The UK is short for The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is a sovereign state, in the same way as France or the USA, but is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The term “Great Britain” refers to a landmass, not a country. The term “Great’’ is used, simply because it is the largest island in the British Isles, with the countries of England, Scotland and Wales within its shores.
Northern Ireland: Belfast
As of 2013, the approximate population size is 64.1 million people.
Britain has two official languages, which are English and Welsh - English being the most commonly spoken. Scottish Gaelic is also spoken in some parts of Scotland.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy that is a representative democracy. The monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is recognized as the head of state. The sovereign of the UK also acts as head of state of fifteen other Commonwealth countries, putting the UK in a union with those states. The Crown has sovereignty over the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey.
The elected Prime Minister is the head of government.
The UK is a leading trading power and a financial centre. Agriculture is an important industry and highly efficient. Primary energy, like coal and oil, are major contributors to the economy, but services like banking and insurance are the greatest contributors.
Britain uses the Pound Sterling. The sign for the Great British Pound (GBP) is £.
Winter months: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
Summer months: UTC + 1
Britain has a fairly temperate climate and is sometimes overcast. The weather can vary greatly from day to day, but generally summer (June-August) is a warm 14-25° C and winter (December-February) is a cool 1-4° C.
25 March Good Friday
28 March Easter Monday
2 May Early May bank holiday
30 May Spring bank holiday
29 August Summer bank holiday
26 December Boxing Day
27 December Christmas Day (substitute day)
Historically, the UK used the Imperial System. The Metric System is now more commonly used, with the exception of a few items, for example distance and speed are measured in miles and miles per hour.
Voltage is 240 volts AC at 50HZ. Appliances generally use standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.