Pocket Britain

A union of four nations within the British Isles with an incredible diverse landscape, people and culture

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a union of four nations within the British Isles. Its borders contain an incredible diversity of landscape, people and culture, making it a wonderfully interesting and varied place that always has the power to surprise you.
The UK's capital city is London. It is a huge, busy place, a melting pot of cultures from all over the world. Estimates show that its entire metropolitan area contains somewhere around 13 million people, who between them speak over 300 different languages. This mixture has turned London into an endlessly fascinating place, where you're just as likely to come across a Chinese restaurant as you are a fish-and-chip shop. The city is home to the most famous landmarks in the whole of the British Isles, including the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. It is also the centre of the UK's art, music, and theatre scenes, as well as the country's biggest tourist destination. It's unmissable for any visitor, and fully deserves its status as one of the world's major cities.
London is situated in the south-eastern corner of England. It spreads out for miles and miles, and no-one is really sure where the city officially ends. But if you keep going, out into the country, you can discover a different side to England that couldn't be further removed from the uncountable buildings of its capital. In-between the relaxing emptiness of the National Parks, such as the vast moorland of Dartmoor and Exmoor, there are many towns and villages which feel like a throwback to the England of several centuries past. Areas like the Cotwolds feature astoundingly photogenic waterside cottages, in tiny settlements full of quaint country lanes and arched bridges. Some of the bigger towns, meanwhile, are much grander, such as York, with its huge cathedral and ancient Roman walls.
To the west, the country of Wales features even wilder scenery, such as the towering peaks found in the Snowdonia mountain range. Even up here, you can find several of the country's famous castles, which are arguably more impressive than anywhere else in Britain. More fortifications lie in a series of pleasant castle towns, which are dotted along the coastline. The southern end of the country is its main population centre, which includes the fun, modern cities of Cardiff and Swansea.
Scotland contains more mountains, including Ben Nevis, the UK's tallest. It's capital city, Edinburgh, is perhaps the most historically and culturally important city in Britain after London, with its famous castle, and its huge arts festival. However, Scotland's other major city, Glasgow, can certainly give it a run for its money. The country also includes several groups of islands, just off the coast, such as The Hebrides, and The Orkneys. In these places, it really does feel like time is standing still.
Northern Ireland, meanwhile, can't be reached from the British mainland by road, but this hasn't stopped it from enjoyed ever-increasing visitor numbers, especially to its metropolitan main city, Belfast. Despite being the smallest of the UK's four countries, it still manages to cram in everything from beautiful lakes, to huge cliffs.
The United Kingdom has a long, proud history, which is kept alive in its towns and countryside. There are many different regions, but each of them is always as interesting as the last.

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