The United Kingdom from A-Z

Updated February 2018

Map of United Kingdom


Dieu et mon droit - God is My Right

The United Kingdom is often called the UK, "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
The name refers to the union of what were once four separate nations:
England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent).

A fact about the United Kingdom for each letter of the alphabet

    Picture of Wheat field AGRICULTURE in the UK includes growing crops and raising livestock. The Royal Agricultural Society of England plays a leading role in the development of British Agriculture and sponsors an annual farm event and also a grain event. Nearly 3/5 of England is used as farmland, and most farmers concentrate on 1 crop or animal. Major crops include wheat, barley, potatoes, and sugar beet. Farmers in the southern part of the country grow most of Britain's fruits and vegetables. Some of the best cattle in the world evolved from British breeds. Corn dollies are made from the last straw reaped at harvest time.

    Picture of Stonehenge The UK has many ARCHAEOLOGY sites including Amesbury, the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the UK. Archaeology sites in England include medieval villages and Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric site in Europe. Archaeology sites in Scotland include Megalithic Monuments. Archaeology sites in Wales include Prehistoric sites. Archaeology sites in Northern Ireland include Stone Circles. In 2004 a 1,000 year old burial site of 6 vikings complete with swords, spears, jewelry, fire-making material, and riding equipment was found in Northwest England. In 2006 the oldest handwritten tablets in the UK were found in London. In 2016 an archaeological dig in England discovered a prehistoric settlement from the Bronze Age. Many of the Roman sites are open to the public. Prehistoric life in the UK has been well documented. The Ironbridge Gorge Museum is Britain's finest museum of industrial archaeology. The British Museum has an outstanding archaeology collection. The Archaeological Association was founded in 1843 and supports research in the fields of Western archaeology,

    Picture of Cathedral ARCHITECTURE in the UK evolved from one period to another, and there are many Great Buildings. The tallest building in the UK and the European Union is The Shard in London. The UK has had many cathedrals including Winchester Cathedral in England, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. The earliest known examples of architecture in England are the megalithic tombsof the Neolithic era. Among the most characteristic styles of architecture originating in England are the Perpendicular Gothic of the late Middle Ages, the High Victorian Gothic, and the Queen Anne Style. The The Shard in London is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and the tallest building in the European Union. Architecture in Scotland includes buildings from the Neolithic era. The earliest surviving houses go back around 9500 years, and the first villages 6000 years. Skara Brae on the Mainland of Orkney is the most complete Neolithic village in Europe. The Architecture of Wales includes stone tower houses which may date back to about 1400. Northern Ireland has some unique architecture.

    Picture of Artist's Palette ART in the UK refers to all forms of visual art since its formation in 1707. The oldest surviving art in the UK includes Stonehenge from around 2600 BC, and tin and gold works of art produced by the Beaker people from around 2150 BC. The country has Neolithic and Bronze Age Rock Art. The earliest examples of art in what is now Scotland are highly decorated carved stone balls from the Neolithic period. Prehistoric Wales has left a number of significant finds including a decorated Horse Jaw. ART festivals are held throughout the UK, and the government encourages and supports the arts through agencies called Art Councils. The British Arts Festivals Association promotes art from street theater to opera and Opera Houses are located throughout the UK. The National Drama Festivals Association was formed in 1964 to encourage and support amateur theater and there are Drama Festivals throughout the UK.

    Picture of Balmoral Castle CASTLES are located throughout the UK. England has many castles including Windsor, the largest inhabited castle in the world. BelvoirCastlein England, has been the home of the Duke of Rutland for 1,000 years, and Buckingham Palace has been the official home of the royal family since 1837. Wales is called the Castle Capital of the world and Chepstow Castle in Wales is the oldest castle in the UK. There have been well over 2,000 castles in Scotland and Edinburgh Castle is the most famous and important castle in the country. Carrickfergus Castle was built in 1177 and is the largest and most famous castle in Northern Ireland.

