The United Kingdom, or Great Britain has been one of the most sought after destinations for immigration for a long time. One of the strongest economies in the world apart, the UK offers a chance to immerse oneself in a diversity of culture unlike any other on the planet. The union of Great Britain consists of four constituent nations, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The country is an island nation with the only land border it has being shared with Northern Ireland. The country has the 12th longest coast line in the world.
Humans, as we know it, migrated to the landmass of modern day Britain almost 30,000 years ago. It subsequently saw migration to its shores by German Saxons and later by Romans as well. By the early 19th century Britain was the foremost naval power in the world. The British empire expanded rapidly to include a majority of the civilized world at one point of time. After the Second World War Britain joined the four major powers in the world and continues to hold that position.
Britain has 14 territories that it still holds overseas. These are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Atlantic Territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, and Saint Helena among others. Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy and Queen Elizabeth is the monarch and head of state. She is also the longest serving monarch in the world. Elections are held regularly and it has a parliamentary system that has been emulated around the world.
The country has always been one of the top economies in the world and has continued to hold that position even today. The industrial revolution of the United Kingdom dominated the world through the 19th century despite the economic decline following the two world wars, the economy of the country continues to remain robust. The country has also been home to some of the most pivotal scientific, literary, and technological breakthroughs in the world.
The de facto official language of the country is English, and the country’s dominance over the world during the 19th century ensured that the language spread extensively. South Asian languages make up for the second largest grouping of languages spoken and account for up to 2.7% of the population. Polish is the second most popular language spoken in England. Celtic languages like Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Cornish area also spoken widely in the country’s northern territories.
The country’s western liberal societal structure, hallowed education system, and incredibly modern infrastructure have made the country a sought after destination for international immigrants. The country has led the way in arts, literature, and music for a long time now and is a cultural powerhouse. British media is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world. BBC, founded in 1922 is the world’s oldest and largest broadcaster in the world.
The country has continued to set high standards when it comes to providing a good life to immigrants. It is an inclusive society and has seamlessly assimilated a number of different nationalities of people. The country’s continued growth, strong economic backbone and incredible amount of prospects make it a choice destination among people around the world.
The United Kingdom is the world’s 80th largest country, and is located on the western seaboard of the Afro-Eurasia landmass, the world’s largest landmass. The geography of the country comprises essentially of lowland or uplands and mountainous terrains mostly found in the northern regions. The lowlands are usually made up of low hills that are composed of chalk and flat plains. The most mountainous country in the United Kingdom is Scotland that is highlighted by the Highland Boundary Fault. The Highlands separates the country into two distinct geographical areas, the mountainous regions and the lowlands.
The tallest mountain on the British Isles is Ben Nevis, located in the Grampian Mountains in Scotland. The longest river is the River Severn which flows from Wales into England. The largest lake in the region is the Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, although the fabled Loch Ness in Scotland has more volume. The country has a diverse and complex geology which points to the country’s landmass having been impacted a lot during the formation of the continents. The shallow waters of the Strait of Dover and the North Sea conceal indications of former land links with the land mass of Europe.
The capital city of UK, London, is situated on the banks of the River Thames. No part of the country is farther than 120 kilometers from the sea and the country has a largely temperate and oceanic climate around the year. Since the country lies in the way of the polar front jet stream, frequent changes in pressure and weather are frequent. The country experiences multiple weathers in the same day. Northern Ireland, Wales, as well as Western England and Scotland experience mild weather but are windy and wet largely through the year. The eastern regions of the country are drier but have more pronounced fluctuations in weather and have the greatest temperature fluctuations. Strong air masses during the summer can cause a large temperature difference between the two ends of the country.
Spring starts in March and goes on till May, although the March months of spring often see snow which can continue infrequently through to April. Spring daytime temperatures vary vastly from nighttime temperatures and the warmth of the day can also trigger thunderstorms. Summers last from June to August, temperatures are the highest in southern and central areas and are lowest in the northern regions. Autumn lasts from September to November and has a reputation of being an unsettled season. The cool polar air meets the warm air of tropics in autumn and produces an area of disturbance in the region of the UK. Winter lasts from December to February and this season is cool, wet, cloudy and windy. Snow, however, is not very frequent in the region despite the country’s high latitude.
