Great Britain • Great Britain is made up of the countries of England, Scotland and Wales. • The Kingdom of Great Britain was established on 1st May 1707 when the three countries signed the Acts of Union. • In 1801 the Kingdom of Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. • After the Irish war of independence it is now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The southern part of Ireland is now the Republic of Ireland.
Great Britain only refers to the countries of England, Scotland and Wales and some of the outlaying islands such as the Isle of Wight, the Hebrides, Anglesey, Orkney and Shetland. • It is surrounded by around 1000 islands and islets. • Great Britain does not include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Geography • Great Britain is northwest of Continental Europe and is separated by the North Sea and the English Channel. • The English channel becomes narrow at the Straits of Dover and here Great Britain is only 34 kilometres from Continental Europe. • The greatest distance between two points is 968km between John O’Groats in Caithness, Scotland and Land’s End in Cornwall, England.
Great Britain is physically connected to Continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel. • This is the longest undersea rail tunnel in the world. • Construction began in 1988 and it was completed in 1994. • London to Paris now takes 2 hours and 15 minutes on the train.
Great Britain’s highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland and is 1334 metres tall. • The longest river in Great Britain is the river Severn at 354 kilometres long. • The largest city in Great Britain is London.
England is the biggest country in Great Britain but no place in England is more than 120km from the sea. • In the south west the landscape is rolling hills whilst the south east is mostly flat. The north and west are more mountainous and have areas such as the Lake District. • Wales and Scotland are far more mountainous than England.
England • The capital of England is London. • Other big cities in England are Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle. • Historic cities include Bath, Canterbury and Stratford-upon-Avon. • The population of England is around 59 million which accounts for 84% of the population of Great Britain. • England is divided in to 48 counties.
England’s patron saint is Saint George. • The St George’s Cross has been the national flag of England since the 13th century. • The Royal Arms of England are the 3 lions. These are seen on the England football and cricket kits. • England’s flower in the red Tudor rose. This is seen on the England rugby union kit. • The national anthem is called God Save the Queen.
Bath • Bath is home to some of the oldest Roman Baths in the World and is the only place in Britain where there are natural hot thermal waters.
Tyne and Wear • The Angel of the North is a huge sculpture on a hill in Gateshead. • Newcastle is know for its dramatic bridges, including the Tyne Bridge.
Stratford-Upon-Avon • This was the birthplace of William Shakespeare and is also where he is buried at Holy Trinity Church.
Wiltshire • Stonehenge is believed to have been built in around 3100BC. • It remains a mystery as to what its purpose was.
Scotland • The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh, however, Glasgow is a bigger city. • Aberdeen is the third biggest city in Scotland and also Europe’s oil capital. • The population of Scotland is around 5 million with 1.2 million people estimated to live in Glasgow. • Scotland has three official languages, English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic. • Only 7% of the population are fluent in Scots or Gaelic.
Scotland’s patron saint is Saint Andrew. • Their flag is the St Andrew’s Cross or Saltire and is the longest flag still in use. It was first used in the 9th century. • The Scottish emblem is one red lion. • The Scottish floral emblem is a Thistle. • Scotland’s national anthem can also be God Save the Queen however, this is rarely used and the unofficial anthem, O Flower of Scotland, is far more common.
Edinburgh • Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage sight. • The site of the castle has been inhabited since 900BC.
Glasgow • Famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow, his designs can be seen all over the city, including the Armadillo.
Wales • The capital of Wales is Cardiff. • Other notable cities are Swansea and Newport. • The population is around 3 million people. • Wales is officially bilingual, both English and Welsh are used on things such as road signs. • Around 20% of the population are fluent in Welsh. • Wales also has the longest recognised place name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
The patron saint of Wales is Saint David. • The national flag of Wales is the Red Dragon and came in to use in the 1400s. • The national emblems of Wales are the leek and the daffodil. • The Prince of Wales heraldic badge of three feathers is also used to symbolise Wales. • The national anthem of Wales is Land of my Fathers.
Cardiff • Cardiff Castle is a medieval castle and palace. • In the 1800s the Marquess of Bute had his architect transform the castle in to a lavish palace.
Newport • Settlements have been found here dating back to the Bronze Age. • The Normans built Newport Castle in 1088 on the site of an old Bronze Age castle.