    Picture of Cheddar Cave CAVES are located throughout the UK, and the country has many Show Caves. The White Scar Caves in England is a show cave. Cheddar Caves has beautiful rock formations and is one of the earliest sites in England known to have been inhabited by mankind. Scotland has many caves including High Pasture Cave that has arrowheads left during the Mesolithic period and Hawthorn Cave the longest cave system in the country. Northern Ireland has many caves including the Caves of Tullybrack and Belmore Hills which feature 3 major cave systems. There are many caves in Wales. The Hawthron Cave is the longest cave system and the 2nd longest in Great Britain. Otter Hole Cave on the Wales-England border, is one of the finest examples of decorated caverns in Europe.The United Kingdom Cave Conservation Emergency Fund supports projects which further the conservation of caves and cave features. The are many caving organizations in the UK. The country also has a very rich and interesting geology and mining and the discovery of caves goes hand in hand. The British Cave Research Association supports cave and karst research.

    Picture of Rain/Sun/Cloud The CLIMATE in the UK is influenced by all of the major air masses. The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the Caribbean Sea, and the combination of moisture and warmth keeps the country green throughout the year and from getting to warm in the summer. The eastern part of England receives the most rain, and the south western part is one of the warmest places. There are weather webcams in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Weather conditions throughout the UK can be found on the internet. The Royal Meteorological Society advances and promotes the science of meteorology in the UK.

    Picture of Commonwealth Flags After the end of World War II, the UK granted independence to most of the territories of the British Empire. Many joined the COMMONWEALTH and 16 share their head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. A Secretary-General is appointed by governments of the Commonwealth. Some countries have their own National Anthem. The Commonwealth Institute provides information and promotes cultural understanding within Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth Day is held in March. Australia and Canada were the first Commonwealth countries.

    Picture of COMMUNICATIONS The UK has all forms of Communications. The most prominent public provider is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Regional media is covered by local radio, television and print newspapers. Trinity Mirror operates 240 local and regional newspapers, as well as national newspapers. There are newspapers distributed nationally in the UK and some in Scotland only, and others serving a local area. A large range of magazines are sold in the United Kingdom covering most interests and potential topics. Radio is dominated by the BBC. Television has a collection of services. The UK has been involved with the Internet since it was created. Post Office Telephones was reorganized in 1980–81 as British Telecommunications and was the first nationalized industry to be privatized by the Conservative government. The numbering plan consists of an area code—one for each of the large towns and cities and their surroundings—and a subscriber number—the individual number.

    Picture of Pound Sign The Pound is the official CURRENCY used in Great Britain and is considered the oldest living currency in the world. Its name derives from the Latin word Libra and is present as the £ symbol. Anglo-Saxon King Offa is credited with introducing the system of money to central and southern England in the latter half of the 8th Century. The first pound coin appeared im 1489 and was called a sovereign. The shilling was first minted in 1504. Banknotes began to circulate in England soon after the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694. The pound was decimalized in 1971. Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own notes. Coins are struck by the British Royal Mint and more than a hundred countries have entrusted the striking of their coinage to them. The pound has survived as an independent currency when most of the rest of Europe adopted a single currency, the Euro.

    Picture of a Dam in the UK DAMS and reservoirs are located throughout the UK. England has many dams including the Rutlanad Dam that forms one of the largest manmade lakes on the European continent. Kielder Dam is the site of the largest hydro electric plant in England and forms the largest man made reservoir in the UK. Wales has several dams and reservoirs and Llyn Brianne Dam is the tallest dam in the UK. There are several dams in Scotland including the Kirk Dam that is the habitat for a variety of marshland birds. Northern Ireland has 2 dams and Duncan Dam is open to the public. The country also has several reservoirs. The Jumbles Reservoir in England is a country park and has a sailing club. The Island of Jersey has several reservoirs and Queens Valley is the largest. Nuclear Power is a major source of electricity in the UK and Calder Hall was the first first nuclear power plant built in England. The country has many Solar Power Projects. The British Dam Society provides information relating to dams and reservoirs.

