Considered as the most popular and influential country in Europe, United Kingdom (UK) is indeed a place where fun and adventure is combined in one. England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland composed the popular place of United Kingdom. UK is rich in culture and history and has impressive architectural building and infrastructures in which some are made hundreds of years ago. Buckingham Palace, The Beatles and Stonehenge are some of the famous names you must visit when you are in UK. With the hidden gems found in the country, there is no doubt why United Kingdom is considered to be an overwhelming popular destination in Europe.
Important and Interesting Facts about United Kingdom
- It’s a sovereign state in Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the country includes the island of Great Britain (a term also applied loosely to refer to the whole country),the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another state: the Republic of Ireland.
- Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland.
- The UK consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.The latter three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers,based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively.
- The UK has fourteen Overseas Territories,including the disputed Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, and Indian Ocean Territory.
- The country is considered to have a high-income economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index, currently ranking 14th in the world. It was the world’s first industrialised country and the world’s foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Tower of London, one of the world’s most famous fortresses and home to the priceless Crown Jewels. Originally a royal residence and prison nearly 1,000 years ago, there are some fascinating stories within its walls.
- Hylands House, near Chelmsford, Essex,-The 300 year old manor house is fully open to the public today, and you can visit spectacular rooms like the Drawing Room and the equally decadent Banqueting Room. The real jewel in its crown, though, is the surrounding 574 acres of landscaped woods, lakes and colourful gardens. Perfect for a leisurely stroll.
- The iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral has witnessed many significant events in Britain’s history, including the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.A visit to St Paul’s Cathedral offers 1,200 years of history as well as the chance to climb the 237 steps to the top of the spectacular Dome. On your way up, you can witness the Whispering Gallery, where a whisper can be heard from 100 feet away, before admiring stunning views of London’s skyline.
- Just behind St Paul’s in the top ten is another London sightseeing spot, Westminster Abbey – the venue of the most famous wedding of 2011.Trace the final footsteps of Kate Middleton before she became the Duchess of Cambridge, admire renowned Gothic architecture, and marvel at the Abbey’s beautiful memorials to history’s great kings and queens.
- With rides, a zoo, live entertainment and a variety of restaurants and bars, Flamingo Land is suitable for just about everyone.Over 140 species reside at the zoo, including red pandas and penguins, while the theme park has rides for the whole family; a perfect two-in-one day out!
- Part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is one of Britain’s most famous sightseeing spots.Believed to date from as far back as 3000BC, historians are still baffled by how the huge slabs of Stonehenge were transported. Weighing up to 50 tons each, it would’ve taken 600 men to move just one.
- Gazed up at by visitors for 150 years, it’s no surprise that the iconic Big Ben has made the list.A visit to the adjoining Houses of Parliament will leave you captivated by the vast, intricately carved Westminster Hall, built in 1097! You can also see the Queen’s fabulous robing room, and of course, the famous Lords Chamber, where Britain’s laws are hotly debated.
Cool and Funny Facts about United Kingdom
- Big Ben does not refer to the clock, but actually the bell.
- The shortest war against England was with Zanzibar in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.
- There is nowhere in Britain that is more than 74.5 miles from the sea.
- The first telephone directory published in England contained 25 names.
- While the Great Fire of London was largely destructive, the casualty rate was just 8.
- The first hot chocolate store opened in London.
- The English drink more tea than anyone else in the world.
- In the Medieval Times, animals can be put on trial for crimes (and be sentenced to death!)
- “The Star Spangled Banner” (the American national anthem) was created by an Englishman.
- “Pygg” used to mean “clay” in olden day English. People kept their coins in clay jars that were called “pygg jars,” which have evolved into what we currently call piggy banks.
- Gargoyles were originally used as drain pipes!
- Buckingham Palace has its own police station.
Historical and Cultural Facts about United Kingdom
- Stonehenge and other examples of prehistoric culture are all that remain of the earliest inhabitants of Britain. Celtic peoples followed. Roman invasions of the 1st century B.C. brought Britain into contact with continental Europe. When the Roman legions withdrew in the 5th century A.D. , Britain fell easy prey to the invading hordes of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes from Scandinavia and the Low Countries. The invasions had little effect on the Celtic peoples of Wales and Scotland.Seven large Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were established, and the original Britons were forced into Wales and Scotland.
- It was not until the 10th century that the country finally became united under the kings of Wessex. Following the death of Edward the Confessor (1066), a dispute about the succession arose, and William, Duke of Normandy, invaded England, defeating the Saxon king, Harold II, at the Battle of Hastings (1066). The Norman conquest introduced Norman French law and feudalism.
- The united kingdom of Great Britain came into being on 1 May 1707, as a result of the political union of the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland. The terms of the union had been agreed in the Treaty of Union that was negotiated the previous year and then ratified by the parliaments of Scotland and England each approving Acts of Union.
- In the Second World War, in which the Soviet Union and the US joined Britain as allied powers, Britain and its Empire fought a successful war against Germany, Italy and Japan. The cost was high and Britain no longer had the wealth or the inclination to maintain an empire, so it granted independence to most of the Empire. The new states typically joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
- In the wake of the global economic crisis of 2008, the United Kingdom economy contracted, experiencing negative economic growth throughout 2009. The announcement in November 2008 that the economy had shrunk for the first time since late 1992 brought an end to 16 years of continuous economic growth. Causes included an end to the easy credit of the preceding years, reduction in consumption and substantial depreciation of sterling (which fell 25% against the euro between January 2008 and January 2009),leading to increased import costs, notably of oil.
- In Scotland the national dish is haggis . Haggis is comprised of sheep innards boiled in a sheep stomach. In Wales leeks, a relative of the onion, are used in many dishes. Welsh rarebit, comprised of a cheesy sauce over toast, is popular as an appetizer or a light meal.
- The United Kingdom is a crowded country. People cope with this situation by being reserved and diffident in public, politely ignoring strangers, quietly minding their own business, and marking out and defending their private spaces, homes, and gardens. They expect others to do the same.
- Since the 1950s, church adherence has fallen dramatically, and the British are generally uninterested in formal religious practice. Sixty percent of adults do not believe in God, and one-third have no religious affiliation
- The Celebration of the Birthday of the Queen is held on the second Saturday in June. Other legal holidays include New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Late Summer Holiday (the last Monday in August or the first in September), Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (26 December). Scotland and Northern Ireland, celebrate several of their own holiday.
- Premarital sex and unmarried cohabitation are widely accepted even if they are not liked by defenders of traditional family values. Single motherhood caused by unstable cohabiting relationships or marital breakdown is perceived as a major problem because of its impact on the welfare budget rather than as a moral question. Nonetheless, family relationships remain close.
- One of the most famous national costumes in the world is that worn in Scotland, the kilt, however some people say that the kilt is not as traditional as some would have it. Be that as it may it is certainly what people associate with Scotland, along with whisky and haggis that is.Some people consider it very bad luck to wear a kilt in a tartan that does not belong to your family.