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Miscellaneous UK and Ireland Travel Basics

England was populated in prehistoric times and many burial tombs, stone circles and hill forts remain. The Roman conquest of Britain started in 43AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius. They built roads, towns and villas in the countryside and the remains of many have been preserved. The medieval history is everywhere, in the castles and historic houses. The industrial revolution also left sites that are interesting to explore today.

Designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) preserve the countryside and historic villages, National Parks preserve wilderness areas and organizations like the National Trust and English Heritage preserve the historic buildings.

There is more to see in England than just London. We hope these travel articles will inspire you to get out into the English countryside.

Popular areas to visit: The Cotswolds in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, Devon and Cornwall in the southwest, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain - What's What?
Why are there so many names for the UK?

The United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain - what do you call that cluster of islands west of northern Europe?

The United Kingdom (UK), full name "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", is one sovereign country made up of four constituent countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The British Isles is a group of islands consisting of the islands of Ireland and Great Britain and their outlying islands. The countries of Ireland and the United Kingdom are in the British Isles.

Great Britain (GB) and Britain are commonly used to refer to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the island of Great Britain. Technically these terms refer to the island in the United Kingdom that contains England, Wales, Scotland.

The island of Ireland contains the country of Ireland and the country of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The country of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom.

Wikipedia - Terminology of the British Isles: This article explains this all in more depth.

Regions and Counties of the United Kingdom and Ireland
How we group our travel articles by area

The United Kingdom is made up four countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and these countries are made up of counties which are grouped into official regions. We list our articles for England by the regions listed below.



North West
- Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside

North East - Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the area of the former county of Cleveland in North Yorkshire

Yorkshire (and the Humber) - Yorkshire (the administrative areas of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Yorkshire and the City of York), as well as North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire

West Midlands - Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire

East Midlands - Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire (except North and North East Lincolnshire), Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland

East of England - Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk

Cotswolds - not an official region, but a popular tourist area mostly in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

South West - Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly

South East - Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex

Read more on Wikipedia - Regions of England.

We group the rest of the UK and Ireland by country.

Scotland - includes all counties in Scotland

Wales - includes all counties in Wales

Northern Ireland - includes all counties in Northern Ireland

Ireland - not part of the United Kingdom but we put it in this section.

See maps for regions of each country at the bottom of this page.

Maps of the Regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland


Counties of England


Counties of Wales


Counties of Scotland


Counties of Northern Ireland and Ireland
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But note in that Wikipedia article:

"Britain is a political and geographic term which can refer to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,[14] or the island of Great Britain."

In the media, particularly in the U.S., I see Britain used as synonymous with the U.K., such as this in today's New York Times:

Existing European Union insurance policies should stay in place after Britain leaves the bloc because the process of dividing them into British and EU contracts would be too complex, Lloyd's of London Chief Executive Inga Beale said.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market, which started life in Edward Lloyd's' coffee house in 1688, derives around 14 percent of its business from Europe excluding Britain.
When the NYT lists currency exchange rates, I think they say "Britain (Pound)."
It is so confusing! I am not sure what letters sent to me from the US should list for country!

I updated it to:

Great Britain (GB) and Britain are commonly used to refer to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the island of Great Britain. Technically these terms refer to the island in the United Kingdom that contains England, Wales, Scotland.

I'm not sure that last sentence is accurate.
I'm hoping that people in the U.K. or otherwise more familiar with the matter will weigh in: I'm taking it that the preferred usage is Great Britain for the one island, and Britain to be more synonymous with the full U.K.

I had a discussion in SlowTrav on the matter, and was directed to this video, which may tell you more than you want:
View: https://www.youtube.com/v/rNu8XDBSn10
Today I tackled organizing our resources (travel notes) for the UK and Ireland. Originally I pre-fixed them by county, but there are way too many counties, so I set up pre-fixes for the official regions instead. I listed these in this resource which I set to always be listed at the top of the UK and Ireland resources.

I updated all our resources to have the correct region. Hopefully this will let us find information more easily. @Eleanor , could you check them over since you have contributed the most resources to this section? Thanks!
@Pauline They are all correct, apart from Owston Ferry and Barton on Humber which are both in North Lincolnshire and should therefore be East Midlands. North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire were originally part of Humberside. When that broke up they returned to being part of the East Midlands. Locals can get upset when they are described as being in Yorkshire!

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