    Picture of Channel Islands Crown DEPENDENCIES are not part of the UK but are directly linked to the British Crown. They have their own parliaments, governments, laws, postage stamps, and currencies. The Isle of Man has many special events. The Manx Parliament, Tynwald, is the oldest functioning parliamentary democracy in the world. Other Dependencies include Jersey which has a Marching Band that is 125 years old, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey which includes 10 parishes on the Island and also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet possessions. Guernsey also administers some aspects of 2 nearby crown dependencies - Alderney and Sark. Sark is the smallest of the Channel Islands and is ruled by a "Seigneur" or "Dame". The Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy. The islands of St. Kilda west of the Scottish mainland was the 1st location in Scotland to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UK has 14 Dependent Overseas Territories which are legally part of the UK. While each has its own internal leadership, they are under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the UK and share the British monarch as head of state. The central government in London is responsible for the foreign policy and defense, sometimes even for constitutional issues.

    Picture of Dinosaur Running There is evidence that DINOSAURS may have originated in what is now the UK. Many species of dinosaurs and a variety of fossils have been found. In 2014, a rare Plesiosaur skeleton was discovered buried beneath a fenland quarry in Cambridge, England. The Natural History Museum in London features dinosaur exhibits. Dinosaur Adventure Park in Norfolk combines education with fun. The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester, England is a hands-on museum. Scientists identified a specimen found in Scotland that may be the ancestor of all dinosaurs and called it Saltopus. The Dinosaur World in Wales displays the largest collection of dinosaurs in the UK. The Ulster Museumin Northern Ireland has various dinosaur remains including a display of a near complete Edmontosaurus skeleton. The Isle of Wight is one of the richest dinosaur localities in Europe, with over 20 species of dinosaur having been recognized from the early Cretaceous Period (in particular between 132 and 110 million years ago), some of which were first identified on the island, as well as the contemporary non-dinosaurian species of crocodile, turtle and pterosaur. Compton Bay features dinosaur footprints which are visible at low tide. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.

    Picture of seismography EARTHQUAKES are not generally associated with the UK, but there is a moderate amount of seismic activity. The Bishop Castle earthquake, magnitude 4.9-5.4, in April 1990 and the Dudley earthquake, magnitude 5.0, in September 2002 were large earthquakes. An earthquake, magnitude 5.2, occurred in February 2008 and was the largest earthquake to affect the UK since the 1984. The Lyn Peninsula earthquake, magnitude 5.4, occurred in July 1987. An earthquake, magnitude 4.4, occurred in February 2018 with epicenter 8 miles outside Swansea. The Dynamic Earth Center in Edinburgh focuses on a better understanding of the processes that have shaped the Earth. The British Geological Survey provides information about quakes in the country.

    Picture of Teacher EDUCATION in the UK is a devolved matter with each of the countries having separate systems under separate governments. Janet is a private UK government-funded computer network dedicated to research and education. The British Council connects people worldwide with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK. The Department of Education and skills provides children better education for a highly skilled workforce. Education in Wales differs in certain respects from system used elsewhere in the UK. Home Schooling is available in the UK. Student television in the UK is done by students from universities and colleges around the UK.

    Map of Counties in England ENGLAND is one of 4 areas which form the UK. Originally it was a kingdom but united under 1 crown with Scotland in 1707. It makes up about 54% of the UK. It is divided into over 40 counties and has a population of about 12 million people. London is the Capital of England and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Excavations have unearthed a 2,000 year old plaque showing the oldest example known of the Roman name for London. London is called the Selfie Capital of the World.

    Picture of a Television Set There are many forms of ENTERTAINMENT in the UK. The British Broadcasting System offers a wide variety of radio and television programs and sets the standards for radio and TV around the world. Britain is one of the world's major centers for theater, and there are theaters in England. The Royal National Theater and English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theater are in London, and The Royal Shakespeare Company is based at Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Picture hogmanay event The UK has many EVENTS and Festivals. The Nottingham Goose Fair in England started about 1284 as a trade event and got its name from the thousands of geese sold in Nottingham but is now known for its rides and games. The gatherings known as Eisteddfods were established to celebrate all things Welsh centuries ago and switches location each year. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tatoo in Scotland had crowds and performers from all over the world with massed pipes and drums, military bands, display teams, dancers set against the magnificent backcloth of Edinburgh Castle. The Dalriada Festival in Northern Ireland takes place at Glenarm Castle and includes Highland Games, performing arts, and more. The UK has several National Holidays. There are also public (bank) holidays. A unique holiday is Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday.

