Official name of the state
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The largest island nation in Europe, Great Britain, consists of two geological formations: the highlands and the lowlands. The mountainous regions of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Northern England and North Wales make up the highlands. United Kingdom is one of countries starting with U defined by Countryaah.
Beautiful lakes and raised bogs in the north west of England make up the Lake District. The lowland consists of sand and limestone hills, elongated valleys and extensive river valleys (e.g. the Wash on the east coast). To the southeast, the hills of the North and South Downs stretch to the white cliffs of Dover.
On the north-west coast of Scotland, sea bays cut deep into the land. The Scottish east coast is made up of pristine sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. Further south, the coast is characterized by rocks, slate, dunes and sandy beaches. There are extensive wetlands in the counties of East Anglias that have been partially drained.
Note: More detailed geographical descriptions under the headings of the individual parts of the country.
Parliamentary monarchy (in the Commonwealth) since 1921. Great Britain is a hereditary monarchy, the monarch only has representative tasks. There is no written constitution, but there are laws that are constitutional. Parliament consists of two chambers, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, to which judges, archbishops, bishops, heir lords and appointed lords belong (1200 members). The 650 MPs in the House of Commons (17 of them from Northern Ireland) are elected for a maximum of five years (majority voting). The prime minister, who heads the cabinet, is also the party chairman of the largest parliamentary group.
Head of state
Queen Elizabeth II, crowned since 1952, 1953.
Head of government
Prime Minister Theresa May, since July 2016.
230 V, 50 Hz. Three-pole plug. Adapter required.
Greenwich Mean Time: CET -1 (CET +2 from March 26 to October 29, 2017)
56.8% Anglicans, 15% other Christians (Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Free Churches), Muslim, Hindu and Jewish minorities.
Social rules of conduct
Manners: At the first introduction you shake hands and say “Nice to meet you” or, more formally, “How do you do”. Friends greet each other with “Hello”, “Hi” or more formally with “Good morning / afternoon / evening”. Hosts look forward to chocolates or a bottle of wine. You start eating after all guests have been served. If you accidentally bump into a passer-by in the subway or on the street or even stand in the way, you apologize politely with “Sorry”; a request for information is introduced with “Excuse me”. Queuing is still an institution in Great Britain, queue jumping and shoving are frowned upon.
Clothing: Casual clothing is acceptable; more elegant clothing is often expected only in nightclubs and restaurants. In some discos jeans and trainers are not welcome, other nightclubs – depending on the clientèle – have different dress codes.
In public: “Topless” is permitted on some beaches and is tolerated in some public parks.
Smoking: In the UK, smoking is prohibited in closed public spaces, including all workplaces, theaters, restaurants, pubs and clubs. Smoking is also prohibited on buses, the underground and in underground stations, as well as on public transport. Smoking is also prohibited in cars if minors are in the vehicle.
Tip: If the restaurant bill does not already include a service fee, a tip of at least 10% is customary – if the service is very good, 15-20% is given. Taxi drivers and other service providers such as housekeeping and porters are also happy to receive tips. In taxis, you usually round up, if only so that the driver does not have to bother collecting the change in coins. 10% is the standard in licensed taxis from the airport to London.
Best travel time
Temperate climate, humid and warm in summer, wet and cool in winter. Due to the island location, the weather is very changeable. Most of the rain falls on the west coast and at the higher altitudes, the north coast is colder and stormier and northern England and Scotland experience the coldest winters. The south east is sunnier and warmer than the rest of the UK. The resorts on the coast are very crowded in summer. The best time to travel falls in the spring months of April and May as well as the autumn months of September to November, when the leaves are brown, red and yellow in the sun.
Area code +44 Area (square km) 242 514 Population 64 596 800 Population density (per square km) 266 Population in 2014 Member of the EU Yes main emergency number 112