The UK is situated north-west of the European continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. It has a total land area of 244,100 square kilometres, of which nearly 99% is land and the remainder inland water. From north to south it is about 1,000 kilometres long.
The UK part of Europe and is a member of the European Union (EU).
Click here to find out about the Geography of the UK
The official name of the UK is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
The name refers to the union of what were once four separate nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent. Only Northern Ireland is part of the UK now).
England, Scotland and Wales together form Great Britain.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland together form the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (UK)
The capital of the UK is London.
Interactive Map of the UK
Before 1922 the UK included Ireland in the definition, but when the Irish Free State ceased to be part of the Union the title changed to include 'Northern Ireland'.
The United Kingdom (UK) was formed in on January 1, 1801 and constitutes the greater part of the British Isles.
People in the UK are called British although they have different nationalities.
Find out more
The Union Flag, popularly known as the Union Jack, symbolises the union of the countries of the UK. It is made up of the individual flags of three countries in the Kingdom. Read more
The present Union Flag (Union Jack) represented the political union of three kingdoms
- Scotland and
- Ireland (now only Northern Ireland)
The story of how the UK was formed can be told through the making of the Union Flag, the flag of the United Kingdom.
Visit our Making of the Union Flag pages
Other pages about the UK
Quick facts about the UK | Geography of the UK
England | Scotland | Wales | Northern Ireland
England | Scotland | Wales
Great Britain | United Kingdom | British Isles
The British Isles
What is the British Isles?
Questions about Great Britain
What is Great Britain?
Is Britain the same as Great Britain?
Which countries are in Great Britain?
Questions about England
Why does England dominate the UK?