    Picture of Coal The GEOLOGY of the UK is renowned for its diversity and rocks of almost all geological ages are represented. The Geological Society of London promotes the geosciences and interest of UK geoscientists. Mining in the mining in the UK produces a wide variety of fossil fuels and industrial minerals. A new metals mine opened in 2014. The Confederate of United Kingdom Coal Producers promotes the UK coal industry. England has many gems and mineral.

    Picture of ghost The UK is wellknown for its GHOSTS and the City of Derby is called the "Ghost Capital" of England. There are a number of reportedly haunted locations in the UK. Click HERE for more information about haunted places in the UK and several have Ghostwatch webcams. Borley Rectory in England is the most famous haunted house in the UK. The UK also has Haunted Inns & Hotels. Plymouth, the capital of Montserrat, in the British West Indies, has the distinction of being the only ghost town which is the capital of a political territory. Northern Ireland has many tales of witches and ghouls, spirits and other supernatural beings. There are a number of reportedly haunted locations in Scotland and Wales.

  • Picture of Animated Globe The GLOBAL POSITION of the United Kingdom ranges from latitude 54 degrees north to longitude 2 degrees west. It is located off the north-western coast of the European mainland and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The Lizard peninsula in England is the most southern point of the UK and Dunnet Head in Scotland is the most northern point. Belleek County in Northern Ireland is the most western point and Lowestoft in England is the most eastern point. An international agreement set an invisible line running through Greenwich as the zero line of longitude from which all distances on earth are measured. The Royal Observatory Greenwich is part of the National Maritime Museum and the home of the Prime Meridian of the World.

    Picture of Magna Carta The GOVERNMENT of the United Kingdom is a Constitutional Monarchy. The reigning monarch appoints the Prime Minister after each general election and asks him/her to form a government. Many celebrations are based on functions of the government. In June there is the Trooping of the Colour when the monarch reviews the troops. Then there is The State Opening of Parliament when the monarch rides through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. When there is a coronation of a new monarch or a royal wedding, the whole country celebrates. The Magna Carta is considered the cornerstone of liberty and was the basis for the Constitution of the United States. The National Trust looks after acres of countryside, 600 miles of coastline, and hundreds of buildings and gardens.

    Picture of Doctor HEALTH care in the UK is provided by the National Health Service which is one of the largest employers in the world. Medical services in the country are nationalized. The Department of Health aims to improve the health and well being of people in England.

    Picture of Royal Coat of Arms The first use of HERALDRY associated with the English was in the Bayeux Tapestry, recounting the events of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The College of Arms is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand. The Royal Coat of Arms is the official coat of arms of the British monarch. The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland was the official coat of arms of the King of Scots from its adoption in the 12th century until the end of the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707. Heraldry was already being used in Wales by the middle of the thirteenth century. Following the integration of Wales into England in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Welsh heraldic tradition became merged into that of England. The Coat of Arms of Northern Ireland was granted to the Government of Northern Ireland in 1924. The Coat of Arms of Australia is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Coat of Arms of New Zealand is a national symbol of New Zealand.

    Picture of Historic Site The UK has many HISTORIC sites and historic buildings. In England historic sites include Canterbury Cathedral, a Cathedral City and The Tower of London, home of the Crown Jewels. In Northern Ireland, historic sites include the Titanic Belfast where the RMS Titanic was built and St. Patrick's Cathedral. In Wales,, historic sites include The Great Orme Mines dating back over 4,000 years to the Bronze Age and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the oldest and longest navigable aqueduct in Great Britain and the highest in the world. Scotland, historic sites include Skara brae, a prehistoric village, and The HMY Britannia the former royal yacht of the British monarch now berthed in Edinburgh. English Heritage protects & promotes the historic environment of England. The Historic House Association represents the interests of privately owned historic houses and gardens. The National Trust takes care of acres of the countryside, 6000 miles of coastline, and several hundred buildings and gardens.

