|Name||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Capital & Largest city||London|
|Anthem||God Save the Queen|
|Population||65 million (rank: 22)|
|Population density||256 per sq. km / 662 per sq. mile (rank: 51)|
|Area||242,495 sq. km (rank: 78)|
|GDP(PPP)||$2.79 trillion (rank: 9)|
|GDP per capita||$42,514 (rank: 25)|
|Head of the Govt.||Prime Minister Ms. Theresa May|
|Head of the State||Queen Elizabeth II|
Today, there are 26 monarchies remain in the world with a fascinating network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors and emirs who rule or reign over 43 countries in all. Sixteen countries, including Canada and Australia, are still technically subjects of the British monarchy. At its zenith in the 18th century, the British Empire ruled a quarter of the world’s population.
The empire on which the sun never set
Amazing UK facts
Windsor Castle, an official residence of the British Monarch, is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It has been inhabited continuously for more than a thousand years. Current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is the 39th resident of the castle. The traditional State Banquet is held in St George's Hall, with a table seating up to 160 guests.
UK fun facts
British Library in London is the largest library in the world. It has more than 170 million items catalogued.
Cool UK facts
UK is not required to name itself on its postage stamps because it was the first country to issue them. The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It first was issued in Great Britain on 1 May 1840, for official use from 6 May of that year. It features a profile of Queen Victoria. Sir Rowland Hill proposed an adhesive stamp to indicate pre-payment of postage. At the time it was normal for the recipient to pay postage on delivery, charged by the sheet and on distance travelled. Penny Black allowed letters of up to half an ounce (14 grams) to be delivered at a flat rate of one penny, regardless of distance.
Birth place of stamp
Amazing UK facts
The first motorist ever to be charged by police for speeding was an Englishman, Walter Arnold, on the 28th January 1896. Arnold was spotted by a constable hurtling through the streets of Paddock Wood, Kent, at 8 mph, four times faster than the legal speed limit. In early 1896, the law mandated that you could drive up to 2 mph, and you had to have a person walking in front the car waving a red flag to alert the nervous pedestrians of your approach. Arnold sped through the town at 8 mph, with no flag-bearer walking in front of him. An astonished police constable mounted his bicycle and after a five-mile chase, Arnold was caught and fined a shilling for his reckless act
Caught speeding at 8 miles per hour
Interesting UK facts
All unmarked swans in open waters of Britain belong to the Queen. Every July, the royal family conducts a “Swan Upping” in which swans in the River Thames are caught, ringed, and set free again as part of census of the swan population. "Swan uppers" wear traditional uniforms and row up the River Thames in six skiffs accompanied by the Queen's Swan Marker. Long ago, swan meat was considered a delicacy, and it was served only at royal banquets. To prevent common folks from tasting the swan meat, Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans on open water.
Cool UK facts
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. The Tower has served variously as a royal residence, a prison, an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. Among the the 26,000 gems that are part of the Crown Jewels are the 530-carat Cullinan diamond and the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. Nazi officer Rudolf Hess was the last prisoner held in the Tower of London, for four days in 1941.
Home of the Crown Jewels
Interesting UK facts
The 1.5-mile journey from Westray to Papa Westray in the UK’s Orkney Islands is the shortest scheduled flight in the world. Flights on this route are scheduled for two minutes, and actual flying time is closer to one minute. The record for the fastest flight is 53 seconds.
One minute flight
Random UK facts
Queen Elizabeth II is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. As a British passport is issued in the name of His/Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for the reigning British Monarch to possess one. Driving licenses are issued in the Queen's name, yet she is the only person in the United Kingdom who doesn't legally need a license to drive or a number plate on her cars. Queen Elizabeth II is the only person to open two editions of Summer Olympic Games (1976 and 2012 Summer Olympics)
Cool UK facts
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest Ferris wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. Each of the wheel's 32 sealed and air-conditioned ovoidal passenger capsules represent one of the London Boroughs. The wheel rotates at 26 cm (10 in) per second so that one revolution takes about 30 minutes.
Bird's 'eye' view
Interesting UK facts
Loch Ness is the largest fresh water lake in UK by volume. It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. The top 100 feet of water in the Loch Ness alters temperature depending on the weather conditions but the rest of the water theis always at 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Loch Ness is thought by some to be the home of the Loch Ness Monster (also known as "Nessie"), a cryptid (a creature whose existence has been suggested but not yet proven), reputedly a large unknown animal. Speculation about the Loch Ness Monster began in 1933 when John Mackay and his wife spotted a creature in the middle of the loch as the drove past.
Cool UK facts
The Tower of London is keeper to the Royal Ravens. They are the most celebrated residents of the Tower of London today. There must be six ravens in residence at any one time by a Royal Decree put in place by Charles II. According to an old legend, if the birds should leave, the British Monarchy and the White Tower will crumble and fall. To be on the safe side, the Tower usually keep eight birds at all times. The wings of the ravens are clipped to prevent them from flying away.
Fun UK facts
Kate Middleton is an eighth cousin seven times removed to the first U.S. President George Washington and a thirteenth cousin once removed from American World War II hero General George Patton. When she married Prince William at age 29, Catherine Middleton became the oldest spinster ever to marry a future British king. She is also a distant cousin of her husband, Prince William.
