Living in the UK
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom’s 242,500 square kilometers (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world’s longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a very high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world. It was the world’s first industrialized country and the world’s foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The UK has a partially regulated market economy. Based on market exchange rates, the UK is today the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest in Europe after Germany. The Bank of England is the UK’s central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins in the nation’s currency, the pound sterling. Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland retain the right to issue their notes, subject to retaining enough Bank of England notes in reserve to cover their issue. The pound sterling is the world’s third-largest reserve currency. The Industrial Revolution started in the UK with an initial concentration on the textile industry, followed by other heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining, and steelmaking.
The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.
Pound sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. Sterling is the fourth most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the United States dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen.
London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. London is considered to be one of the world’s most important global cities and has been termed the world’s most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, innovative, sustainable, most investment-friendly, and most popular for work city in the world. London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centers and has either the fifth or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP. London’s universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe and is home to world-class institutions such as Imperial College London in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and the London School of Economics in economics, finance, and business. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. 2013 report by the City of London Corporation said that London is the “greenest city” in Europe with 35,000 acres of public parks, woodlands, and gardens. London is a major global center of higher education teaching and research and has the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. According to the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, London has the greatest concentration of top-class universities in the world and its international student population of around 110,000 is larger than any other city in the world. A 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers report termed London the global capital of higher education
Major sports, including association football, tennis, rugby union, rugby league, golf, boxing, netball, rowing, and cricket, originated or were substantially developed in the UK and the states that preceded it. n most international competitions, separate teams represent England, Scotland, and Wales. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland usually field a single team representing all of Ireland, with notable exceptions being association football and the Commonwealth Games. Cricket was invented in England, and its laws were established by Marylebone Cricket Club in 1788. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, in the 1860s, before spreading around the world. The UK is closely associated with motorsport. Many teams and drivers in Formula One (F1) are based in the UK, and the country has won more drivers’ and constructors’ titles than any other.
Transport in the United Kingdom is facilitated by road, air, rail, and water networks. A radial road network totals 46,904 km of main roads, 3,497 km of motorways and 344,000 km of paved roads. The National Rail network of 16,116 km in Great Britain and 189 route miles in Northern Ireland carries over 18,000 passenger and 1,000 freight trains daily. Urban rail networks exist in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Newcastle. The rail network in the United Kingdom consists of two independent parts, that of Northern Ireland and that of Great Britain. Since 1994, the latter has been connected to mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel. The rail network in Great Britain is the oldest such network in the world. The system consists of five high-speed main lines. Three cities in the United Kingdom have rapid transit systems. The most well known is the London Underground, the oldest rapid transit system in the world (opened 1863)
Education is now mandatory from ages five to sixteen, and in England, youngsters must stay in education or training until they are 18. The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools, a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. Two of the top ten performing schools in terms of GCSE results in 2006 were state-run grammar schools. In 2010, over half of places at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge were taken by students from state schools.
To know more about the education system in the UK, click here
Some of the top cities in the UK are as below
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