    Picture of Timeline The HISTORY of the UK as a unified sovereign state began in 1707 with the political union of the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland. A further Act of Union in 1800 added the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, most of Ireland seceded to become the Irish Free State; a day later, Northern Ireland seceded from the Free State and returned to the United Kingdom. As a result, in 1927 the United Kingdom changed its formal title to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," usually shortened to "Britain" and (after 1945) to the "United Kingdom" or "UK". English Heritage protects & promotes the historic environment of England.

    Picture of horse The known history of the HORSE in the UK starts with horse remains found in Pakefield, Suffolk, dating from 700,000 BC, and in Boxgrove, West Sussex, dating from 500,000 BC. Horses played an important part in the history and culture of the UK. Palace House is home to the National Horse racing Museum. The horse has provided names for many of Britain’s food, plants and insects including horseradish, the horse chestnut, the horse-fly and horse-parsley. Nowadays horses mainly provide sport and entertainment and there are many horse races. The Ascot Racecourse in England was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne. The UK also has show jumping events. There are many horse phrases.

    Picture of Jazz Musician JAZZ is popular in the UK and there are many and Jazz Festivals throughout the country. In November Jazz Festivals take place in a variety of places in London. There are Jazz bands and clubs in Northern Ireland. There are many opportunities to enjoy jazz performances in Wales. There are jazz festivals and events in Scotland

    Picture of Car Boot/Trunk JUMBLE sales in the UK are similar to garage sales in the United States. Items are not limited to family possessions, and there are many contributors. The sales are often held in church halls or other public buildings and are usually for charity. England has a Charity Law The Beaulieu Boat Jumble is the biggest boat jumble in Europe. The Southampton Boat Show is the largest purpose built marina in Europe. The nearest thing to a garage sale in the UK is called a car boot (car trunk) sale where people get together at one place and sell from the boot (trunk) of their car.

    Picture of kids Many aspects of the UK focus on KIDS. The UK Parliament has a webpage for Kids. The British Broadcasting Company also has a webpage for kids. The Kids Channel is geared to children.

    Picture of a crown KINGS (and Queens) have ruled the UK for nearly a thousand years. King Egbert is considered to be the 1st true King of England. Alfred the Great laid the basis for the unification of England and is the only English king known as "The Great".

    Picture of Metric measuring items KILOMETERS is a metric unit that measures distance. The metric system is the official system of measurement in the UK for all except road distance signs and speeds. The UK also uses the imperial system of measurement. The UK Metric Association supports the use of the metric system in the UK. The British Standard Institute has proposed a new scheme that would insure common clothes sizing.

    Picture of Queen Victoria at Coronation Several QUEENS (and many Kings) have ruled the UK. Queen Victoria reigned for many years. Queen Elizabeth II, the present monarch, is the longest reigning Queen. Scotland has had queens including Mary Queen of Scots and Margaret, Maid of Norway. The RMS Queen Mary along with the RMS Queen Elizabeth were built as part of Cunard's planned two-ship weekly express service between Southampton in England and New YorkUSA. With the decline in the popularity of the transatlantic route, both ships were replaced by the smaller, more economical Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969. Queen Mary was retired from service in 1967 and sold to the city of Long Beach, California, US. The Queen Elizabeth was sold to a succession of buyers. In 1972, while undergoing refurbishment in Hong Kong harbor, she caught fire and was capsized. Her wreck was deemed an obstruction, and she was partially scrapped where she lay.

    Picture of People in a queue To QUEUE in the UK means to stand in line, and the lines are called queues.