Kate, the great
Amazing UK facts
The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is presented every year by the people of Oslo in gratitude for London’s assistance during World War II
The London Underground, first opened as an "underground railway" in 1863 and its first electrified underground line opened in 1890, making the London Underground the world's first metro system. The London subway, or the “Tube,” operates 409 escalators. Every week those escalators cover a distance equivalent to several trips around the globe
In March 1957, John Lennon, then aged sixteen, formed a skiffle group with several friends from Quarry Bank school. They briefly called themselves the Blackjacks, before changing their name to 'The Quarrymen' after discovering that a respected local group was already using the name, Blackjacks. Later Lennon teamed up with Paul McCartney and George Harrison and called their band 'Johnny and the Moondogs'. Later they changed their band's name to Silver Beetles as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Later they settled for the name 'Beatles' and became world famous with that name.
Until 1832, England only had two universities: Oxford and Cambridge. Until 1877, lecturers at Oxford University were not allowed to marry, and women were not granted degrees until 1920.
The famous stone London Bridge of “London Bridge is falling down” fame was eventually replaced by a stronger concrete version, and its original stones were taken to the United States and reassembled to make a bridge over a river in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
London Bridge is falling down
AM by GM
Guglielmo Marconi did not invent radio, but he was the first to invent a radio transmitter. When he could not find a buyer in Italy, he turned to England, his mother’s country, and on July 27, 1896, he gave the first-ever public demonstration of a radio. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909 and on July 21, 1937, the day of his funeral, radio transmitters went silent for two minutes in tribute.
God Save the King
The British coronation ceremony is over 1,000 years old. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror on Christmas Day in A.D. 1066, Westminster Abbey has been the setting. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was the first to be televised
Golf is Scotland’s national game. It was invented on the grounds of St. Andrews, and the earliest record of the game dates from 1457, when James II banned it because it interrupted his subjects’ archery practice. Mary, Queen of Scots, enjoyed golf and was berated in 1568 for playing so soon after the murder of her husband Lord Darnley
Queen Elizabeth II travels with her own toilet seat and feather pillows, and she is the only person in Britain who travels without a passport. She is also the only person for whom Harrods used to close its doors to the public for one day a year so she could do her Christmas shopping
Much Wenlock games
England’s Much Wenlock games, held annually since 1850, are based on the games of ancient Greece and were brainchild of the town’s local doctor William Penny Brookes. In 1890, Baron Pierre Coubertin visited the games and consulted Brookes extensively, before launching the modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Brookes was effectively left out of the story until 1994, when Juan Antonio Samaranch, then IOC president, visited Much Wenlock and paid tribute to Dr. Brookes as the “founder of the Modern Olympic Games
Fun UK Facts
British author E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Gray became the fastest-selling paperback ever.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is the first writer in the world to become a billionaire. The seven books have sold a total of 400 million copies in her native England and around the world and are published in 55 languages, including Latin and ancient Greek. Rowling is only one of five self-made female billionaires in the world
Probably built around 3000 B.C., Stonehenge has stood on England’s Salisbury Plain for more than 5,000 years and is older than the famous Great Pyramids of Egypt
Europe’s tallest building
Completed in 2012, London’s The Shard, at 1,107 feet (350 m), is Europe’s tallest building
Halloween is one of many traditions that have their roots in Scottish pagan tradition. On October 31, Halloween used to be celebrated as All Hallows, or All Saints’ Day. This was also an important date on the Celtic calendar, celebrated as Samhuinn (the Feast of the Dead), during which spirits are said to come back to haunt the living. On Halloween in Scotland today, trick-or-treating is called guising. Originally, the guisers had to sing or recite a poem to earn a reward or sweets
As per Scottish law, bride and groom do not need to get their parents’ consent at the age of 16, whereas in England, parental consent is required until one is 18
Nowhere in England is more than 75 miles (121 km) from the sea
Chicken tikka masala
The United Kingdom does not have a official national dish, but Chicken tikka masala is considered an unofficial national dish. In 2001, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook declared, "Chicken tikka masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences." He went on to explain that "Chicken tikka is an Indian dish. The masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy."
Big Ben does not refer to the famous clock, but actually to the bell. In 1945, a flock of birds landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and delayed time by 5 minutes, creating chaos for the punctual British.
Portugal is the oldest ally country of England. The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty was signed in 1373 and is still in force.
The United Kingdom is the only country in the world other than Iran to have unelected clergymen in the national legislature
Established in 1734, Bennett's of Irongate in Derby is the oldest department store in the world, pre-dating by over 100 years the first department stores in the USA, France or other parts of Britain. It is still trading in the original building.
The Slimbridge Wildlife & Wetlands Trust is the world's largest and most diversified wildfowl centre. It has the largest collection of swans, geese, and ducks on Earth, and is the only place where all six species of Flamingo can still be observed.
In 1841, Prince Albert introduced the first Christmas tree to UK from his native Germany, where the St. Nicholas story had long been assimilated to old Norse and Teutonic legends
United Kingdom is one of the five countries with no written (uncodified) constitution. (Israel, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Canada are the other four)
William the Conqueror ordered everyone to be in their beds by 8 pm. United Kingdom is the only country in the world with four national soccer teams - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The highest point is Ben Navis at 1,343 m and the lowest point is -4m at The Fens.
Early to bed...