The official name of the country we usually call England and occasionally Great Britain is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The U. K. is situated on the group of islands lying just off the mainland of north-western Europe. The British Isles include Great Britain proper, Ireland and a number of smaller islands. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales. The southern part of Ireland is the Republic of Eire. Great Britain is separated from the continent by the English Channel, the narrower part of which is called the Strait of Dover. The British Isles are surrounded by the shallow waters of the Irish Sea and the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Britain is comparatively small, but there is hardly a country, in the world where such a variety of scenery can be found. There are wild desolate mountains in the northern Highlands of Scotland - the home of the deer and the eagle. The Pennine Range in northern England and the Cambrian Mountains in Wales are much lower. In the extreme south of England are the famous chalk hills, some of which form the Dover Cliffs. The southern and south-eastern parts of the island lie in varied lowlands. The rivers of the region are short and of no great importance as waterways. The longest of them is the "Father of London", the Thames, which is a little over 200 miles. Britain's principal ports are London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Glasgow. They have splendid harbours, for the coast line is very indented. Owing to the shape of the country, any point in Great Britain is no more than 70 miles from the sea. Naturally, it's made the English race a sea - loving one. The warm currents in the Atlantic Ocean influence the climate of Great Britain. The winters are not severely cold, while summers are rarely hot. The British Isles are well - watered throughout the year. The cloudiness is rather dense, well over half the days of the year are overcast - fogs along the coast frequently hide the sun. The fogs of London, often made severe by mixture with city smoke have a world - wide reputation, but the one not to be envied. Rivers in Great Britain are seldom frozen and generally ice-free. The grass remains green all the year round. Thanks to climatic conditions, Britain in truth looks like one great well-ordered park with its old trees, green meadows and hedges.