The City is a small area within the capital, known as the Square Mile
LONDON: England covers most of the central and southern two thirds of the island of Great Britain and is 209,331 square km2. Its highest mountain is Scafell Pike (978 metres), the largest lake is Lake Windermere (14.7km2) and its longest river is the Thames (346km) which flows through London. The capital city is London (also the capital of the UK). Here are more facts about England.
St George is the patron saint of England. His feast day is 23 April, which is also the date of playwright William Shakespeare’s death in 1616 and possibly his birth in 1564.
It is no surprise that many of the most visited attractions in England are museums and galleries. Most are free to visit: The British Museum in London is the most visited free attraction with more than 6.7 million visitors a year, followed by London’s National Gallery and the Natural History Museum.
The most visited paid-for attractions in England include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and London Zoo.
Outside London, the most popular sites in England include Stonehenge, the Roman Baths in Bath and the Eden Project in the south west, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the south east, Tatton Park and the Museum of Liverpool in the north west, Cadbury World in the West Midlands, Chatsworth House in the East Midlands and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
England was the world’s first industrialised country. It has been a successful trading nation for centuries and still plays a leading role in the global marketplace.
Key industries include banking and finance, steel, transport equipment, oil and gas, and tourism.
England’s major financial district is the City of London. The City is a small area within the capital, historically known as the Square Mile.
Public service broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), founded in 1922, is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation. Affectionately known as ‘The Beeb’ by many Brits, it is funded principally by an annual television licence payable by British householders. Many BBC television programmes are seen around the world.
Other industries include ceramics. In the West Midlands the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, collectively known as the Potteries, were the centre of the pottery industry in the 18th century. They are now enjoying a renaissance with internationally known brands such as Wedgwood, Doulton and Minton still in production, and (relatively) newer brands like Emma Bridgewater enjoying popularity in Britain and overseas.
Cultural highlights. Annual cultural highlights in England range from the BBC Proms, the world’s largest classical music festival with eight summer weeks of nightly concerts featuring traditional and modern classic music, to Glastonbury, the world’s largest greenfield festival which for five days at the end of June entertains a capacity crowd of 175,000 with every possible genre of contemporary music, mega-stars, theatre, comedy, and cabaret.
Like all of Britain, England has annual events of all sizes and for every possible taste and budget. The annual Hay Festival, on the border between England and Wales, hosts international writers and thinkers and was described by former American President Bill Clinton as ‘Woodstock of the Mind’, and is one of many literary festivals across the UK throughout the year. The Durham Miners’ Gala parades the brass bands and banners of the coal mining industry, preserving a tradition but giving it a new twist (Brassfest attracts bands of a variety of genres, from all across the world). Neolithic Stonehenge is popular all year round but especially at sunrise for the summer solstice. The May Day ‘Obby ‘Oss celebrations in Cornwall in the south west have attracted visitors for centuries.
Manchester vies with Birmingham for the title of England’s second city. The population of the city of Manchester in the north west of England is 514,414. However the Greater Manchester area which includes some towns has the second largest population (2.55 million) in the UK. Manchester has a rising international reputation for music, culture, food, shopping and nightlife. The world’s longest running television soap opera in production is Coronation Street. It has been made in Manchester by ITV since 1960. The BBC’s second largest media centre is in Manchester.
Birmingham. The population of the city of Birmingham in England’s West Midlands is estimated to be more than one million, making it the most populous city outside London. Its redeveloped city centre attracts tourists and international businesses.
The NEC exhibition centre just outside the city hosts more than 400 conferences and meetings a year and more than 140 trade and consumer shows. These include the Best of Britain tourism trade show and Crufts, the world’s largest dog show.
Birmingham has six universities which makes it the largest centre of education in the country outside London.