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United Kingdom Country Guide

Explore United Kingdom in Europe

United Kingdom with the capital city London is located in Europe (Western Europe, islands - including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland - between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea; northwest of France). It covers some 244,820 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Oregon) with 60,943,000 citizens.

Interactive map of United Kingdom

The landscape offers mostly rugged hills and low mountains with level to rolling plains in east and southeast. The average density of population is approximately 249 per km². The notable climate conditions in United Kingdom can be described as temperate with moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current and more than one-half of the days are overcast. Potential threats by nature are winter windstorms or floods.

To reach someone in United Kingdom dial +44 prior to a number. There are 32,117,000 installed telephones. And there are 80,375,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800/3G MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".uk". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of United Kingdom

United Kingdom Flag Icon

Blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories.

The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK''s strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic''s withdrawal from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The UK is also an active member of the EU, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999. The latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process, but devolution was fully completed in March 2010.

National administrative regions of United Kingdom

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Ireland
Capital: London
Size244,820 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 94,525 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Oregon
CurrencyName Pound, Currency Code:GBP
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).uk
Telephone Country Prefix+44
Mobile Phone Connections80,375,000
Landline Phone Connections32,117,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area243,610 (sq km)80

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population63,395,574 22
Population growth rate0.55 (%)146
Birth rate12.26 (births/1,000 population)160
Death rate9.33 (deaths/1,000 population)59
Net migration rate2.57 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)32
Maternal mortality rate12.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)146
Infant mortality rate4.50 (deaths/1,000 live births)189
Life expectancy at birth80.29 (years)30
Total fertility rate1.90 (children born/woman)140
Health expenditures9.60 (% of GDP)32
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.20 (%)107
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS85,000 44
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 80
Obesity - adult prevalence rate26.90 (%)43
Education expenditures5.60 (% of GDP)52
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2420.00 (%)58


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)2,375,000,000,000 9
GDP - real growth rate0.20 (%)175
GDP - per capita (PPP)37,500 34
Labor force31,900,000 20
Unemployment rate7.80 (%)88
Distribution of family income - Gini index40.00 60
Investment (gross fixed)13.90 (% of GDP)140
Taxes and other revenues40.80 (% of GDP)39
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-7.70 (% of GDP)195
Public debt88.70 (% of GDP)19
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.80 (%)64
Central bank discount rate0.50 (%)138
Commercial bank prime lending rate4.06 (%)168
Stock of narrow money100,900,000,000 35
Stock of broad money3,884,000,000,000 6
Stock of domestic credit3,578,000,000,000 6
Market value of publicly traded shares3,107,000,000,000 5
Industrial production growth rate-1.20 (%)154
Current account balance-57,700,000,000 187
Exports481,000,000,000 12
Imports646,000,000,000 7
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold94,540,000,000 24
Debt - external10,090,000,000,000 3
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home1,262,000,000,000 3
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad1,793,000,000,000 2


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production352,700,000,000 (kWh)13
Electricity - consumption325,800,000,000 (kWh)13
Electricity - exports4,481,000,000 (kWh)30
Electricity - imports7,144,000,000 (kWh)32
Electricity - installed generating capacity88,020,000 (kW)13
Electricity - from fossil fuels75.40 (% of total installed capacity)98
Electricity - from nuclear fuels12.30 (% of total installed capacity)17
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants1.90 (% of total installed capacity)137
Electricity - from other renewable sources7.30 (% of total installed capacity)27
Crude oil - production1,099,000 (bbl/day)20
Crude oil - exports788,900 (bbl/day)17
Crude oil - imports942,100 (bbl/day)12
Crude oil - proved reserves2,827,000,000 (bbl)32
Refined petroleum products - production1,584,000 (bbl/day)16
Refined petroleum products - consumption1,608,000 (bbl/day)16
Refined petroleum products - exports535,300 (bbl/day)14
Refined petroleum products - imports493,500 (bbl/day)13
Natural gas - production47,430,000,000 (cu m)21
Natural gas - consumption82,210,000,000 (cu m)10
Natural gas - exports16,690,000,000 (cu m)18
Natural gas - imports53,430,000,000 (cu m)7
Natural gas - proved reserves253,000,000,000 (cu m)44
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy532,400,000 (Mt)11


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use33,230,000 9
Telephones - mobile cellular81,612,000 17
Internet hosts8,107,000 15
Internet users51,444,000 7


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports462 19
Railways16,454 (km)17
Roadways394,428 (km)16
Waterways3,200 (km)32
Merchant marine504 22


