London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The country is known for its Norman castles, glacial valleys and mountains, Celtic and Christian monuments, and coastal links golf courses. Capital city Belfast is home to the political murals of the 20th-century ‘Troubles’ conflict, and the Titanic Quarter, showcasing the redeveloped dockyards where the famous ship was built and a contemporary museum, Titanic Belfast.
Dialing code: +44
Population: 1.875 million
Currency: Pound sterling
Welcome to Northern Ireland
Wales is a country in southwest Great Britain known for its rugged coastline, mountainous national parks, distinctive Welsh language and Celtic culture. Cardiff, the capital, is a refined coastal city with a nightlife scene and a medieval castle with ornate Gothic Revival interiors. In the northwest, Snowdonia National Park has lakes, glacial landforms, hiking trails and a railway up to the peak of Snowdon.
Area: 20,735 km²
Population: 3.099 million
Official languages: Welsh, English
24 things not to miss in Wales
Scotland, the U.K.’s northernmost country, is a land of mountain wildernesses such as the Cairngorms and Northwest Highlands, interspersed with glacial glens (valleys) and lochs (lakes). Its major cities are Edinburgh, the capital, with its iconic hilltop castle, and Glasgow, famed for its vibrant cultural scene. Scotland is also famous for golf, the game first played at the Old Course at St Andrews in the 1400s.
Population: 5.373 million
National animal: Unicorn
Currency: Pound sterling
10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Scotland
England, birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles, is a country in the British Isles bordering Scotland and Wales. The capital, London, on the River Thames, is home of Parliament, Big Ben and the 11th-century Tower of London. It’s also a multicultural, modern hub for the arts and business. Other large cities are Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and the university centres of Oxford and Cambridge.
Area: 130,279 km²
Population: 54.79 million