The United Kingdom


The United Kingdom is very small compared with many other countries in the world. However, there are only nine other countries with more people, and London is the world's seventh biggest city. The main areas of high land are in Scotland, Wales and Cumbria. In the centre of England is a range of hills called the Pennines, which are also known as the 'backbone of England'. The highest mountains are in Scotland and Wales: Ben Nevis is 4,406 feet (1,343 m.) and Snowdon is 3,560 feet (1,085 m.). Of course, these are very small compared with other mountains in the world - Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is 29,000 feet (8,839 m.). In fact everything in the United Kingdom is rather small - the longest rivers are the Severn (220 miles, 354 km.) and the River Thames (215 miles, 346 km.). Compare these with the River Amazon in South America which is 4,195 miles (6,751 km.) long!


Despite its size, there is a great deal of variety within the islands of the United Kingdom, and this book aims to show the particular character of each country and region.


Susan Sheerin, Jonathan Seath, Gillian White: Spotlight on Britain; Oxford University Press, 1985, page 1