The United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or
Britain, is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental
Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part
of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only
part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the
Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border the UK is surrounded by the
Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea.
England's long history and pervasive culture spread worldwide through the
English language and colonialism make England a popular tourist destination,
particularly in London.
Scotland is a well-developed tourist destination, with beautiful scenery which
has a long and complex history, combined with thousands of historic sites and
attractions. These include prehistoric stone circles, standing stones and burial
chambers, and various Bronze Age, Iron Age and Stone Age remains. There are also
many historic castles, houses, and battlegrounds, ruins and museums. Many people
are drawn by the culture of Scotland.
Wales' history and culture attract tourists. The Museum of Welsh Life, which
focuses largely on the industrial past of Wales, is currently the most popular
tourist attraction in Wales. The scars of the industrial revolution and Wales'
industrial heritage can still be seen on parts of the Welsh landscape today.
Many other places of historical interest attract large numbers of tourists: for
example the many castles, such as Caernarfon Castle and Caerphilly Castle - most
of them built to enable or to consolidate the English conquest of Wales, during
the reign of the English king Edward I.