Great Britain

Great Britain lies (is situated) in the northwest coast of Europe, on the British Isles. It consists of two large islands: Great Britain, Ireland, and other smaller islands.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the official title of GB.

Great Britain (GB) consists of three parts: Scotland, Wales, England

The United Kingdom (UK) is the name for: Northern Ireland, Great Britain

POPULATION

The current population of the U.K. is over 68 million people.
The density of the population is one of the highest in the world, about 270 people per square kilometre.

MOUNTAINS

  • LOWLANDS
  • HIGHLANDS

The most mountainous area of GB is Scotland. Here we can find:

THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND that are the highest mountains in Britain, with the highest peak Ben Nevis (1343 m)

  • The Pennies
  • The Cambrian Mountains

RIVERS

  • the River Severn (the longest river)
  • the River Thames (the biggest river)

LAKES

The lakes are not important for transport but they are a big tourist attraction. Here are some of the most famous lakes in Britain:

  • Windermere Lake
  • Loch Lomond – the largest lake in Great Britain, it has 36.4 kilometres.
  • Loch Ness – this lake is famous for the “Loch Ness Monster”. (Lakes are called lochs in Scotland).

CLIMATE

The climate of Britain is mild due to the Gulf Stream. Winters are not very cold, and summers aren’t very warm. Britain is known for its fogs and rainfall.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

Britain is one of the most industrial countries in the world.

The economy consists of the following branches: industry, agriculture, tourism

As for the industry, there is a highly developed chemical and textile industry, production
of vehicles, arms, and electronic industry. 

GOVERNMENT

  • CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY – GB is a constitutional monarchy. It is the system of government in which the queen’s power is formal, limited, and shared with the government.
  • UNWRITTEN LAW – The Constitution of the U.K. is unwritten, based on customs, traditions and common law.
  • QUEEN ELIZABETH II – An official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. Her seat is at Buckingham Palace.
  • BRITISH PRIME MINISTER – The head of government is the Prime Minister. The seat of the Prime Minister can be found at 10 Downing Street in London.

TRANSPORT

  • There are four airports in London. One of them is the airport Heathrow that is one of the busiest international airports in the world.
  • You can see much more of London from one of its famous red buses, also called a double-decker. 
  • The quickest and cheapest way to get to different places in the city is to use the underground, often called the ´tube´. The London underground is one of the oldest in the world.
  • London has the famous black taxis also called ´Black cabs´. You can stop it if it has a sign on it ´for hire´

CURRENCY

The UK currency is the pound sterling (£/GBP).
There are 100 pennies, or pence, to the pound.
There are 100 pence (p) to the pound (£).
Notes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50.
Coins come in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

Money talks: speak like a Londoner
You will usually hear British people say ´pee´ rather than pence, as in 50p (50 pee). More colloquially, £1 pound is known as a ´quid´, a £5 note is a ´fiver´ and a £10 note a ´tenner´.

LANGUAGE

ENGLISH is spoken across the UK, but it is not the only native official language. You may also hear:

  1. Welsh in Wales
  2. Gaelic and Scots in Scotland
  3. Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland
  4. Cornish in Cornwall, England

These other languages developed very differently to English and share few common words. You will hear them most commonly in rural areas, but many young people are now taught these languages at school as a second language and they are seeing a revival.

However, wherever you go in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales you will find that English is the main language and that people speak English fluently.

FLAG

It consists of 3 other flags: a flag of England, Scotland and Ireland. It expresses a long
history of the U.K. The flag is known as THE UNION JACK.

BRITISH CUISINE

English breakfast, Fish and chips, Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, Shepherd’s pie

LIFESTYLE

  • driving cars
  • going to pubs
  • gardening
  • keeping pets
  • sports

St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween are their popular holidays.

HOUSING

What are the different types of housing in the UK?

People live in a: detached house, semi-detached house, terraced house, block of flats, cottage, mansion

TYPICAL SPORTS

Their national sport is cricket, but football is the most popular sport. World-famous football teams are Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. They also love golf, tennis, and polo

FAMOUS PEOPLE

…from the past…

William Shakespeare (a poet and playwright)
Isaac Newton (a mathematician)
Wiston Churchill (one of the greatest British prime ministers)
Agatha Christie (a detective story writer)
Stephen Hawking (was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author)
Princess Diana
John Lennon (a musician of a popular pop band The Beatles)

…at present…

Queen Elizabeth II (an official head of state)
Prince William (a successor to the throne)
Adele (a pop singer)
Ed Sheeran (a pop music artist)

Rowan Atkinson (an actor, famous for Mr. Bean show)
J.K.Rowling (a British author, famous for the Harry Potter fantasy series)
Jamie Oliver (a famous British chef)

SYMBOLS

TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS OF ENGLAND

  • The Lion (England’s national animal)
  • The Oak (England’s national tree that represents strength and endurance)
  • The Red Rose (England’s national flower)
  • St. George (Saint patron of England)
  • Black cab (London’s traditional black taxi)
  • Fish and Chips (England’s culinary symbol)
  • Tea with milk
  • Robin Hood (A heroic outlaw in English folklore)
  • Double-decker bus

SCOTTISH SYMBOLS & LANDMARKS

  • Scottish thistle
  • The Unicorn (Scottish national animal)
  • Scottish kilt
  • St. Andrew
  • Saint patron of Scotland
  • Scottish Highlands and Lowlands
  • Bagpipes (a Scottish musical instrument)
  • Scotch Whisky
  • The Loch Ness monster or Nessie. Often described as a large, long-necked creature. People believe in the creature even if there is not any evidence of its existence.

TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS OF WALES

  • The Leek
  • The Daffodil (Wale‘s national flower)
  • The Red Dragon (a traditional animal, it is also in the national flag of Wales)
  • St. David (Saint patron of Wales)

TRADITIONAL IRISH SYMBOLS

  • The Harp (an official national emblem of Ireland)
  • Irish Whisky (and it‘s long tradition)
  • St. Patrick (Saint patron of Ireland)
  • Guinness (a trademark of dark beer made in Dublin)
  • The Shamrock or The Clover of 3 leaves
  • Represents the Holy Trinity: the father , the son and the holy spirit

POPULAR PLACES IN BRITAIN

GREENWICH
The line in Greenwich represents the historic Prime Meridian of the World. The line itself divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth. If you stand with one foot on one side and the other on the left, you are perfectly in the middle of east and west, according to the prime meridian line. 

STONEHENGE
Stonehenge is a world-famous stone circle. Nobody really knows exactly why it was built. One theory says that it was a kind of temple. Another theory says that Stonehenge was built to observe the stars or for religious purposes and gatherings.  

BATH
Bath is one of the most attractive cities in England. It contains the finest Roman buildings in Britain, the hot healing springs. Bath became the spa centre.

OXFORD

CAMBRIDGE

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON (a birthplace of Shakespeare)

GLASGOW
Glasgow is an old Victorian town, the heart of arts in Scotland

L O N D O N

LONDON is the capital of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland. It lies on the River Thames, and it is the largest city in the country.

London is the seat of the Monarch, the Parliament, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Church of England, etc.

LONDON is the centre of cultural, political, and social activities.

  • Tourists come here to visit monuments, museums, galleries, theatres, historical sights, and parks.
  • The city is home to about 9 million inhabitants.
  • The most important parts of London are: the city, Westminster, the West End, the East End

HISTORY OF LONDON

The city’s history is very rich, including several disasters that have affected London.

  • In 1665, a disease called the Black Plague killed more than 100,000 people.
  • In 1666, there was a big fire, ´The Fire of London´ which destroyed most of the city, e.g., St. Paul’s Cathedral and 88 other churches.

PLACES OF INTEREST

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is the typical symbol of the capital and, at the same time, a top tourist attraction. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress to defend the city of London. It was the place of some of the bloodiest events in English history. Many important personalities were arrested and executed there.

The Tower of London is now a museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of
weapons and the Crown Jewels.

The Tower is guarded by the Yeoman Warders called “Beefeaters”. They wear a distinctive/ typical uniform from Tudor times. Beefeaters guard together with six ravens that are kept in the Tower. Legend says that it would be the end of the Tower and the kingdom if the ravens flew away. So the ravens’ wings are clipped to prevent this.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a typical London landmark. It has two Gothic towers. Two glass-covered Walkways link the top of the towers to allow walkers to cross over the River Thames and give them beautiful views of the river. The bridge is raised in the middle to allow tall ships to pass up the river.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is the largest square in London. It’s a place of political demonstrations, heavy traffic, tourists, and pigeons. In the middle of the square is the statue of Admiral Nelson, who looks towards the Houses of Parliament and is guarded by four magnificent bronze lions.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a gothic building with twin towers. The Abbey is a ´Coronation church´. Coronations of every king or queen (except two) have been held here.

Visitors can admire Coronation Chair – this oak chair has been used at every coronation. The Abbey contains many royal tombs. There were many important royal funerals, such as Diana Princess of Wales and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth = the Queen’s Mother. The Abbey is a living church – there are regular services every day.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London and the spiritual centre of the city. It is a masterpiece of a famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, who rebuilt this cathedral and 52 other city churches after the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Cathedral is built in Baroque style.

Buckingham Palace

It is the official London residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Standard flutters when Her Majesty the Queen is in residence.

An inseparable part of the Palace is the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of it. The statue represents the ideals of motherhood, truth, justice, peace, and progress. The five regiments of Foot Guards, easily recognized by their scarlet uniforms and bearskins, guard Buckingham Palace. The Guard is changed at 11.30 am. This ceremony takes 40 minutes and is usually watched by vast crowds.

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament is the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of the British
Parliament. They were rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in 1840 after a fire destroyed the previous building.

The complex includes: The House of Commons, The House of Lords, Westminster Hall –
the great hall dates from medieval times.

Big Ben

Big Ben is a famous landmark in London. It’s a part of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is not the clock’s name but the bell’s name (named after Sir Benjamin Hall). It has been telling the time since 1859.

10 Downing Street

No. 10 Downing Street is closed, and it is the official home of the British Prime Minister.

