The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland comprises the island of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland), together with smaller islands. The mainland lies between latitudes 49° and 59° N (the Shetland Islands reach to nearly 61° N), and longitudes 8° W to 2° E. The Royal Greenwich Observatory, near London, is the defining point of the Prime Meridian. The UK lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, and comes within 35 kilometres of the northwest coast of France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. Northern Ireland shares a 360-kilometre land boundary with Ireland. The Channel Tunnel ("Chunnel") now links the UK with France beneath the English Channel. The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 245,000 square kilometres.
England accounts for just over half of the total area of the UK, covering 130,410 square kilometres. Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, and mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees-Exe line. Mountain chains are found in the north-west (the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District), north (the upland moors of the Pennines and limestone hills of the Peak District) and south-west (Exmoor and Dartmoor). Lower ranges include the limestone hills of the Isle of Purbeck, Cotswolds and Lincolnshire Wolds, and the chalk downs of the Southern England Chalk Formation. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, the Severn and the Humber Estuary. England’s highest mountain is Scafell Pike, which is in the Lake District 978 metres.
Scotland accounts for about a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,789 square kilometres. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland’s mountainous terrain, including the highest peak, Ben Nevis, at 1,344 metres Lowland areas, the southern part of Scotland, are flatter and home to most of the population, especially the narrow waist of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, although Edinburgh is the capital and political centre of the country. Scotland also has nearly eight hundred islands, mainly west and north of the mainland, notably the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Island. Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,758 square kilometres. Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and Mid Wales. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and surrounding South Wales Valleys. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia, and include Snowdon, which, at 1,085 m, is the highest peak in Wales, Wales borders England to the east and the sea in the other three directions: the Bristol Channel to the south, St George’s Channel to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north. Wales has over 1,200 km of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Anglesey in the northwest.
Northern Ireland accounts for just 14,160 square kilometres and is mostly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh, at 388 square kilometres, the largest body of water in the UK and Ireland. The highest peak is Slieve Donard at 849 metres in the province’s Mourne Mountains. The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast.
longitude — долгота
latitude — широта
approximately — приблизительно
lowland terrain — равнинный рельеф, местность
the upland moors — гористая местность
limestone hills — известняковые холмы
estuaries — устья
rugged — неровный, скалистый
the firth — залив, лиман
the highest peak — самая высокая горная вершина