Great Britain is an island country in north-western Europe that is no longer part of the EU as of 2020. The United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. The country only borders directly on Ireland. Great Britain is rich in sights, castles, impressive nature and exciting traditions.
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Source: Destination Explorer
Fast facts to know
- The Brits prefer to drink tea – also with a dash of milk.
- Britain is a parliamentary monarchy, Queen Elizabeth has ruled for more than 67 years.
- Since February 1st, 2020 Great Britain is no longer part of the EU.
- The UK has the largest Indian restaurant in the world.
- Windsor Castle in Berkshire is the oldest royal residence in the world.
- There are over 200 bridges and 20 tunnels crossing the Thames.
- Great Britain was once one of the greatest seafaring nations in the world.
- In the UK you are never more than 75 miles from the sea.
- Almost 25% of UK adults are overweight.
- Great Britain has the shortest scheduled flight in the world. The flight between the tiny islands of Westray and Papa Westray takes only two minutes.
- The main sports are football, cricket, rugby, darts, tennis and horse racing.
- The British flag is called the Union Jack.
- The largest non-Christian religion in the country is Islam.
- The Commonwealth of Nations is a loose association of sovereign states.
- As a former colonial power, Great Britain still has territories all over the world.
- Great Britain was the origin of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.
- Great Britain does not have a written constitution as such. The law is based to the greatest extent on precedent, lore and tradition.
- Around 50 million of the approximately 60 million inhabitants live in England.
- Avoid taking the London Underground at rush hour.
- On the island, Europeans need a power adapter as the sockets are of a different type.
- In the UK, traffic drives on the left.
- As a German you will need a valid passport to enter the country in the future (from 1 Oct 21).
- Pounds are used on the island, Britain never joined the euro.
Exciting cities in Great Britain
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- St Ives
- The Cotswolds
History of Great Britain
- Area was originally settled by Celtic tribes.
- 55 BC BC – 43 AD Conquest of Britain (excluding Scotland) by the Roman provincial governor Gaius Julius Caesar.
- 400 years under Roman rule.
- Then pushed out by Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
- 1066 Beginning of the Norman conquest of England with the invasion of Duke William II.
- Feudalism takes hold in England.
- 1536 Wales, controlled by England since 1284, becomes part of the English Kingdom.
- 1541 Ireland is incorporated into a personal union and forms the Kingdom of Ireland.
- 1660 Reintroduction of the monarchy.
- 1707 The Act of Union unites the kingdoms of Scotland and England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
- 1800 Union of the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland.
- 19th century Great Britain is the dominant industrial and seafaring nation.
- 1922 26 Irish counties form the Irish Free State (from 1937 Éire, from 1949 Republic of Ireland) and split off.
- In World War II, Great Britain fights on the side of the Allies.
- In the second half of the 20th century, the British colonial empire is dissolved except for a few small remnants.
- 1973 Great Britain joins the European Union.
- 1998 As part of a constitutional reform, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are given their own parliaments in 1999.
- January 31, 2020 Great Britain leaves the EU (Brexit).
- Britain joined the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC), in 1973.
- In June 2016, the UK voted by a majority of 51.9% to leave the EU.
- The application to leave was followed by years of negotiations, which were only concluded in 2020 with an exit deal with the EU.
- On January 31st, 2020 Great Britain will officially leave the EU.
- The hard Brexit without a deal could be averted. There will also be a contractually regulated partnership between the EU and the island state in the future.
- As part of the phased programme, the Government will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system by 2025 to ensure anyone coming to the UK is authorized before travelling.
- If you fall ill while on a temporary stay in England or in the event of a medical emergency, a valid EHIC card will continue to give you access to medical care.
- Additional international health and travel insurance is recommended.
- To drive a car in the UK you need a valid driver’s license. The EU driving license will continue to be recognised.
Climate & travel weather in Great Britain
- Relatively mild, maritime climate.
- Lots of precipitation all year round, less in the south than in the north.
- Strong regional climate differences.
- Cornwall, Channel Islands: rather mild.
- High altitudes in Wales, Highlands in Scotland: rather rough.
- Recommended travel time:
- Accessible all year round, showers are always to be expected.
- May & June particularly suitable for round trips.
- Beach holiday: June – August (most suitable: southern England).
- Highlands: April-May, Sept-Oct (summer very wet).
- Winter Sports Highlands: Jan & Feb
Great Britain excursion ideas
- Dark Hedges
- Owler gate
- St Michael’s Mount
- Whitby Abbey
- Loch Ness
- Hadrian’s Wall
- Balmoral Castle
- Canterbury Cathedral
- Tyneham ghost town
- Edinburgh Castle
- London :
- Buckingham Palace
- Big Ben
- Tower Bridge
- London Eye
- Westminster Abbey
- Tower of London
- St Paul’s Cathedral
Eating & drinking in the UK
- Modern British cuisine is shaped by the culinary specialties of immigrants.
- In Great Britain, breakfast is usually simply eaten with toast, cornflakes and English tea.
- The traditional breakfast of sausage, tomatoes, eggs, beans, and orange juice is usually only available on weekends.
- At lunchtime there is usually a lunch with sandwiches or a simple meal.
- In the late afternoon, the famous tea break is a must.
- Only in the evening do you eat more lavishly with a warm meal. Therefore, restaurant visits in the evening are usually more expensive than at noon.
- In pubs you usually have to get your own beer from the bar. Normally there is no service.
- A central part of the traditional cuisine is roasting, mostly lamb, beef, pork or poultry.
- Often served as a side dish: fried potatoes and vegetables.
- All kinds of pies, roast beef and juicy steaks are recommended.
- Fish dishes are common.
- You can find a variety of Indian and Chinese restaurants almost everywhere.
- Of course, the main drinks are tea and beer.
- Typical dishes:
- English breakfast.
- Black pudding.
- Fish and chips.
- Haggis (sheep’s stomach stuffed with offal).
- Beef Wellington (fillet of beef in puff pastry).
- Cornish Pastry (savory pie made from puff pastry filled with fish, meat or vegetables).
- Curry Chicken Marsala.
- The Needles on the Isle of Wight
- Malham Cove in North Yorkshire
- Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye
- lake district
- Jurassic Coast in Devon and Dorset
- Seven Sisters in Sussex
- Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire
- Cheddar Gorge in Somerset
- Giant’s Causeway in Antrim
- Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa
- Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia
- hole awe