London Eye

London Eye is the most popular tourist attraction. It is the tallest sightseeing wheel in the world.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a place where five busy streets join into the circular square. It is the most alive and noisiest place in London. It is a centre of entertainment, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, and restaurants. Many colourful advertisements light the square.

At the top of the Fountain, the circus center, stands Eros, the Greek God of love.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is probably the most popular among tourists because of its Speaker’s Corner. It is a place where everybody can speak his or her opinions openly without fear.

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is visited by thousands of visitors every year. It contains waxworks of famous world figures, e.g., international statesmen (Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher), sportsmen (Martina Navrátilová, David Beckham), film stars (Beatles, Madonna), Royal Family, the Pope, and many other famous people.

The National Gallery

The National Gallery contains the best-known collection of paintings, e.g. Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, El Greco, etc.

Harrods

Harrods is the world’s best-known store.

The store began as a small grocer’s shop, and at the same time, it was the first store in the
world with an escalator.

Other big shopping stores are Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis.

Vocabulary

1. consist of [kənˈsɪst ] – skladať sa z…, pozostávať z…
2. coast [kəʊst] – pobrežie
3. island [ˈaɪlənd] – ostrov
4. isle [aɪl] – ostrov
5. density [ˈdensɪtɪ] – hustota
6. lowlands [ˈləʊləndz] – nížiny
7. highlands [ˈhaɪləndz] – vysočiny
8. the Highlands – Škótska vysočina
9. mountainous [ˈmaʊntɪnəs] – hornatý
10. peak [piːk] – štít, vrchol
11. lake [leɪk] – jazero
12. mild climate [maɪld ˈklaɪmɪt] – mierne podnebie
13. fog [fɒg] – hmla
14. branch [brɑːntʃ] – odvetvie
15. constitution [ˌkɒnstɪˈtjuːʃən] – ústava
16. customs [ˈkʌstəms] – zvyky
17. government [ˈgʌvənmənt] – vláda
18. double decker [ˈdʌb ə l dekə] – dvojposchodový autobus
19. for hire [fɔː ˈhaɪə] – na prenájom
20. hemisphere [ˈhemɪˌsfɪə] – pologuľa, hemisféra
21. prime meridian [praɪm məˈrɪdɪən] – nultý poludník
22. healing springs [hiːlɪŋ sprɪŋs] – liečivé pramene

Great Britain

23. birthplace [ˈbɜːθˌpleɪs] – rodisko
24. plague [pleɪg] – mor, epidémia
25. oak [əʊk] – dub
26. pigeons [ˈpɪdʒɪns] – holuby
27. Beefeaters [ˈbiːˌfiːtəs] – strážcovia londýnskeho Toweru
28. raven [ˈreɪv ə n] – havran
29. bishop [ˈbɪʃəp] – biskup
30. waxwork [ˈwæksˌwɜːk] – vosková figurína
31. brewery [ˈbrʊərɪ] – pivovar
32. clover [ˈkləʊvə] – ďatelina
33. holy [ˈhəʊlɪ] – svätý
34. Trinity [ˈtrɪnɪtɪ] – Najsvätejšia Trojica
35. thistle [ˈθɪs ə l] – bodliak, škótsky národný symbol
36. landmark [ˈlændˌmɑːk] – typický znak, orientačný bod
37. unicorn [ˈjuːnɪˌkɔːn] – jednorožec
38. flag [flæg] – vlajka
39. tartan [ˈtɑːt ə n] – škótska kockovaná látka, vzor
40. kilt [kɪlt] – škótska sukňa
41. pattern [ˈpætən] – vzor (na látke)
42. Scotland [ˈskɒtlənd] – Škótsko
43. Scottish [ˈskɒtɪʃ] – škótsky
44. Scotch [skɒtʃ] – škótska (whisky)

Scottish kilt

45. the Scots [skɒts] / the Scottish people – Škóti
46. outlaw [ˈaʊtˌlɔː] – zbojník, vyhnanec
47. trademark [ˈtreɪdˌmɑːk] – obchodná značka
48. current [ˈkʌrənt] – súčasný
49. rainfall [ˈreɪnˌfɔːl] – dažďové zrážky
50. as for [əz fɔː ] – čo sa týka…
51. endurance [ɪnˈdjʊərəns] – vytrvalosť, výdrž
52. vertical [ˈvɜːtɪk ə l] – zvislý
53. horizontal [ˌhɒrɪˈzɒnt ə l] – vodorovný
54. stripe [straɪp] – pruh, pás
55. bagpipes [ˈbægˌpaɪps] – gajdy
56. evidence [ˈevɪdəns] – dôkaz
57. shamrock [ˈʃæmˌrɒk] – trojlístok, symbol Írska
58. reign [reɪn] – panovať, vládnuť
59. govern [ˈgʌv ə n] – vládnuť , riadiť
60. playwright [ˈpleɪˌraɪt] – dramatik, autor divadelných hier
61. cross [krɒs] – kríž
62. shape [ʃeɪp] – tvar
63. due to [djuː tuː] – kvôli
64. north-west [nɔːθ west] – severozápad
65. strength [streŋθ] – sila

Northern Ireland

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