The United Kingdom is separated from continental European by the North Sea and the English channel. It consists of the constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While the term “Great Britain” is usually used as an equivalent to “United Kingdom”, it technically describes only the country’s parts on the island of Great Britain, but does not imply Northern Ireland. Not only due to its separate location, but also owing to a distinct set of habits, views and traditions, the UK is in many aspects slightly different from the rest of Europe, adding to the country’s specific flair and attractiveness for visitors.

Apart from the four countries combining to form the United Kingdom, several other areas are under British jurisdiction. These include Gibraltar at Spain’s Southern tip, areas on the island of Cyprus and a number of others, ranging from Bermuda to the Falkland Islands and to the Cayman Islands. These possessions have retained their status as belonging to the UK as remnants of the British Empire.

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s most-visited countries. Much of this tourism activity is centered around the capital, with London finding itself among the most-visited cities in the world. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union is expected to have at least a temporary negative impact on tourism numbers.

London is a major world city with great economic and political significance. It is home to dozens of historic and cultural attractions and draws millions of international visitors per year. Other major cities in England, including Manchester and Birmingham, also get their share of city break travel. Scotland on the other hand is a popular outdoor destination, especially in the scenic Highlands region. Wales also is well-known for its landscapes and attracts many travelers looking for opportunities to hike, bike and enjoy nature.

Further popular tourist destinations in the country include Edinburgh and Glasgow, world-famous Stonehenge and historic Canterbury as well as the seaside resort towns at England’s coast. In addition, many high-profile events regularly draw international visitors.

PopulationAreaCurrencyEU memberSchengen area
66.040.000242.495 kmĀ²British Poundnono

List of articles on the United Kingdom:

Cities and townsSights and attractionsBackground
LondonRoyal Palaces in Great Britain
Soccer grounds in England
South West Coast Path