    Picture of Question Mark Take a QUIZ about the United Kingdom
    Quiz #1 - Quiz #2 - Quiz #3 - Quiz #4

    Picture of Flag of Scotland SCOTLAND is 1 of 4 areas which form the UK. Scotland shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages. In 1707, Scotland entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Picture of a scout logo The SCOUT Movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden Powell. In 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. The two largest umbrella organizations are the World Organization of the Scout Movement for boys-only and co-educational organizations, and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations. Scouting includes many activities. Each level of Scouts has it own distinct uniform. Scouting in Northern Ireland is represented by three Scouting associations. Scouting in Scotlandis largely represented by The Scottish Council of The Scout Association. Scouting in Wales is largely represented by Scouts Cymru, a branch of the Scout Association of the United Kingdom, although some groups of the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association also operate there. In 2014, the association introduced the role of UK Youth Commissioner. The Youth Commissioner works directly with the UK Chief Commissioner, Chief Executive, and Chairman to ensure that The Scout Association’s decisions and planning are shaped by young people.

    Picture of a Seal Many forms of SEA LIFE and marine mammals can be found in the waters that surround the UK including a wide variety of both fresh water and salt water fish. The Marine Conservations Society is dedicated to the protection of the UK marine environment and its wildlife. The British Marine Life Study Society produces a journal exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles. Seasearch is an underwater survey project to record observations of marine habitats and the life they support. The country has many whale watching groups, programs and societies. The Conchological Societ Marine Recording Scheme promotes the study of Mollusca. There are several Seal Sanctuariesin the UK.

    Picture of sports equipment Many SPORTS are played in the UK and some were developed there. Soccer is the most popular spectator sport. Cricket was first played in 1300 and is considered to be the National sport. Other popular sports are deer hunting and hunting with hounds which started in Saxon times. The annual games at Wimbledon are the most important tennis matches in the world. The Lawn Tennis was invented in Wales. The Isle of Man has world famous motorcycle races including the International Tourist Trophy Races. The Commonwealth Games promote sports for the benefit of the people, nations, and territories of the Commonwealth. Surf Snowdonia in north Wales, is the first commercial artificial surfing lake in the world and the only one in the UK. Fishing is a popular sport and there are many places to fish and fisheries in the UK including Northern Ireland.

    Picture Royal Tartan TARTANS are mostly associated with Scotland, however, ancient Celtic populations that flourished between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, produced tartan-like textiles. Tartan-like leggings were found on the "Cherchen Man", a 3,000-year-old mummy found in the Taklamakan Desert. The earliest documented tartan in Britain dating from the 3rd century AD was uncovered at Falkirk in Stirlingshire, Scotland. The naming and registration of official clan tartans began in 1815. The clan tartan is an important part of a Scottish clan. Two of the most popular tartans are the Royal Stewart tartan and the Black Watch . Tartans have been created for various events and certain ethnic groups and have a long history with the military. Many tartan patterns have been developed for individuals, families, districts, institutions, and corporations. In Canada, the Maple Leaf Tartan is an official symbol of the country. Most Canadian provinces and territories have an official tartan. Several Canadian counties and municipalities also have official tartans. In Scotland at least two local government councils have official tartans. Many of the states of the United States of America also have official tartans. Tartan Day is celebrated in Australia, Canada, and the United States. It has been estimated that there are about 3,500 to 7,000 different tartans, with around 150 new designs being created every year.

    Picture of forms for transportaion TRANSPORTATION throughout the UK includes road, air, rail, bus, and water. The London Underground is the oldest subway system in the world. The London Bus System uses world-famous double-decker red buses. Single-decker green buses serve districts outside London. Every major city in England has a regional bus system. The M1 was the first motorway built in Europe. The National Motor Museum has one of the most complete collections of historic cars in the world. The Department of Vehicle License Agency is responsible for road safety and registering drivers and vehicles. The 1st license plate was issued in 1903. The Channel Tunnel carries freight and passengers from England to France. Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in England. The Gibraltar International Airport serves the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and is exposed to strong cross winds making it one of the scariest runways in the world. Richard Trevithick, an English engineer, built the first steam locomotive to travel on railroad tracks.

