The United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Scotland (which together make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland. The capital city of the UK is London, which is also the capital of England. For Wales the capital is Cardiff, for Scotland it is Edinburgh, and for Northern Ireland it is Belfast.
The population of the UK is estimated to be around 63 million; the area is close to 95,000 square miles stretching from the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland, down to the Isles of Scilly in south west England, and across the sea to Northern Ireland. The UK’s long coastline is around 5,000 miles. The geography ranges from green meadows and woodland to rugged moorland and mountains. The highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland at just over 1,340 metres.
The UK has a fascinating history dating back to 6500 BC. All over the UK you’ll find monuments marking its history, from Stonehenge to Buckingham Palace. The UK is also home to over 28 cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Heritage Cities including Edinburgh, Bath, Canterbury, Chester, Durham, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and York.
The UK is one of the world’s leading business locations and the number one destination for inward investment in Europe. The UK is one of the top ten manufacturers in the world and has the largest industries in Europe for life sciences, ICT and the creative industries. Find out more at UK Trade & Investment.
The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy – this means the government is elected by the people. There is a general election once every five years. The Prime Minister leads the government with the support of the cabinet and ministers. The Queen is Head of State in the United Kingdom. As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not ‘rule’ the country, but the royal family fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to Government.