The British Isles lie to the north-west of Europe. The total area is about 244.000 square kilometers. They are separated from Europe by the English Channel and by the North Sea. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain from Ireland. In the west and north-west the British Isles are washed by the Atlantic Ocean. The North Sea and the English Channel are also called the Narrow Seas because they are difficult for navigation as they are very shallow. The North Sea is rich in natural gas and oil. As for the English Channel, the narrowest point occurs at the Strait of Dover, where it is 32 kilometers across. Swimmers attempting to cross the Channel face three main challenges: strong currents, cold water, and a high concentration of jellyfish, which can inflict painful stings.
The Atlantic Ocean brings warm waters from the Golfstream and makes the British climate mild. It is not very hot in summer and it is not very cold in winter.
The British Isles consist of Great Britain, the biggest island, Ireland, a smaller one, and 5000 small islands, some of which are densely populated. Some islands appear and disappear during ebb tides.
The Shetlands have the same altitude as St Petersburg, so they experience white nights as well.
The Orkneys are not densely populated because of severe climatic conditions, and the soil is not fertile.
The Hebrides have a more or less favorable position. Industry and culture are developed here.
The Isle of Man has a very old history. Its emblem is a cat without a tail or with a very short one. Corporal punishment is forbidden here by law.
The Channel Islands are connected with World War II by the prisoner-of-war camps that were built there.
Besides islands, the British Islands include 2 peninsulas: Wales and Cornwell.