The British Isles consists
of the two large islands of
Great Britain and Ireland,
and a number of smaller
islands lying off the north-
west coast of Europe.
Great Britain, sometimes called
Britain, is the largest island in
Europe: it includes England,
Scotland and Wales.
Ireland lies to the west of Great
Britain. Politically it is divided into
two parts: Northern Ireland and
the independent Republic of
Ireland, called EIRE, in the south.
To the east of the British
Isles there is the North
The Atlantic Ocean
is to the west.
To the south there is the
English Channel which
separates Great Britain
from the Continent.
Between Ireland and
Great Britain there is
the Irish Sea.
The main rivers are:
the Thames which rises in the Cotswold Hills
and flows through the south of England into the
the Severn, the longest, which rises in the
Cambrian Mountains of Wales and flows into
the Irish Sea.
The biggest lake is Lough Neagh in Northern
The biggest of the Scottish lakes is Loch
Lemond but the most famous is Loch Ness.
A group of picturesque lakes are situated in the
Lake District, in the north-western part of
England, near the Scottish border.
The mountainous part of GB are Scotland and
Wales. The chief mountain ranges in Britain
the Northwest Highlands in the north-west of
the Grampian Mountains with Ben Nevis, the
the Southern Uplands, in southern Scotland;
the Pennines stretch from the Scottish Border
to Central England;
the Cambrian Mountains in Wales.
England, Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland form a political
The United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland
The capital city is London, the
official language is English, and
the currency is the pound
The British national anthem is
the oldest in the world,
established in 1745 and
based on a song of the 17th
God Save the Queen*
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and Glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
Oh, save us all!
Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign;
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen
* God Save the King, if the monarch is male.
The British flag, known as the Union
Jack, is a combination of three flags:
the Saint Andrew`s Cross, the Saint
Patrick`s Cross and the Saint
• Ulster is the name used today
for six counties of Northern
• The flag, a red diagonal cross
on a white background, called
St. Patrick’s Cross, represents
these six counties.
• The capital city is Belfast.
• The Patron Saint is St. Patrick,
celebrated on the 17th
• The national emblem is
• The capital city of Scotland is
• The flag, a white diagonal cross
on a blue background, is called
St. Andrew’s Cross.
• The Patron Saint is St. Andrew,
celebrated on the 30th
• The national emblem is thistle.
• The capital city of Wales is
• The flag, called the Welsh
Dragon, shows a red dragon on
a white and green background.
• The Patron Saint is St. David,
celebrated on the 1st
• The national emblem is leek.
• The capital city of England is
• The flag, a red cross on a white
background, is called St. George’s
• The Patron Saint is St. George,
celebrated on the 23rd
• The national emblem is rose.
The red rose became the emblem of
England after the War of the Roses
(1455-1485) which was the war of the
dynasties for the English throne.
• There is rain all year round in the UK and
in some areas it is often windy.
• Apart from winters in northern Scotland, it
is not usually very cold.
• In summer the weather can be sunny and
pleasant, even hot but it can change very
quickly, with sunshine and rain coming and
going every day or even few hours.
• Because the weather changes frequently,
there’s always something to say about it,
so a common way to start a conversation
in Britain is to talk about the weather.