The official name of the country, which we usually call England and occasionally Great Britain, is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The U. K. is situated on the group of islands lying just off the mainland of northwestern Europe. The British Isles include Great Britain proper, Ireland and a number of smaller islands. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales. The southern part of Ireland is the Republic of Eire. Great Britain is separated from the continent by the English Channel, the narrower part of which is called the Strait of Dover. The British Isles are surrounded by the shallow waters of the Irish Sea and the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Channel and the Atlantic Ocean.
Britain is comparatively small, but there is hardly a country in the world where such a variety of scenery can be found. There are wild desolate mountains in the northern Highlands of Scotland, that are home to the deer and the eagle. The Pennine Range in northern England and the Cambrian Mountains in Wales are much lower in elevation. In the extreme south of England are the famous chalk hills, some of which form the Dover Cliffs. The southern and southeastern parts of the island lie in varied lowlands.
The rivers of the region are short and of no great importance as commercial waterways. The longest of them is the “Father of London”, the Thames, which is a little over 200 miles in length. Britain’s principal ports are London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, and Glasgow. They have splendid harbours, for the coastline is very indented. Due to the shape of the country, any point in Great Britain is no more than 70 miles from the sea. Naturally, its location has made English sea racing very popular and loved by all.
The warm currents of the Atlantic Ocean influence the climate of Great Britain. The winters are not severely cold, and summers are rarely hot. The British Isles are well – watered by rain throughout the year. The cloudiness is rather dense, and more than half the days of the year are overcast. Fog along the coast frequently obscures the sun. London fog, albeit often severe when mixed with city smog, has a worldwide reputation, but certainly not to be envied.
Rivers in Great Britain seldom freeze and are generally ice-free. The grass remains green all year round. Thanks to its unique climatic conditions, Britain, in reality, looks like one great well-ordered park with its old trees, green meadows and freshly-trimmed hedges.