    Picture of a Forest The UK has a variety of TREES both native and non-native. Champion Trees can be found in every part of the country. There are many ancient trees in the UK. Forests are located throughout the UK, and more than 8% of the land area is devoted to productive forestry. In Scotland, Falloway Forest Park is the largest forest in the UK and the Grand Fir is the tallest tree in the UK. The Fortingall Yew in the churchyard of the village of Fortingallin Scotland is estimated to be 2,000 years old. The Forestry Commision of Great Britain is responsible for protecting and expanding forests and woodlands. Castlewellan Forest Park contains the national Arboretum of Northern Ireland, started in 1740 with trees from Asia, North and South America, and Australasia. It has the largest permanent hedge maze in the world. The British Conifer Society promotes the use of conifers. A Grand Fir in Scotland is the tallest tree in the UK. The Fortingall Yew in the churchyard of the village of Fortingallin Scotland is estimated to be 2,000 years old.

    Picture of flower The UK has a variety of VEGETATION. The New Forest is the largest area of natural vegetation left in England. English Gardens date back to the Roman Empire. Kent is called the Garden of England. The Eden Project in England is a major environmental and educational project. The Lost Gardens of Heligan in England is the site of the largest garden restoration in Europe. More than 20,000 exotic plants grow in the Abbey Garden on the Island of Tresco in England. The Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens in England has one of the world's largest collection of seeds of wild plants that are becoming extinct. Gardens in Scotland are famous for their clear air and profuse flowers. The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is an early 19th century garden and has the Queen Mother's Memorial Garden. Gardens in Wales are lush and green because of the high rainfall and many offer garden tours. Gardens in Northern Ireland are like those of Scotland and built in stone to take advantage of wet acidic conditions. The British Phycological Society is devoted to the study of algae. The Plantlife Organization is dedicated to conserving all forms of plant life in its natural habitat. The Woodland Trust is dedicated to protection of native woodlands.

    Picture of volcano The UK does not have any active VOLCANOES but volcanoes sculpted the landscape of the country. There are a few active volcanoes in British dependent territories. One of the largest is Mount Belindaon Montagu Island in the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica.

    Picture of Voting Box The UK has 5 kinds of elections including Electronic and Postal VOTING. The UK is the first country in the world to have online voting. Scotland, Wales, and the London Assembly use the Additional Member System in voting which insures that the number of seats a party wins is more fairly related to its share of votes.

    Picture of Xmas bell XMAS is the common abbreviation for Christmas and is celebrated in the UK. much as it is around the world. Many Christmas and New Year traditions began in the UK including Christmas Crackers and the Christmas Stocking. The first Christmas Christmas Card was made in England. Each year the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in England is sent from Norway. Christmas was not celebrated in Scotland until the 1950s. Christmas celebrations in Wales and Northern Ireland are similar to those in the rest of the UK. Some parts of the UK display special Christmas Lights .
    Picture of Clock The UK is in the zero (0) Universal Time ZONE. Greenwich has a clock that determines the right time for every other clock in the world. It is called Greenwich Meantime. In the far north of the country, daytime can last for as long as 20 hours. The UK has several plant hardiness zones

    Picture of Animal in a cage ZOOS are located throughout the UK. England has many zoos including the London Zoo, the most famous zoo in the world, and Birdworld that has an Underwater World (an aquarium) and Jenny Wren children's farm. An important part of the Jersey Zoo in the Channel Islands is to save animals from extinction. The Curraghs Wildlife Park, on the Isle of Man between England and Ireland, consists of primarily wetland species from around the world in walk-through enclosures. Wales has several zoos including Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo that has a saltwater penguin enclosure, and Welsh Mountain Zoo has a variety of species including a pair of endangered snow leopards . The zoo in Belfast, Northern Ireland carries out important conservation work which helps to ensure the survival of many species under threat.

    Sample of Gregg Shorthand Gregg shorthand was invented by John Gregg who introduced it in England. (The writer of this webpage uses Gregg Shorthand)
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