambridge. From left to right, the King's Gate, the Chapel, the Fountain and the Great Gate.
Image: Andrew Dunn

The British Library
One of the world's great knowledge institutions.
Eton College
The Eton College Web Page, an independent boarding school for boys in Eton, Windsor, Berkshire.
London School of Economics and Political Science
Founded in 1895, teaching and research across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences.
Oxford Brookes University
Named Best New University 2001-2005 by the Sunday Times University Guide.
University of Cambridge
Welcome to the University of Cambridge, the collegiate public research university in Cambridge.
King's College London
KCL is the oldest college of the University of London and one of the most prestigious university institutions in Europe.
University College London
Founded in 1826, UCL is consistently ranked in the top three multifaculty UK universities.
University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham is a research university in the middle-English city of Nottingham.
University of Oxford
Home page of the University of Oxford in Oxford (England) is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.
University of Sussex
Founded in the 1960s, the University has become a leading teaching and research institution in the UK.

University Guide by Education -
Comprehensive source of information on the UK's academic sector, provides university rankings, university statistics and student statistics.


The Geological Society
UK's national society for geoscience.
cultural reference  Royal Geographical Society
Founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical science.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
Home of the Prime Meridian of the World. You can stand on the Prime Meridian Line daily 10am–5.30pm (£14.40), and take as many selfies as you like.
Science Museum
London's Science Museum is a large science and technology museum and one of the city's major tourist attractions.


Environment & Nature

Quiraing, on the Trotternish Peninsula of Skye
Quiraing, the spectacular series of rock pinnacles within the Trotternish National Scenic Area is located on the northernmost peninsula of Skye.
Image: Ian Cylkowski

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
FoE EWNI is one of 75 national groups around the world which make up the Friends of the Earth network of environmental organizations.

Green Alliance
Green Alliance is a charity and an independent think tank for the environment in the United Kingdom (UK).

Natural England
A non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a designated exceptional landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest.

Natural Environment Research Council
The Natural Environment Research Council delivers independent research, survey, training and knowledge transfer in the environmental sciences, to advance knowledge of planet Earth as a complex, interacting system.

The National Trust
UK's National Trust is a conservation organization in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The NGO organization acts as a guardian for the nation in the acquisition and protection of threatened coastlines, countrysides and buildings.

The Tree Council
UK's lead charity for trees is working towards: making trees matter to everyone - more trees, of the right kind, in the right place - better care for all trees, of all ages.


United Kingdom History

Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry depict events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. King Edward the Confessor and Harold Godwinson at Winchester (left). On his journey to the coast, Harold took a hunting falcon and a pack of hunting dogs with him.
Tapestry: La Tapisserie de Bayeux

The Bayeux Tapestry
The embroidered cloth from the 11th century, is nearly 70 m (230 ft) long and 50 cm (20 in) tall; it depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

The National Archives
The National Archives of England, Wales and the United Kingdom, explore over 1000 years of history from Domesday times (11th century) to the present day.

British History Online
British History Online is a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a primary focus on the period between 1300 and 1800.

History: British History in-depth
The BBC with comprehensive information about the UK's past.

The Camelot Project
Scholarly Arthurian Resources with a database of Arthurian texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University
Digital facsimiles of over 80 early manuscripts.

English Heritage
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites, which span six millennia.

History of the Monarchy
The history of the oldest institution of government in the United Kingdom.

Richard III Society
The life and times of Richard III.

Additional sites:
The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School
Digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.
History of the United Kingdom
Primary Documents, from Antiquity through the Present.
World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom
UK's World Heritage Sites.

British Museum
Founded in 1753, this is one of the world's oldest museum.
spot Museum of the City of London
The world's largest urban history museum and Europe's largest archaeological archive.

The Natural History Museum
Promoting the discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world.




Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island
Lindisfarne Castle on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England.
Image: Matthew Hunt

England Guides

Visit England
The official tourist board for England, a visitors guide to the largest and most southern part of Great Britain.

City Guide
Mayor of London, the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority
The Official Site for London, Capital of the United Kingdom.

The London visitors guide.

Isle of Avalon - Glastonbury
An inspirational guide to what's special about Glastonbury.
Brighton and Hove
Brighton and Hove visitors guide.
Northumbria Tourist Board
Visitors guide to Northumbria, covers the counties of Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and the Tees Valley area.
Shakespeare Country
South Warwickshire Tourism visitors guide to Historic Warwick, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and aurrounding area
Visit Somerset
Somerset visitors guide.
South East England
The Beautiful South.
Yorkshire Tourist Board
Welcome to Yorkshire.


Additional Information

Selected country profiles of the United Kingdom published by international organizations.


Amnesty International: United Kingdom
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights.

BBC Country Profile: United Kingdom
Country profiles by the British public service broadcaster.

The Commonwealth: United Kingdom
The Commonwealth Member countries: United Kingdom

FAO: United Kingdom
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a UN agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.

Freedom House: United Kingdom
The U.S. government-funded non-profit organization whose goal is to promote liberal democracies worldwide.

GlobalEDGE: United Kingdom
United Kingdom ranking by the Global business knowledge portal.

The Heritage Foundation: United Kingdom
Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank.

Human Rights Watch: United Kingdom
HRW conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

OEC: United Kingdom
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides the latest international trade data.

Reporters Without Borders: United Kindom
RSF (Reporters sans frontières) is an international NGO that defends and promotes media freedom.

Wikipedia: United Kingdom
Wikipedia's United Kingdom page in many languages.

Worldbank Data: United Kingdom
World Development Indicators database.

The World Factbook -- United Kingdom
CIA World Factbook United Kingdom Page.


British Overseas Territories
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Saint Helena, Pitcairn Islands

Other Countries and Regions of Northern Europe:
Denmark | Estonia | Faroe Islands | Finland | Greenland | Iceland | Ireland | Latvia | Lithuania | Norway | Northern Ireland | Sweden | Scotland | Wales

Major Cities in Northern Europe
Belfast | Birmingham | Bremen | Cardiff | Copenhagen | Dublin | Edinburgh | Glasgow | Hamburg | Helsinki | Kiel | Liverpool | London | Malmö | Manchester | Nuuk | Oslo | Reykjavik | Riga | Saint Petersburg | Stockholm | Tallinn | Vilnius