“Great Britain” has several different names. Some people say “Britain”, or
“the United Kingdom”, or just “UK”. There are four different countries in
the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Altogether more than 56 million people live in Britain, many of them in big
industrial cities like London, Liverpool and Manchester, but people are
often surprised by how much of Britain is open country, with lonely hills
and woods, quiet rivers, lakes and farmlands.
Many people think that the weather is cold and wet in Britain all the year
round. But it isn’t! True, it sometimes rains and even snows for days and
days, but every year there are weeks of beautiful sunny weather then the
British take off their sweaters and go out to sunbathe.
Britain is only a small country, but every part is different. Scotland is a
land of mountains, lakes and romantic castles. The winters are cold, with
plenty of snow, but the summers are often warm and sunny. Most farmers keep
sheep, and they’re many small factories, which make fine sweaters from
their wool. In some parts of Scotland, there are very few people. Deer live
in the hills, and the rivers are full of salmon. But Glasgow and Edinburgh
are both large and busy, with all that is good (and bad) in modern cities.
Northern Ireland has it problems, but it has beauty, too. In the warm, wet
climate, the grass grows a brilliant green, and much of the land is farming
country. Belfast is a large industrial city with many fine buildings and
big port from which ships come and go to Scotland and England. But Belfast
has had many difficulty years, and it is not the busy place it once was.
A hundred years ago the north of England was industrial heart of the
country. From the factories came cloth, wool, machines, engines and china.
The old factories came have gone now and the workers have to look for jobs
in the new “high-tech” industries. Outside the towns, much of this part of
England is beautiful countryside, with green hills, lakes and sandy
beaches. Fishing is still a big industry in the North East, and every night
(except Sunday) the fishing boats go out to sea.
The centre of England (the “Midlands”) is also an important industrial
area, especially near the huge cities of Coventry and Birmingham, the
centre of the car industry. But everyone, even in the heart of the modern
city, there are buildings from older Britain – cathedrals, castles, and
houses built hundred years ago.
Wales is a special place, a country of high mountains and pretty valleys.
But Wales has plenty of industry, too, with many factories and coal mines.
The west of England is rich farming country. It produces milk, cream,
butter, cheese and apples, which go to make cider, a popular drink. In the
villages, country people often grow their own fruit, vegetables and
Some areas of Britain are very crowded. Around Manchester, in north west
England, and Glasgow, in Scotland, are large city areas of houses and
factories. The south east of England, too, has many towns and cities,
including London, the giant capital. But quiet near London there are still
some quiet villages and peaceful farms.
Britain is an island, of course, and you are never far from the sea. Some
of the coast, especially in the west, is wild and rocky, with small, sandy
beaches, and romantic old harbours. Other parts are industrial. The East
Coast of Scotland, for example, is busy with оіл rings and fishing boats.
The most popular beaches are near the many holiday towns on the south
coast, where the weather is usually warmer. It is here that Londoners come