• As part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“the UK”), England is a parliamentary democracy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. Its traditional industries – fishing, farming, mining, engineering, shipbuilding – are all in decline and business today is dominated by banking and finance, the media and technology, steel production, oil and gas, and tourism.

Bordered by Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, England is the largest country in Great Britain, occupying an area of 50,085 sq miles (129,720 sq km). The terrain is diverse, from plains to peaks, cliffs to beaches, though the superlatives are all modest on a world scale – the largest lake, Windermere, is 10 miles (16km) long, the highest mountain, Scafell, just 3205ft (978m) above sea level.

The population of nearly 52 million is dense for a country of its size, but settlement is concentrated in the southeast around London, and in the large industrial cities of the Midlands and the North.

This is one of the world’s most multiethnic countries, made up largely of people of Anglo-Saxon, Scots, Welsh and Irish descent, but with sizeable communities from the Caribbean, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

England features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The joys of winter walking in the Lake District

The joys of winter walking in the Lake District

The Lake District is Britain's newest UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country's most popular hiking destinations – but in winter it sees far fewer w…

20 Nov 2017 • Ben Lerwill local_activity Special feature
Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Podcast: the extraordinary life of Aboriginal storyteller Francis Firebrace

Cowboy, pirate, Aboriginal storyteller, artist, cultural educator, filmmaker, soft-porn photographer. Francis Firebrace, now 81, has certainly led an extraordin…

14 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

Podcast: adventures with the Natural Navigator

In a world where we rely so heavily on GPS to get from A to B, it's easy to tune out from the natural navigational clues that surround us. In this episode of…

07 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson volume_up Podcast
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook