UK Facts | United Kingdom
Our UK Facts for Kids provide interesting and fun facts about the United Kingdom, its geography, its landmarks and attractions.
Here are some interesting UK Facts which were choosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
UK Facts for Kids
The United Kingdom includes four countries. First let's start with explaining the distinctions between United Kingdom, Great Britain and Britain.
- UK: United Kingdom is an European country that includes four separate countries on the British isles: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
- Great Britain is the name for three nations on the main isle: England, Scotland and Wales
- Britain is used only for including the mainland countries England and Wales
United Kingdom Facts for Kids
- Population: about 66 million people live in the United Kingdom (2020)
- Capital: London with 9 million inhabitants
- Name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Government: Parliamentary Monarchy, Democracy
- Language: English
- Religion: mainly Christians 60%
- Currency: 1 British Pound (GBP) = 100 penny
- National Anthem: 'God Save the Queen'
- National Holiday: none, however, the Queen's official birthday is a celebrated public holiday on the second Saturday in June.
- National Symbol: Lion (national animal), Union Jack (national flag) and the national colours: blue, white and red
- History: In 1707, the first political union of the Kingdom of England which then included Wales and Scotland was formed. In 1922 Northern Ireland joined this Union. From 1835 until 1925 the city of London was the largest city in the world. In 1927 the UK was officially proclaimed. From 1973 - 2020, the UK was part of the European Union.
Quick UK Facts | UK Geography
- The United Kingdom is a country in northwestern Europe.
- The UK consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- The UK is located mainly on two large islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
- No location in the UK is further away from the sea than 125 km/ 77 miles!
- The only land border to a non-UK country is in Northern Ireland the border with Ireland.
- The United Kingdom is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon/USA and slightly bigger than Ghana.
- The UK lies on the prime meridian which marks the Greenwich meridian timezone (GMT).
- The landscape is dominated by rolling plains and rugged hillsides.
- The UK has 13 British overseas territories, among them are Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula and Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
London is the capital city of the United Kingdom
- The United Kingdom was part of the European Union from 1973 and left the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period until 31 December 2020 is currently taking place until new arrangements between the EU and the UK are in place. Read more about the European Union here.
Facts about the UK
- The largest country of the UK is England. The smallest country is Northern Ireland.
- The UK has the third longest coastline in Europe with 12 430 km/ 7 723 miles - after Norway and Denmark (Greenland)
- The United Kingdom's highest mountain is Ben Nevis in Scotland with 1 345 m/4 412 ft.
Ben Nevis highest mountain of the UK
- The largest lake in the UK is Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.
- Loch Ness is the largest fresh water lake (by volume) in the UK.
- The longest river in the UK is the river Severn with 354 km/ 220 miles.
Bridge over the Severn river linking England with Wales
- London Heathrow is the biggest airport on the European continent.
- There is only one land border to Ireland.
- Bishop Rock off the Scilly Isles in southern England is the smallest of the UK islands.
UK Facts | UK Landmarks
- London: The capital city has many attractions. London’s Shard skyscraper is the tallest building on the European continent with 310 m/1,015 ft. in height.
London at the River Thames and the Shard skyscraper
- Edinburgh: The capital city of Scotland is known for its castle and the Royal mile. The International Fringe Festival in the city attracts more than 250 000 visitors every year!
- Windsor: This quaint town in Southern England is also known for its castle, which is a royal residence built in the 11th century. Windsor castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world.
- Stonehenge is known as the oldest monument in the world dating back over 3 000 years and thus these huge rocks are older than the Pyramids.
- Loch Ness: Scotland might be know as the country of the Loch Ness monster, however, no proof could ever be obtained about Nessie. The Loch Ness monster is commonly known as Nessie. Did you know that 'loch' is Scottish and means 'lake'?
Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness
- Cardiff: The capital city of Wales is often referred to as the 'City of Arcades'. Cardiff has the most indoor shopping centres in the UK. However, the Welsh city also has many historic houses and castles that are worth a visit.
Cardiff in Wales
- Belfast: Northern Irelands main business center is located on the banks of the Lagan River. The city has one of the biggest ports of the UK. Shipbuilding was a major sector for the city in the last century and once had the biggest shipyard in the world where the RMS Titanic was built in 1912. At the Titanic Belfast you can learn about the story of the fateful ship and its voyage.
Illuminated city hall in Belfast/Northern Ireland
The UK is a country with a diverse and multiethnic population. People from all over the world have made this country their home.
The light patches show UK population centres
Most of the population of the UK (83%) live in urban areas only about 20% live in rural areas. The majority of Britons live in and around the main centres of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
The biggest city of the UK is London.
Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow are also cities with more than 1 million inhabitants.
The most popular sports are soccer, rugby, cricket and golf. All these sports are said to have been invented in the UK. Golf is said to have been invented already in 1457. The old golf course in St Andrews/Scotland is the oldest golf course in the world.
St Andrews golf course in Scotland
The UK has over 130 universities among them the most prestigious universities Oxford and Cambridge.
UK Facts | Famous People
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philipp - image by Lorna Roberts
- Queen Elizabeth II (born 21 April 1926) is the longest reigning monarch in the world. She reigns in the UK for 60 years + on the throne. Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne after her father King George VI died in 1952. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning royal in the world and still head of state of 16 Commonwealth countries.
- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616): nicknamed 'The Bard', Shakespeare is the world's biggest playwright. His works 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Macbeth' and 'Hamlet' are known by people from all over the world. Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London is a great place to experience a play or learn about his famous plays.
- Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910): the English social reformer opened the first school for professional nursing in 1860 and helped spreading medical knowledge. She travelled widely in Egypt and Greece before she worked and trained nurses in the Crimean War. She was nicknamed the 'lady with a lamp'.
- J.K. Rowling: author of 'Harry Potter' book series who became the first author who earn one billion US dollar in her career as a writer in 2014. The seven fantasy novels tell about the adventures of the young wizard Harry Potter and his friends.
UK Facts | Language in the UK
The main language spoken in the UK is British English. Scots, Welsh and Irish are also spoken. There are also four Celtic languages spoken: Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Welch and Cornish.
In Wales, Welsh names are given on road signs together with English names which makes traveling much easier for many.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the town with the longest name in the world, but fortunately the town is known also as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or simply Llanfair PG.
The ancient languages Scottisch Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton are still spoken in England but only by groups of people.
Did you know that French was actually the official language in the UK for about three hundred years, from 1066 - 1362! The Breton language is nowadays mostly spoken by the people in Brittany in northwestern France.
UK Facts | United Kingdom Economy
UK pound notes
The Pound Sterling is one of the strongest currencies in the world.
The UK is the world’s sixth largest economy after USA, China, Japan, Germany and India.
The United Kingdom is the third largest economy after Germany and France on the European continent.
The USA, Germany, France and China are the UK's biggest trading parters.
Among the biggest UK companies and manufacturers are
- HSBC (Banking and Financial Services)
- BP (British Petroleum)
- AstraZeneca (Pharmaceuticals)
- GlaxoSmithKline (health products and pharmaceuticals such as Dr Best oral health care, Horlicks malted drinks)
- Unilever (food, household and health care products such as Omo or Skip washing powder, Axe deodorant, Lipton tea or Magnum icecream.
Major natural resources are coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron-ore, limestone and zinc.
UK Facts | UK Food
Food and soft drinks are among the main manufactured goods in the UK, still almost half of its food stuff consumed on the British isles is imported to meet the populations needs.
Typical English Breakfast with fried egg, sausages, bacon, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes and toast
Popular food in the UK:
- Fish and Chips: deep fried fish or fish fingers with french fries that have been soaked with vinegar
- Bangers and Mash: sausages and mashed potatoes
- Black Pudding: sausage or sliced meatloaf of pigs blood and fat that has been mixed with pepper or spices and cooked or fried.
- Yorkshire Pudding: similar to a flat round roll, eaten usually with the main meal and vegetables, not a dessert
Yorkshire Pudding with roast beef, peas, potato mash and turnip mash is a typical Sunday meal
- Toad-In-The-Hole: Similar to a Yorkshire pudding, the dough is baked with sausages and mixed vegetables
- Haggis: Traditional Scottish dish made with lamb's offal (liver, lungs, heart) minced with onions and spices. The minced meats is cooked in a casing, formerly they used an animal's stomach. This dish tastes much better than it sounds! This dish is often served with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips.
Typical Scottish Haggis
- Baked Beans on Toast: Baked beans in tomato sauce are especially popular among children.
- Shepherd's Pie: meat pie filled with lamb mince and vegetables.
- Welsh Rarebit: baked toast with Cheddar cheese
- Chicken Tikka and Chicken Korma: see below :-)
And Britons like curries, albeit mild ones. Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka have been voted among most popular dishes in the UK.
And as many of you might have guessed already: the British are big tea drinkers and are among the world’s biggest tea consumers.
Afternoon tea is actually a light meal of tea and sandwiches or toast, scones or pastry served in between lunch and tea. Afternoon tea is taken around 16h and 17h in many families when children come home from school. Tea time!
English scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream - Yummy!
UK Facts | UK animals
The largest mammal in the UK is the red deer. Various species of deer and rabbits are common in the UK.
Red Deer in Scotland
Badgers, foxes and hedgehogs live in the woodlands and forests of the isles.
UK Facts | Did you know?
The UK was the first to use postage stamps: In 1840 the first stamps show a portrait of Queen Victoria. The first postage stamp called 'Penny Black' as it was worth one penny and was black.
And last but not least: The UK is one of only five countries that do not have a written constitution but follows a common law system.
Useful Resources for UK Facts:
This UK facts page was last updated on 12 May 2020. Many Thanks to Jane for the suggested corrections!
- UK Government. "The UK has left the EU - The Transition Period." gov.uk. Last accessed 10 February 2020
- Commonwealth Education Online. “Governor General.” Commonwealth Network. Last accessed 30 January 2020
- Central Intelligence Agency. “United Kingdom”. CIA World Fact Book. Last updated 27 January 2020. Last accessed 30 January 2020
- Immediate Media. "What is Haggis?". BBC Good Food. Last accessed 10 February 2020
- Woodland Trust. "Mammals". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Last accessed 10 February 2020
Image Credits on UK Facts page: Shutterstock.com and wikipedia commons
Return from UK Facts to Kids-World-Travel-Guide Homepage