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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
What is the difference between
UK, Britain, Great Britain (GB) and the British Isles?

England | Scotland | Wales | Britain | Great Britain
United Kingdom | Northern Ireland | British Isles

'When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles -
but never England.
' How to be an Alien' by George Mikes

Why is England or the UK sometimes called Britain?

"England" is sometimes, wrongly, used in reference to the whole United Kingdom, the entire island of Great Britain (or simply Britain), or indeed the British Isles. This is not only incorrect but can cause offence to people from other parts of the UK. (See nationality of the British people).

England, Scotland, Wales, Great Britain refer to different 'parts of the UK. The British Isles includes many islands not even part of the UK.

Great Britain
British Isles

The diverse history of England, Scotland and Wales has led to very different cultural traditions; The Scots and Welsh have right to feel aggrieved whenever the term 'English' is used wrongly, to mean all three.

Countries within a Country - The United Kingdom

The name United Kingdom refers to the union of what were once four separate countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is now independent, only Northern Ireland remains part of the UK).

The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom

The UK's full and official name is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

History of the making of the UK

1536 - Act of Union joins England and Wales

1707 - Act of Union unites Scotland and England, together with Wales to form the Kingdom of Great Britain

1801 - The Irish Parliament voted to join the Union. The then Kingdom of Great Britain becomes the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

1922 - Name changed to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, when most of the Southern counties in Ireland choose independence.


Britain comprises only England and Wales.
Find out why here

Great Britain

Great Britain comprises only England, Scotland and Wales.
Find out more about Great Britain

British Isles

The British Isles - made up of several islands. Great Britain is the largest one.
Find out more about the British Isles

During the next few pages we will explain the differences between Britain, Great Britain, the UK and England

Click here to find out more about the UK UK


EnglandQuestions about England

Why does England dominate the UK?

Where did the name England come from?


Great BritainQuestions about Great Britain

What is Great Britain?

Is Britain the same as Great Britain?

Which countries are in Great Britain?

Who gave Britain its name?

Find out about Great Britain


UKQuestions about the United Kingdom

Where is the UK?

What countries make up the UK?

What is the official title (name) of the UK?

Why is the whole of Ireland not part of the UK?

How and why was the UK formed?Find out about the UK


British IslesQuestions about the British Isles

What is the British Isles?

Find out about the British Isles


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All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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