UK is home to some of the most popular, inclusive and thriving cities in the world. London, the capital city of England, is also the most important financial center in England if not the world. It is home to almost 13% of the country’s population. London is also a bustling tourist center and welcomes over 25 million tourists every year. The city has five airports, over and above national rail stations and a Eurostar Terminal which is a gateway to Europe. London is home to some of UK’s most famous landmarks, like the House of Parliaments, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum. The city has a thriving entertainment scene with a number of theatres, cinemas, restaurants, art galleries and music centers scattered all over the city.
Edinburgh is another English city that is extremely popular and heavily populated. It is the capital of Scotland and the seat of its parliament. The city has a rich and fabled history and has a thousand year old castle right and a mountain right in the center of the city, called Arthur’s Seat. Edinburgh is also a prominent university city and this has given it a brilliant mix of modern day pizzazz and an old world charm. The city’s New Year celebration, Hogmanay, is a four day street party where everyone in the city participates. The city is home to half a million people and a significant number of them are students. Edinburgh also hosts some of the most amazing music, arts, book and film festivals in the world.
Manchester, once the cotton making capital of the world and the lap which nurtured the industrial revolution, is also a hugely prominent city in England. It is often known as the first modern city. The city birthed a number of tycoons and entrepreneurs that went on to endow the city with some landmark galleries, theatres, libraries and museums. Manchester has some stunning architecture, some of which is the Bridgewater Hall, Urbis, and the Imperial War Museum. The city was also the birthing grounds for some of the most exciting music of this century.
Birmingham was the heart of Britain’s manufacturing strength from the 19th and a lot of the 20th century. This was the city where James Watt built the first steam engine and is also the home of the British motor industry. The population of the city is over a million people and it is easily the country’s second biggest city. This region is also a major influence on the country’s choice cuisines. George Cadbury first made his chocolates here, and lately it has also become a center for Anglo-Punjabi cuisine. The city is also the birthplace of heavy metal, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest are both local bands.
Over and above these cities like Glasgow in Scotland, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, Bristol, and Portsmouth are just some other major cities of the United Kingdom. Most cities of the UK have a healthy diversity and are vastly modern as compared to most countries in the world.
The de facto official language of Britain is English, the word English being derived from the name of the country England itself. English has become the biggest export of England and is now spoken around the world. There are, however, various dialects of English in the country and the accents change with every city. For example, the English accent in Newcastle is vastly different from that of Birmingham. Even Scottish and Irish accents are hugely different and give the English language various textures across the country. Over 700,000 people speak Welsh as well.
There are also a number of languages that have been brought over by immigrants over the year. Polish, French, and German are widely spoken and understood. South Asian languages like Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Portugese and Spanish are just some of the most popular languages in the UK.
UK has the sixth-largest national economy when measured in terms of the gross domestic product, ninth-largest when one considers it in terms of purchasing power parity, and nineteenth-largest when one considers the per capita GDP. It is the second largest economy in Europe and the country contributes 3.9% to the world’s GDP. The UK also is the tenth largest exporter of goods in the world and the fifth largest importer of goods. It is one of the most globalized and business friendly economies in the world.
The services sector is the biggest contributor to the country’s GDP accounting for about 80% of the GDP. The world’s largest financial center, London, hosts some of the biggest finance companies and businesses in the world. Britain also has the tenth-largest pharmaceutical industry in the world. A total of 26 of the world’s 500 largest companies are headquartered in England. The country’s economy is also further given a boost by the production of oil and natural gas in the North Sea.
The UK was the first country to industrialize itself and by the 19th century, thanks to its industrial mastery, was leading the world. The currency of England, Pound-Sterling, is the third largest reserve currency in the world and is one of the ten most valued currencies in the world. After the UK decided to leave the European Union in 2016 the Bank of England, the country’s unofficial central bank, has taken strong measures to increase faith in the economy.
