TRAVEL CAPSULE GEOGRAPHY
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lies off the northwest coast of the European Continent, separated from it by the English Channel, the Strait of Dover, and the North Sea. At the closest point, England is only 35 kilometers (22 mi.) from France. Its capital and largest city is London, with a population in 1979 of about 6.9 million.
Scotland is north of England. Its Lowlands, about 97 kilometers (60 mi.) wide, divide the farming region of the southern Uplands from the granite Highlands of the north. Edinburgh (pop. 470,000) is Scotland’s capital. Glasgow (881,000), one of the United Kingdom’s great industrial centers, is Scotland’s largest city.
Wales borders England to the west and is almost entirely hilly and mountainous. Its largest city is Cardiff (284,000).
Northern Ireland occupies the northeast corner of Ireland across the North Channel from Scotland and is primarily industrial. Its capital and largest city, Belfast, has an estimated population of 368,000.
Because of prevailing southwesterly winds, the climate of the United Kingdom is temperate and equable. Temperatures range from a mean of about 5°C (40 °F) in winter to about 16 °C (60 °F) in summer. Average annual rainfall is 80-102 centimeters (35-40 in.), distributed relatively evenly throughout the year.