Listen and read more about Great Britain.


The climate of the British Isles is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Winters are not so cold as they can be on the continent, but summers are not so warm as they usually are on the other side of the Channel. In other words Great Britain has a mild climate. England is famous for its beautiful lawns with flowers. They stay green all the year round. Many people say that England looks like a large well-kept park.

The animals of the British Isles look like those of north-western Europe: foxes, squirrels, hares, etc. There are about 430 kinds of birds, many of them are song-birds. The most popular hobby of Englishmen is bird-watching.

People mainly live in cities and towns. The country's industry is highly developed and output of goods is larger than is needed for home use. Therefore, a great part of the industrial output is exported. The large industrial centers are Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool.

Britain has only 1% of the world's population but is the fifth largest trading nation. It exports electrical and electronic equipment and chemicals and oil.

London is the capital. It is situated on the Thames.

The most famous older buildings in London include Buckingham Palace (the Sovereign's residence in London), the Houses of Parliament (an outstanding example of nineteenth-century Gothic Revival architecture), St. Paul's Cathedral (the second largest church in Europe), Westminster Abbey (where Sovereigns are crowned), and the Tower of London.

London is a leading art center with many theatres, galleries, museums and concert halls. The Globe Theatre, with which Shakespeare was closely associated, is being reconstructed in London. The first passenger-carrying Underground railway in the world was opened in London in 1863. Recently the Channel Tunnel which links France and England has been built.

Great Britain is a monarchy, but the Queen is not absolute but constitutional. Her powers are limited by Parliament. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the Party that has a majority in the House of Commons. The largest political parties are the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Elections, in which citizens over 18 may vote, are held every five years. Since 1973, Britain has been a member of the European Community.

People often say that the Englishman's home is his castle. They mean that the home is very important and personal. Most people in Britain live in houses rather than flats. Most houses have a garden.

An Englishman's idea of a good breakfast is the following: cereal with milk, bacon and eggs or fish, hot buttered toast with jam or marmalade and a cup of coffee or strong tea with milk. English people drink a lot of tea. Some have tea for breakfast, tea in the middle of the morning, tea after dinner, tea in the middle of the afternoon, tea at tea-time and tea with supper. The English always drink tea out of cups or mugs, never out of glasses. Englishmen always eat bread with their soup. With meat and vegetables they never eat any bread.

Sports and games are very popular in England. Football, tennis and cricket matches as well as boat and horse races always attract many people. Football is the most spectacular sport. Walking is the most popular


English people like to spend their holidays on the coast. Lots of them go to holiday camps.

Let us remember the famous Englishmen who contributed to the world of art: architect Christopher Wren; scientist Alexander Fleming (who discovered penicillin); artists Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, William Turner; writers and poets William Shakespeare, George Byron, Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie. Nine Noble Prizes for literature have been won by Britons including R. Kipling (1907), T. S. Eliot (1948) and W. Golding (1983).

Please answer the questions.


1) What's the official name for the main country of the English language?

2) What parts does the United Kingdom consist of?

3) What is London famous for?

4) What are the most important industrial centers in Britain?

5) When did Britain join the European Community: 1943, 1955, 1973 or 1995?

6) At what age may citizens vote in Britain: 16, 17, 18 or 21?

7) Which one of the following sports and pastimes attracts the largest number of participants in Britain: football, swimming, cricket, walking, rugby?

8) Which is the largest spectator sport in Britain?

9) Do most people in Britain own their homes?

10) Which two countries does the Channel Tunnel link up?


18. You are going to visit England for a week. What are you planning to see?

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