Essential Info for the United Kingdom
Population: Over 64 million
Capital city: London (also the largest city)
Other major cities: Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh, Manchester
Neighbouring countries: The UK shares a land border with Ireland. It is separated from France by the British Channel. Other neighbouring countries include Belgium, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Geography: The UK is located off the north-western cost of continental Europe. The majority of the UK is split across two islands - the island of Great Britain and the north-estern part of the Island of Ireland. There are also a number smaller surrounding islands that make up the British Isles archipelago.
Major religions: Christianity
Political system: The UK is a Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy. The Monarch is the Head of State and the Prime Minister of the UK is the Head of Government. Executive power is exercised by the Government and by the consent of the Monarch as well as the devolved Governments of Scotland and Wales, and the Northern Ireland Executive.
Main languages: English
Money: The currency of the UK is the British Pound Sterling (GBP) which is subdivided into 100 pence. In order to open a bank account in the UK, most banks require proof of income and employment, evidence of a local address and a passport.
Tipping: 10 to 15 percent of the bill in restaurants, hotels and taxis is the norm if a service charge has not already been added.
Time: GMT (GMT+1 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.)
Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Flat three-pin plugs are standard.
Internet domain: .uk
International dialling code: +44
Emergency contacts: The emergency number for the UK is 999 but the general emergency number for Europe (112) can also be used. Both of these numbers connect to an operator who will ask the caller which service they require - namely ambulance, fire, police or coast guard. The emergency services in the UK are generally well qualified and quick to respond in an emergency.
Transport and driving: Drive on the left-hand side. There is a variety of public transport options available in the UK. There is a vast train and long-distance bus network which enables people to travel across the country. Within individual cities, buses are probably the most common form of transportation although trams are present in certain cities like Manchester and parts of London. London has an extensive tube network which provides the fastest way of travelling across the city while avoiding traffic. Most major cities in the UK such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool have domestic airports and there are numerous flights connecting these cities daily.