The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland occupies
territory of the British Isles which are situated to the north-west of
Europe. They consist of two main islands: Great Britain and Ireland.
England is in the south of the island of Great Britain, Scotland is in the
north and Wales is in the west. Northern Ireland is situated in the north-
eastern part of Ireland. Its western coast is washed by the Atlantic Ocean.
In the east the island of Great Britain is washed by the North Sea. The
Irish Sea, the North Channel and the St. George’s Channel separate Ireland
from Great Britain. Great Britain is separated from France by the English
Channel, which is 32 km wide in its narrowest part. In everyday speech
“Great Britain” is used to mean the UK.
The climate of Britain is usually described as cool, temperate and
humid. As the weather changes with a wind, and Britain is visited by winds
from different parts of the world, the most characteristic feature of
Britain’s weather is its variability. Summers are not hot and winters are
not cold in Britain. The snow never lies for long on the ground. As a rule
there is no ice on the waters of rivers and lakes. So we may say that the
British climate has 3 main features: it is mild, humid and changeable. That
means that it’s never too hot or too warm.
Weather changes very often.
English is the official, but not the only language used in the
Britain has been many centuries in the making. The Romans conquered
most part of Britain, but were unable to subdue the fiercely independent
tribes in the West and in the North. Further waves of invaders followed:
Angels, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings and Normans. All these contributed to the
mixture we call English. For many centuries this country was known simply
as England. It had a strong army and navy. It waged numerous colonial wars.
England, once the “work shop of the world”, was the first to become a
highly industrial country.
There are no big rivers in Great Britain. The biggest are Severn and
Thames. The Severn in England is the longest river. It is 350 kilometers
long. It flows south – west into the Irish Sea. There are a lot of
mountains in Great Britain, but they are nit high. The highest mountain -
Ben Nevis - is in Scotland. The flora of the British Isles is much varied
and the fauna is similar to that of the north-west of Europe. The country
is not very rich in natural resources but there were suffice for the
Industrial Revolution to start.
London is the capital of the Great Britain. It was founded by the Romans. It is very old city. It is two thousand
years old. London is only the capital of the country; it is also a huge
port. London is situated upon both banks of the Thames. There are 17 bridges
across the river. The population of London is over 8 million people.
London has got three parts of London, the West End, and the East End. The
City of London is the oldest part of London. You can see narrow streets and
pavements there. There are many offices, films and banks in this part of
London. The City of London is the financial centre of the Great Britain.
The West End is the centre of London. There are many sights in the West
End. They are many, for example, the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben. It
is interesting that the clock “Big Ben” came into service in 1859. Big Ben
is biggest clock bell in Britain. It weight 13.5 tons.
The other interesting place is Westminster Abbey, which was founded in
1050. It is situated in the centre of London. Many great Englishmen were
buried in the Abbey: Newton, Darvin and others.
The official London residence of the Queen is Buckingham Palace. It was
built in the 18th century. There are many nice squares in London. Trafalgar
Square is one of them and it is in the centre of West End. One can see a
statue of Lord Nelson in the middle of this square.
There are many museums, libraries and galleries in London. The Gallery is
one of the well – known galleries in London. Henry Tate was a sugar
manufacturer. He was found of paintings and collected many pictures.
The British Museum is a very interesting place in London. It was founded in
1753. The library of this museum has a lot of books.
The East End of London is the district for the working people. There are
many factories, workshops, docks there. There are many cars and buses in
London. There is a tube (an underground) in London, too. It is a nice one.
One can say that the City is the money of London, the West End is the goods
of London, the East End is the hands of London.
* * *
Great Britain is highly industrialized, this was the country in which the
earliest developments of modern industry. The Great Britain is a parliamentary monarchy. A parliament is the group
of people who make the laws of their country. British laws are made in the
House of Lords and the House of Commons. The main political parties in
Great Britain are the Conservative, Labour, Liberal and Social – Democratic
The largest cities of Great Britain besides London are: Birmingham,
Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds, and Edinburgh.
The most important seaports are: London, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow and
Литература: Т. Ю. Журкина «55 устных тем по английскому языку»