Discover Britain takes you on a wonderful journey to uncover all that is fascinating about this island fascinating nation - a nation of many countries, of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, stitched together to form the delightful kaleidoscope called Britain. There's so much to see and so much to write about, I will not ever be done with describing Britain. But what I have written so far, in this, I hope will provide you a glimpse of all the Britain offers.
Britain, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a nation on the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It comprises two main parts: England, Scotland and Wales, on the island of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, occupying the northern part of the island of Ireland. Britain is surrounded by the North Sea, the English Channel, the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland.
Guide to Britain Hotels
Here's a list of hotels in Britain that you can book online, listed by city, with full description, star rating, address, location map, evaluation, and prices as offered by different booking sites. This helps you to make your room booking with the site that offers the best price.
Britain covers an area of 243,610 sq km (94,060 sq mi). Its population, as of 2010 estimate, stands at 62 million people. The de facto capital of Britain is London, which is also the biggest city in the country. Britain enjoys the 6th biggest economy by nominal GDP as well as by purchasing power parity. It was the first industrialised country in the world with the biggest colonial empire in the 19th and 20th century, but its power diminished following two world wars and economic decline in the latter half of the 20th century.
The United Kingdom was created in 1603 though the Union of the Crowns of England, Ireland and Scotland. In 1707, the United Kingdom of Great Britain came into being with the political union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. In 1800, the Act of Union merged the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Dispute in Ireland led to the partition of the island in 1921, the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, which resulted in the change in the name of the nation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Britain is a member of the European Union and has a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, G20, NATO, OECD and the World Trade Organization.
Britain is composed of four "countries" namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each has its own system of administrative division that are older than the United Kingdom itself. England accounts for just over half of the total land area of Britain, covering 130,395 sq km (50,350 sq mi). Scotland occupies 78,772 sq km (30,410 sq mi), including nearly eight hundred islands, many of which are desolate and inhabited. Wales accounts for less than a tenth of Britain, or 20,758 sq km (8,010 sq mi) while Northern Ireland accounts for 14,160 sq km (5,470 sq mi).
Much of Britain comsists of lowland terrain. Even the tallest mountain, Ben Nevis in Scotland, is only 1,343 meters (4,406 ft6) above sea level. The tallest mountin in England is Scafell Pike at 978 m (3,209 ft).
The structure of local government in England is not uniform and quite complex. The country is divided into nine regions and 48 ceremonial coounties. Scotland is divided into 32 council area which differ widely in terms of size and population. Northern Ireland, since 1973, comprises 26 district councils while Wales consists of 22 unitary authorities.
Britain is one of the major tourist destination in the world. Most tourists to the country arrives at any of London's five airports. A smaller number arrives at Manchester International Airport. London Heathrow Airport is the busiest international airport in the world. London Gatwick and London Stanstead are the two other major airports receiving international flights. London Luton airport handles mostly budget flights while London City Airport handles mostly business passengers.
Travelers from continental Europe can travel by high-speed Eurostar trains from Paris, Lille and Brussels to London, arriving at the St Pancras International railway station. It only takes two hours fifteen minutes to reach London from Paris by train. Shuttle trains also carry cars through the Channel Tunnel from Calais, France, to Folkestone, England. The cost is £49 one way.
There are a number of ferry routes between Britain and continental Europe. The most popular passenger port is Dover, which has regular services from Zeebrugge in Belgium and Calais in France. Ferries from Amsterdam go to Newcastle, England while those from Esbjerg, Denmark, goes to Harwich, England.
To go to Scotland, you can take flights from London or Manchester to its main cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. The main airport for Wales is the Cardiff International Airport, located to the south of Cardiff. You can also drive or take the train from London.
There are flights to Belfast in Northern Ireland. The city has two main airports the George Best Belfast City Airport, which is closer to the city center, and the Belfast International Airport, which is further away. You can also take ferries across the Irish Sea from Larne in Great Britain to Belfast.
Recommended Travel Guidebook
My favorite travel guidebook for further reading in preparation of your trip is the Great Britain Eyewitness Guide, because it follows a format that I find useful to users, not to mention I have also contributed to some of the titles in the Eyewitness series of guidebooks.