People often make the error of thinking that England covers the entire land mass of the United Kingdom, but this isn’t true. England’s borders are with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. England is a large part of the United Kingdom; it comprises the central and southern parts of the island. England is also the most populated country in all of the United Kingdom, boasting approximately 53 million inhabitants. This makes England’s population over 80% of the population of the whole United Kingdom. It is the fourth largest country (by population) in the European Union and the 25th most populous country in the entire world. Much of England’s population is centered on its capital, London.
One of the most recognizable traits of England is its climate; it rarely goes below freezing there during the winter months (It is coldest in January and February), and it rarely goes above 32°C (90°F) during the summer months. Those who have lived there for a long time are used to the damp, rainy, and often changing weather. If you’ve seen movies that are set in England, you will note that it is often raining in those movies; you’d be surprised to know that that is quite accurate, especially if you live near the western border or in the Lake District! Rainfall can happen even during the coldest months of winter; snow is rare but it has been known to happen.
English people are a subset of the British people. They live on the island of Great Britain, which is part of the United Kingdom. The national language of England is, in fact, English. Most English (up to 95% by some estimates) are of an Anglo-Saxon genetic line, with some Norse and Germanic influences as well. Even though most people of English heritage live in England, there are also English found in countries that used to be British colonies. You can find people of English heritage in Australia, the United States, Canada, Australia, some South American Countries, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Many people enjoy going to England because of its rich history and because there is so much to do! On this site, you can check out some of the great things to do in England while studying there, but if you’re into history, this is the place to go. It’s perceived that their lives are much simpler than those in other countries (like the United States). If you want some great food, like bangers and mash, hot buttered crumpets, and Cornish pasties, then England is a good place to visit as well. And who doesn’t love tea time? All in all, people enjoy the overall atmosphere of England, which is why a lot of students decide to do either their undergraduate or their postgraduate studies in England.
England’s topography is not varied like some of its European Union counterparts. Most of the country’s terrain, especially if you visit the southern and central regions of the country, is comprised of low hills and plains. There are a couple places (the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales in the north and some of the southwestern areas) that have highlands, but they are not very common, or very high in comparison to what you will see on the European mainland.
Did you know that the original capital of England was not London? It’s true! The capital of England was actually Winchester until 1066 AD. London has grown exponentially, especially in the modern era, and it is now the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and all of the European Union. Many people who come to England go because they want to go to London; there are several popular universities that you may attend in London if you decide to go there. London is the center stage for many stories and tales about the country of England, and is, perhaps, the most well-known region of the country.
England was a sovereign state until 1707 AD (it included Wales for much of that), when it united with Scotland to create what was called the Kingdom of Great Britain. Then, less than 100 years later (1801), it united with Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, the Free State of Ireland broke off, but in 1927, Northern Ireland came back under the pact. This is what we now know as the United Kingdom (technically called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). As you can tell, the history of the modern United Kingdom is a bit scattered and it has taken hundreds of years to come to the point that it is at currently. The United Kingdom has a set up similar to the United States – it’s an overarching government (a constitutional monarchy), but instead of having “states,” they have individual countries, one of which is England.
England is further subdivided for the purposes of local governments. Local government is split into several levels. The highest level of local government used to be divided by region and run by elected officials until 2011, when those regional offices were abolished. The boundaries set by those regions are still used for electing members of Parliament, but not for much else. The current local government in England is run by the 48 ceremonial counties, each run by a Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, which represent the monarchy in each region. There are also local governments in the 83 traditional counties that may or may not be districted, depending on population. London is also separated into boroughs for local governance.
Each region of England is famous for different things. Here’s a quick look at each of them.
In the southwestern part of England, you will find Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire, Dorset, and Devon counties. Most of the southwest is on a peninsula, defined by moorlands and rocky outcrop. Many people who visit England will go to Cornwall because of its beaches – it’s known for surfing! The houses you will see in this region have rustic thatched roofs and are quite quaint. You can also find Stonehenge in this region. You will find some farming here, but most of their economy is textiles.
The southeastern part of England consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Kent, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Oxfordshire, East Sussex, and West Sussex counties, and London itself. Most of the southeastern part of England is lowlands with some scattered small hills. Much of this region is considered part of London’s metropolitan area, and this is the most populated region in all of England. It includes many of the well-known towns and areas of England, including Canterbury, Newhaven, Portsmouth, and the second largest city in the region, Oxford. Oxford is, of course, the home of Oxford University, one of the largest and most well-known universities in England (and some believe, in the entire world).
Eastern England is incredibly flat, which is why it is the home of two of London’s major airports. The flat terrain is ideal for runways and airplane control towers. This region holds Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk counties. This is the area where you will find Cambridge and Norwich, both of which are excellent places for tourists to go and for students to study. Cambridge is almost as well known as Oxford and provides incredibly high education as well. Much of this region is on the shoreline, so you will find lots of places to fish and to obtain fresh fish as well. As you would assume, fishing and importing/exporting goods are the primary economic trades of this region.
Northern England, which consists of Yorkshire and the Humber, has the most varied landscape in England. The Pennines Mountains are located in this region. There are also several large streams and waterfalls, and much of the landscape has rolling hills and moors. Farming, engineering, and textile production are the most common industries you will find in this region.
As you move to the northwest, you’ll find plains and wide open spaces. The Lake District is located in this region, as are Manchester and Liverpool- both famous cities and ports. Much of the rest of the landscape is used as farmland for cattle and sheep. You will also find veterinarians and other professionals that work with animals that have practices in this region.
The Midlands region has low –laying plains on its eastern region, and valleys, rugged hills, peat bogs and moors on its western portion. The Eastern side boasts Lincoln, Nottingham, Bedford, Ely, and Northampton, whereas the western holds Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon (birthplace of Shakespeare). These two regions hold a myriad of different industries and multiple types of farming. The Midlands region is known
As you can see, England is one of the most interesting places in the world to live and study. The different areas of England, although they don’t differ much in terms of geography and topography, differ greatly in terms of culture and history. You can learn a lot from taking a year or more to study in England, so you should definitely consider it. Interested? Continue to browse this site and you can find more information about what your life may look like if you decide to study in England.
Would you like more information about England (and other parts of the United Kingdom)? More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/.