Taxation in England works at two distinct levels, one to the state authorities and the other to the national authorities. The local government is financed by grants from the central government more and more in the past few years. Agriculture in the country is highly mechanized and efficient, it produces about 60% of the national food needs of the UK with barely 1.6% of the labour force. Two-thirds of this is towards livestock and one-third is towards arable crops. The fishing industry is also quite considerable in the country, despite having seen a slowdown over the years.
Construction continues to be one of the strongest industries in the UK. The largest construction project in the UK, the crossrail, is due to be opened in 2018, barring any delays and comes at a cost of 15 billion pounds. The main feature of this project is the construction of 42 kilometers of new tunnels connecting stations in central London. The country also has strong creative industries, with areas like the fashion industry contributing more than 26 billion pounds to the UK economy.
London is also a big center for legal firms and is home to four of the six largest law firms in the world. Tourism is also a major contributor to the nation’s economy and UK is the eighth largest tourism destination in the world. London is the second most visited city in the world right on the heels of Hong Kong. Transport and storage industry also contributes almost 60,000 million pounds to the UK economy every year. There are over 20 train operating companies working in the UK and the government is looking to build more high-speed rails in the near future. London is also the capital for foreign exchange trading in the world, it is also a stronghold for banking and the insurance sector. UK leads Europe in terms of inward foreign direct investment.
The economy of United Kingdom is definitely strong and is considered to be one of the most robust in the world. There are regional variations in prosperity, but that is only to be expected. The overall standard of living in the country is one of the best in the world.
The country of William Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Purcell, Alfred Hitchcock, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and so many other legends, Britain never disappoints when it comes to entertaining its citizenry. The country has been a superpower when it comes to literature and is one of the, if not the, largest publisher of books in the world. The country has something or the other on offer for revelers come the weekend.
England has led the way in literature by basically creating the English language. Samuel Johnson, after nine years of painstaking labour finished what was the first dictionary of the English language. This remain a seminal reference work for English users until Oxford created the Oxford English Dictionary a 150 years later. English poetry went through a renaissance of sorts with the Romantic era and produced some scintillating verses. Rober Burns, considered the national poet of Scotland, was widely admired. Mary Wollstonecraft wrote ‘A Vindication of the Rights of a Woman’ and was the first of its kind work on feminist philosophy.
Music has been a huge part of the British culture and it has birthed a number of classical composers and musicians of a large variety. Henry Purcell, Benjamin Britten, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and so many others have contributed hugely to the popularity of classical music in the world. Modern day composers like Andrew Lloyd Webber have already acquired legendary status in the world. A weekend in London could be best spent by watching one of the amazing productions of this legend like Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar among many others.
The London stage has given a number of amazing actors to the world. Playwrights like George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde have been huge influences on the theatre culture of Britain. From Dame Judy Dench to Academy Award winner Gary Oldman are all graduates of the London theatre system. The British movie industry, too, has been upping its game in the face of the monopoly of Hollywood from across the Atlantic. British movies have been making an increasing impact on world cinema and are always a wonderful option for a night out.
There are also a number of highly interesting places to visit when you are in England. Be it heritage sites, or even one of the many quaint pubs that dot the country, you will never be at a loss for things to do in this country. From the Stonehenge to the Big Ben, there are a number of amazing sites to visit in a country that has a long and varied history. The country also has some of the most popular performing arts festivals in the world like the Chipperfield’s Circus which dates back to 300 years. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival and is a must visit for anyone artistically inclined. The Notting Hill Carinval often attracts over a million revelers and is held on the streets of Notting Hill in London since 1966.
England also has a rich sporting culture. The English Premier League is the richest football (soccer) league in the world. Cricket, a game that originated in England, has obtained cult status in India and has a very strong leagues operating in England. Rugby, horse racing, hockey and athletics are just some of the most popular sports in the country. People often form local leagues of organized sports to play during the weekends if you are of a sporting inclination.
The country also offers a variety of dining experiences. From tiny pubs to plus restaurants, you will find a range of cuisine that is unexpected in its richness and flavour. The many millions who have immigrated to the UK have added to the culture and lent their taste in food which have influenced the British tastes and created a cuisine culture unlike anywhere else in the world. The country has something to offer for everyone. Whatever might be your choice of pastime, England would have something for you.