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures2.50 (% of GDP)56

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Blaenavon Industrial Landscape
The area around Blaenavon is evidence of the pre-eminence of South Wales as the world's major producer of iron and coal in the 19th century. All the necessary elements can still be seen - coal and ore mines, quarries, a primitive railway system, furn ...
Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, stands in a romantic park created by the famous landscape gardener 'Capability' Brown. It was presented by the English nation to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his victory in 1704 over Frenc ...
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church
Canterbury, in Kent, has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly five centuries. Canterbury's other important monuments are the modest Church of St Martin, the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Aug ...
Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech (largely the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George) and the fortified complexes of Caernarfon and Conwy are located in the former principality of Gwynedd, in north Wales. These ext ...
City of Bath
Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath became an important centre of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. In the 18th century, under George III, it developed into an elegant town with neoclassical Palladian buildings, which blend harmoniously ...
Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape
Much of the landscape of Cornwall and West Devon was transformed in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of the rapid growth of pioneering copper and tin mining. Its deep underground mines, engine houses, foundries, new towns, smallholdings, ...
Derwent Valley Mills
The Derwent Valley in central England contains a series of 18th- and 19th- century cotton mills and an industrial landscape of high historical and technological interest. The modern factory owes its origins to the mills at Cromford, where Richard Ark ...
Dorset and East Devon Coast
The cliff exposures along the Dorset and East Devon coast provide an almost continuous sequence of rock formations spanning the Mesozoic Era, or some 185 million years of the earth's history. The area's important fossil sites and classic coastal geom ...
Durham Castle and Cathedral
Durham Cathedral was built in the late 11th and early 12th centuries to house the relics of St Cuthbert (evangelizer of Northumbria) and the Venerable Bede. It attests to the importance of the early Benedictine monastic community and is the largest a ...
Gough and Inaccessible Islands
The site, located in the south Atlantic, is one of the least-disrupted island and marine ecosystems in the cool temperate zone. The spectacular cliffs of Gough and Inaccessible Islands, towering above the ocean, are free of introduced mammals and hom ...
Heart of Neolithic Orkney
The group of Neolithic monuments on Orkney consists of a large chambered tomb (Maes Howe), two ceremonial stone circles (the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar) and a settlement (Skara Brae), together with a number of unexcavated burial, cere ...
Henderson Island
Henderson Island, which lies in the eastern South Pacific, is one of the few atolls in the world whose ecology has been practically untouched by a human presence. Its isolated location provides the ideal context for studying the dynamics of insular e ...
Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda
The Town of St George, founded in 1612, is an outstanding example of the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. Its associated fortifications graphically illustrate the development of English military engineering from the 17th to the 20t ...
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City
Six areas in the historic centre and docklands of the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool bear witness to the development of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. Liverpool played an important role in the growth o ...
Maritime Greenwich
The ensemble of buildings at Greenwich, an outlying district of London, and the park in which they are set, symbolize English artistic and scientific endeavour in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Queen's House (by Inigo Jones) was the first Palladian ...
New Lanark
New Lanark is a small 18th- century village set in a sublime Scottish landscape where the philanthropist and Utopian idealist Robert Owen moulded a model industrial community in the early 19th century. The imposing cotton mill buildings, the spacious ...
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on ...
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
Westminster Palace, rebuilt from the year 1840 on the site of important medieval remains, is a fine example of neo-Gothic architecture. The site – which also comprises the small medieval Church of Saint Margaret, built in Perpendicular Gothic style, ...
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal
Situated in north-eastern Wales, the 18 kilometre long Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a feat of civil engineering of the Industrial Revolution, completed in the early years of the 19th century. Covering a difficult geographical setting, the build ...
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
This historic landscape garden features elements that illustrate significant periods of the art of gardens from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The gardens house botanic collections (conserved plants, living plants and documents) that have been consi ...
Saltaire, West Yorkshire, is a complete and well-preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century. Its textile mills, public buildings and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural standards and the urb ...
St Kilda
This volcanic archipelago, with its spectacular landscapes, is situated off the coast of the Hebrides and comprises the islands of Hirta, Dun, Soay and Boreray. It has some of the highest cliffs in Europe, which have large colonies of rare and endang ...
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
Stonehenge and Avebury, in Wiltshire, are among the most famous groups of megaliths in the world. The two sanctuaries consist of circles of menhirs arranged in a pattern whose astronomical significance is still being explored. These holy places and t ...
Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey
A striking landscape was created around the ruins of the Cistercian Fountains Abbey and Fountains Hall Castle, in Yorkshire. The 18th-century landscaping, gardens and canal, the 19th-century plantations and vistas, and the neo-Gothic castle of Studle ...
Tower of London
The massive White Tower is a typical example of Norman military architecture, whose influence was felt throughout the kingdom. It was built on the Thames by William the Conqueror to protect London and assert his power. The Tower of London – an imposi ...