The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (abbreviated as the UK or the United Kingdom) is a constitutional monarchy that spans the majority of the British Isles. It is a political union comprised of four nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, each of which offers something distinct and interesting to the traveler while being unmistakably British.
The United Kingdom is a mix of indigenous and immigrant cultures, with an intriguing past and vibrant contemporary attractions. This is a nation renowned for its quirky and rebellious popular culture, for inventing five main sports (golf, rugby football, cricket, lawn tennis, and, of course, association football), and for possessing perhaps the world’s finest music scene. Thousands of years of history are on display. Stone rings, castles, thatched cottages, and palaces; these islands encapsulate the essence of the past.
London is the capital and biggest city, a genuinely global metropolis unlike any other, and many of the country’s smaller cities are also worth seeing. To appreciate their enormous variety, contrast elegant Oxford with gloomy Edinburgh, gentrifying Manchester, sports-mad Cardiff, Birmingham’s cultural melting pot, or freshly flourishing Belfast, while keeping in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg. While Britannia no longer controls the seas, it retains a tremendous amount of influence in the broader globe, with over 30 million tourists each year.
Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of giants in Antrim, immerse yourself in Celtic culture at Eisteddfod, pound the streets of an English urban jungle, climb, ski, or snowboard in the Cairngorms-style, or simply fantasize about having tea with the Queen, the United Kingdom has something for everyone.