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The British Isles lying off the north-western coast of the continent of Europe are composed of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and a number of small islands. The official title of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. England, the southern and central part of the island, forms the main part of the entire country. Wales lies on the mountainous peninsula in the west. Politically Wales is a part of England and has no independent government. Scotland is in the northern part of the island. Its original inhabitants are of Celtic origin. In the past Scotland was an independent kingdom and up to the present time maintains certain autonomy. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom as an autonomous region with its own Parliament.

Great Britain is surrounded by water. It has an insular1 climate. The summers are cooler and the winters are warmer than in central Europe. The warm Gulf Stream2 washes the coasts of the British Isles and gives the country a mild climate. The climate on the continent is not so mild as that of England. The best season is spring. In the lovely month of May the weather is the finest.

The insular climate is also moister than the continental climate. It rains very often in England. In London, for instance, it rains more than a hundred and eighty days in the year, and in winter the brown London fog comes very often. The London fog "as thick as peasoup"3 is an extraordinary thing.


1) What parts does Great Britain consist of?

2) What are the main islands of Great Britain?

3) Which season is the best in England?

4) Does it often rain in England?


1. insular - островной

2. the Gulf Stream - Гольфстрим

3. "as thick as peasoup" - "густой, как гороховый суп"

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