The Parts of Great Britain
The UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupies the territory of the British Isles. It consists of 4 main countries which are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The largest and the most densely populated part of the UK is England. It is washed by the North sea, the Irish sea, the English Channel, and the Straits of Dover. The name England is derived from the Angles. Roman rule lasted for 300 years from AD 43. The last invasion of England took place in 1066. When Duke William of Normandy defeated the English at the battle of Hastings.
England is mostly a lowland country. Upland regions are in the north and the Southwest, the Northern England, Midlands and South England - each part is different, but very picturesque.
The Southeast is a highly populated region of England. There is a lot of industry near the Thames and there are a lot of roads and motorways. London, the capital of the UK, and such historical cities as Windsor, Dover and Brighton are situated here. Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports is about 33 km west of central London. The Southeast is famous for its resorts, Brighton is, probably, the most famous of them.
The Southwest is the region where the main activity is farming. The romantic past makes it popular for artists, writers and holidaymakers. The two principal cities of the region are Bristol and Bath. If you want to see the famous Stonehenge, one of the remarkable historic places in the UK, you should also come here. The most westerly point of Great Britain “Land’s End” is also in the Southwest
East Anglia is very flat and it is another farming region. It has beautiful cities with fine historic buildings such as Cambridge. This region is famed for the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, an English general and politician who was the leader of the army against King Charles I in the Civil War.
The Midlands, known as the heart of England, is the largest industrial part in the country. The two famous Midlands cities, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford are connected with English culture: Stratford is the birthplace of W.Shakespeare and Oxford is famous for its university.
The North of England is very picturesque. The main attraction of the region is the Lake District, the cities of York and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Many tourists come over especially to look at the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall, a stone wall built by the order of the Roman ruler Hadrian to defend the North border of Roman Britain from Scottish tribes.
Scotland is the most northern part of the island of Great Britain. It was inhabited mainly by the Picts. In the 6th century, the Scots from Ireland settled in what is now Argyll. During the 9th century the various parts of Scotland united in defence against the Vikings. In 1651 Scotland was united with England, although it kept its own parliament.
Scotlandis divided into 3 parts: the Highlands, the Lowlands and the Southern Uplands. There are a lot of valleys and lakes in this region. The best known lake is Loch Ness. Ben Nevis is the highest point of the country. The capital is Edinburgh. Scotland’s most important industries, steelmaking and engineering, are concentrated in the central lowlands. The national dress of Scots is the kilt, which was originally worn by men. The Scottish musical instrument is bagpipes. Golf is Scotland’s national sport. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and the Scots celebrate St. Andrew’s Day on the 30th of November.
Wales is a special place, a country of high mountains, including Mount Snowdon, the second highest mountain in Great Britain and pretty valleys. But Wales has plenty of industry too, with many factories and coal mines. Cardiff, its capital and the main port is an industrial city, which also has a castle, a cathedral, a university. There are other big towns in Wales too, Swansea and Newport among them. Welsh is one of the Celtic languages, like Scottish and Irish Gaelic. Welsh is spoken widely, especially in the north of the country and it is still the first language for many people. St. David is the patron saint of Wales. On the first of March, St.David’s Day, patriotic Welsh people wear a leak or a daffodil, both symbols of Wales. Every year, an international festival called Eisteddfod is held in the town of Llangollen. People come from all over the world to recite poetry, sing and dance in this colourful competition. Rugby is the national game of Wales. The population of the country is about two and a quarter million. The Welsh call their country Cymry.