General Facts about Great Britain

United Kingdom

The UK is made up of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland, and is one of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU).

Capital cities
London – England
Edinburgh – Scotland
Cardiff – Wales
Belfast – Northern Ireland


Land and water: 152,033 square miles


The UK – approximately 60.6 million


The two official languages in Britain are English and Welsh, English being the most widely spoken. Scottish Gaelic is also spoken in some parts of Scotland.


The majority of the population is English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. However, Britain is an extremely diverse nation with a strong culture of racial integration and unity.


Most people are Christian (71%), although all other religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism are freely practised. About 23% of Britons follow no particular religion.


The UK is a constitutional monarchy that is a representative democracy, where Queen Elizabeth II is recognised as the head of state, and the elected Prime Minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the UK government, the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, and the Executive of Northern Ireland.

Economic profile

The UK is a leading trading power and a financial centre. Agriculture is an important industry and highly efficient. Primary energy, like coal and oil, are major contributors to the economy, but services like banking and insurance are the greatest contributors.


Britain uses the pound sterling. The sign for the Great British Pound (GBP) is £.

Time zone

29 October – 26 March: Greenwich Mean Time
25 March – 29 October: GMT + 1


See When to come

Weights & measures

Historically Britain used the Imperial System, but new regulations make use of the Metric System compulsory with the exception of a few items, for example distance and speed are measured in miles and miles per hour.


Voltage is 240 volts AC at 50HZ. Appliances generally use standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.

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