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United Kingdom

Touristic attractions of United Kingdom
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Your vacations to the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – commonly known as the United Kingdom, the U.K., or incorrectly as Britain – is a sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It’s an island country, spanning an archipelago including Great Britain, the northeastern part of Ireland, and many small islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. with a land border, sharing it with the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the U.K. is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The largest island, Great Britain, is linked to France by the Channel Tunnel (or “Chunnel”).

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It’s governed by a parliamentary system with its seat of government in London, its capital, but with three devolved national administrations in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, respectively. The Channel Island bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are Crown Dependencies are often not considered part of the U.K., though they are treated as part of it for many purposes including nationality. The U.K. has fourteen overseas territories, all remnants of the British Empire – which, at its height in 1922, encompassed almost a quarter of the world's land surface, the largest empire in history. British influence continues to be observed in the language, culture, and legal systems of many of its former colonies, which includes Canada.

The U.K. is a developed country, with the world's sixth largest economy by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity. It was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early-20th centuries. However the economic cost of two world wars, and the decline of its empire in the latter half of the 20th century, diminished its leading role in global affairs. The U.K. nevertheless remains a major power with strong economic, cultural, military, scientific, and political influence. It’s a nuclear power and has the fourth highest defence spending in the world. It’s a Member State of the European Union (EU), holds a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, G-8, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Official language

English Other recognized regional languages include: Irish, Ulster Scots, Scottish Gaelic , Scots, Welsh, Cornish

Currency

Pound sterling

Electricity

230 volts, 50 cycles

Shopping

Although shopping throughout the UK can be expensive, it is generally regarded as a world-class destination for shoppers (both in terms of variety and quality of products), depending on where you shop and what you buy. Fierce competition has brought prices down considerably in the food, clothing and electronics. Avoid buying from the tourist areas and stick to the High Street-type shops, or visit the many “out-of-town” retail parks, where prices will be considerably cheaper.

Useful information

The famous and countless British pubs are very numerous in London. For just one or many drinks, this is the ideal place with the typical atmosphere of English bars. You must be 18 years to consume alcohol, altough these places are often open for children of all ages!