United Kingdom Travel Information
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United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a highly developed constitutional monarchy composed of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. Read the Department of State Background Notes on the United Kingdom for additional information. Gibraltar is a UK Overseas Territory bordering Spain, located at the southernmost tip of Europe at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea; it is one of 13 former British colonies that have elected to continue its political ties with London. Tourist facilities are widely available throughout the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.

England, the largest country in the United Kingdom, borders Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, and is one of the most interesting travel destinations in the world, with attractions, friendly people and a well established tourist infrastructure.

England has a remarkable history which can be seen wherever one looks, with grand buildings, ancient churches and some of the best museums in the world. Major sights include the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall, Oxford’s university colleges, Salisbury Cathedral, and the Brighton Royal Pavilion.

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The history of the United Kingdom as a unified sovereign state began with the political union of the kingdoms of England, which included Wales, and Scotland on 1 May 1707 in accordance with the Treaty of Union, as ratified by the Acts of Union 1707. The Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which shared a single constitutional monarch and a single parliament at Westminster. Prior to this, the kingdoms of England and Scotland had been separate states, though in personal union following the Union of the Crowns in 1603, with political, administrative and cultural institutions including representative governance, law systems, and distinguished contributions to the arts and sciences, upon which the United Kingdom was to be built. On the new, united kingdom, historian Simon Schama said "What began as a hostile merger would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history." A further Act of Union in 1800 added the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The early years of the United Kingdom were marked by Jacobite risings which ended with defeat at Culloden in 1746. Later, victory in the Seven Years' War, in 1763, led to the dominance of the British Empire which was the foremost global power for over a century and grew to become the largest empire in history. By 1921, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, approximately one-quarter of the world's population.[4] and as a result, the culture of the United Kingdom, and its industrial, political and linguistic legacy, is widespread.

In 1922 and following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to become the Irish Free State, a dominion of the British Empire but a day later, Northern Ireland seceded from the Free State and rejoined the United Kingdom. As a result, in 1927 the United Kingdom changed its formal title to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," usually shortened to the "United Kingdom", the "UK" or "Britain", but the Monarch remained "By the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King/Queen, Defender of the Faith" until 1953.

Following World War II, in which the UK was an allied power, most of the territories of the British Empire became independent. Many went on to join the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. Some have retained the British monarch as their head of state to become independent Commonwealth realms. In its capacity as a great power, and as a leading member of the United Nations, European Union and NATO, the United Kingdom remains a strong economic, cultural, military and political influence in the 21st century.

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The UK has a temperate climate, with lows in the winter of up to -10°C and highs of up to 32°C in the summer. Although the UK is not large, the weather does differ slightly between the north, south, east and west. Scotland and Northern England tend to have slightly cooler temperatures and are quite likely to see some heavy snow in the winter months. In contrast, the south of England experiences warmer temperatures and is unlikely to see more than a few flakes of snow in the winter. The west of England and Wales tends to see slightly higher rainfall than the east.


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Buckingham Palace Edinburgh Castle Stonehenge

Buckingham Palace

First opened to the public in 1993 to finance Windsor Castle repairs, Buckingham Palace is the residence to Queen Elizabeth II which dates back to the early 19th century. During summer, almost 6,000 visitors per day throng the Palace to explore 19 state rooms which includes the Throne Room, Picture Gallery and Ballroom (the largest room in the Palace) used for investitures and banquets. A walk through the south side of the Palace garden is included in the extended visitor route. At the Royal Mews are displayed the Queen horses and carriages, including the Coronation Coach. Dedicated to changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection art and treasures, the Queen Gallery at Buckingham Palace is a permanent space. More London Travel Information

The Birmingham MuseumThe Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art features American and European art as well as pre-Columbian, Asian, African and American Indian art and artifacts. The permanent collection features more than 21,000 pieces of art. More Birmingham Travel Information

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle dominates the city of Edinburgh like no other castle in Scotland, and Edinburgh Castle is unequalled in the whole of the British Isles. Over one thousand years of history sit on top of the famous Edinburgh rock, and when you see Edinburgh Castle you will understand why over a million visitors a year visit Edinburgh Castle. More Edinburgh Travel Information

Cambridge University

Cambridge UniversityThe University of Cambridge (informally Cambridge University, or simply Cambridge) is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second oldest university in both England and the English-speaking world and the seventh oldest university globally. In post-nominals the university's name is abbreviated as Cantab, a shortened form of Cantabrigiensis (an adjective derived from Cantabrigia, the Latinised form of Cambridge). More Cambridge Travel Information

Aberdeen Art Gallery

The Aberdeen Art Gallery first opened its doors in 1885 and centuries later, it continues to be a popular attraction in the city. The Gallery has a large permanent and changing collection, housed in an impressive building with an exquisite marble interior. Highlights include collections of Modern Art, the Scottish Colourists (including artists such as Leslie Hunter and Francis Cadell), and Post-Impressionists. There is also a collection of local applied art and crafts, including fine examples of Aberdeen silver. More Aberdeen Travel Information


Stonehenge is that mysterious circle of rocks on the mystical Salisbury Plain in the south of England which hails from the days of the druids. The rocks are impressive as one approaches; stretching high into the sky and weighing many tens of tons a piece. The rocks were originally dragged to Salisbury Plain from miles away to form the monument, which is said to either be a druid temple for sun worship, an astronomical calendar, or a burial ground.

Windsor CastleWindsor Castle

Windsor Castle is another of London’s must-see sights and has the distinction of being the largest working castle in the world. The castle is resplendent in art and furnishings with Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and Holbein masterpieces in the State Apartments. William the Conqueror built the first castle here in 1080 to take advantage of the nearby royal hunting forest, and today it is one of the queen's official residences.

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Transportation throughout the United Kingdom is straightforward and convenient. UK car rental is a popular choice, as well as transportation by bus and train. Fees and rules for traveling in the United Kingdom may be different from those in your home country, so it is usually a good idea to become familiar with transportation regulations before you travel.

London Heathrow Airport is the main airport in the UK and the world’s busiest by number of flights. There are five terminals at Heathrow, with the new Terminal 5 occupied solely by British Airways. England’s second airport is London Gatwick Airport, which is also situated just outside London..


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