Regions in United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a union composed of the following original nations and territories:
The most important component, both in terms of size and by far the largest component in terms of population. A ‘green and pleasant land’, England nevertheless has some of the most exciting and inspiring cities in the world, co-existing with ‘Merrie England’ of rolling countryside, leafy villages and traditional entertainment.
The second largest nation of origin occupies the northern third of the UK. Bagpipes, kilts and haggis may spring to mind, but the contrast between the isolated beauty of the islands, the cosmopolitan character of the Lowlands and the lonely vistas of the truly wild Highlands shows Scotland beyond the cliché.
This hilly western peninsula of Britain is home to an ancient Celtic language and culture, spectacular landscapes of mountains, valleys and coastline, a unique industrial heritage and some of the most impressive defensive castles in Europe.
- Northern Ireland
Lies in the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, comprising six of the nine counties of the Irish province of Ulster. Although off the traditional tourist trail, Northern Ireland offers a colourful history, outstanding natural beauty, rapidly developing towns and friendly people.
Dependencies on the Crown
- Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey)
Technically not part of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands consist of four small islands off the French coast.
- The Isle of Man
Technically not part of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man is a small island located between the United Kingdom and Ireland in the Irish Sea.
The UK also undertakes the diplomatic representation and defence of a number of overseas territories, including Gibraltar, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, the Pitcairn Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. As most of these islands have their own immigration rules and the climate and travel options are very different from those in the UK, they are covered in separate articles.
Cities in United Kingdom
Many places and towns in the UK are of interest to travellers. Below you will find a selection of nine of them, the others are arranged by region:
- London – the capital of the United Kingdom is one of the most influential cities in the world. It is home to most of the UK’s major tourist attractions and London’s monuments are instantly recognisable around the world as symbols of Britain.
- Belfast – the capital of Northern Ireland is experiencing an urban renaissance and is fast becoming a popular tourist destination, partly because of its reputation as a little-known city, but also because it reflects the uniqueness of the city and its people.
- Birmingham – Formerly known as the ‘workshop of the world’, the UK’s second largest city still has a strong industrial heritage, as well as department stores and the famous Balti cuisine, a product of modern British multiculturalism.
- Bristol – a historic city known for its colourful Georgian architecture, impressive Victorian engineering monuments and nautical heritage. Today, Bristol is also known for its trip-hop music and gastronomic culture.
- Cardiff – the capital of Wales is as proud of its coal mining past as it is of its rugby fan base. Visit the best museums in Cymru, stay in Doctor Who and the highly acclaimed regeneration of Cardiff Bay.
- Edinburgh – capital of Scotland and the second most visited city in the UK. In August it hosts the world’s largest arts festival; all year round visitors can enjoy Edinburgh’s illustrious history, breathtaking views and quintessentially Scottish traditions.
- Glasgow – Scotland’s largest city where you can go shopping and see better architecture. Glasgow’s former status as European Capital of Culture points to the strength of its creative arts scene and the beauty of its parks and gardens.
- Liverpool – the city of the Beatles and famous for its domination of music, sport and nightlife, there is no place like Liverpool. For more than two centuries, the city was the largest port in the world and played an unfortunate role in the transatlantic slave trade, a fact not forgotten in its excellent art galleries and museums.
- Manchester – the archetype of the “City of the North”, transformed from a textile town to a modern metropolis. Highlights of the city include a thriving bohemian music scene, the Gay Village and the world’s only festival of new labour art.
Other destinations in United Kingdom
- Giant’s Causeway – 40,000 basalt rocks rise dramatically from the sea at the only UNESCO site in Northern Ireland
- The Gower Peninsula – a picturesque corner of south-west Wales, perfect for relaxing walks along the coast.
- Hadrian’s Wall – The Great Wall of Britain once defended Rome against the hordes of the Picts
- The Isle of Arran – “Scotland en miniature”, with its mountains, sea, beaches, forests and geologically diverse landscape.
- Lake District National Park – Wordsworth Country is home to the highest mountains and largest lakes in England.
- Loch Ness – The most famous hole in the world certainly houses nothing unusual – or does it?
- Peak District National Park – Britain’s first and most visited national park, loved by millions for its beauty and accessibility
- Snowdonia National Park – Wales’ answer to the Alps is Britain’s place for extreme outdoor activities
- Stonehenge – these 4,500-year-old stones still puzzle archaeologists, inspire believers and enchant visitors of all kinds.