The UK is made up of:
Great Britain ( England and Scotland, and the principality of Wales. )
Northern Ireland (also known as Ulster)
Numerous smaller islands including the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, and the Scilly, Orkney, Shetland, and Hebridean archipelagos.
Where is the UK?
The UK is situated on the British Isles in Western Europe just off the coast of France.
The UK lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, and comes within 35 km (22 miles) of the northwest coast of France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. Northern Ireland shares a 360 km international land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The Channel Tunnel bored beneath the English Channel, now links the UK with France.
How big area does the UK cover?
The UK has a total area of approximately 245,000 km², almost a quarter-of-a-million square kilometres.
Seas surrounding the UK
The UK is made up of several islands. The only land border connecting the UK to another country is between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The UK is bordered by four seas:
- to the south by the English Channel, which separates it from continental Europe
- to the east by the North Sea
- to the west by the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean
The UK Landscape is very different: from the Grampian Mountains of Scotland to the lowlands of England which are at or below sea level in places.
Scotland and Wales are the most mountainous parts of the UK. A ridge of hills, the Pennine, runs down the centre of northern England. Many coastal areas are low-lying, especially in the east and south of England. These include the wetlands of the Somerset levels, that are regularly flood during heavy rain.
Most of the UK is made up of gently rolling hills with isolated areas of high ground such as Dartmoor in the south-west of England or the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is also home to the UK's largest lake, Lough Neagh, which covers an area of 396sq.km (153 sq miles). Other major lakes include Windermere in the English Lake District and Loch Lomond in Scotland. Another of Scotland's lakes, Loch Ness is famous for sightings of 'Nessie', a mythical monster!
The UK's rivers are not very long. The Severn, its longest river, is just 338 km in length, beginning in Wales and entering the Atlantic Ocean near Bristol in England. Other major rivers include the Thames, which flows through Oxford and London, and the Trent and Mersey rivers, which drain rainfall from large areas of central England.
If you want you can have a trip down the Thames.
Follow Winnie the Pooh's Journey down the River Thames
The UK's climate varies greatly according to season and location, but on the whole can be described as mild with few extremes.
- The capital of England and the UK is London. London is built along the River Thames
- Three quarters of the land in Britain are used for farming.
- Nine out of ten people live in towns and cities.
- The highest mountains are in Scotland and Wales.
- More than two-thirds of people own their own homes.