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England's location in the United Kingdom and Europe.
A view of Borrowdale from Grayrigg Forest in the Lake District.
The rolling terrain of the North York Moors

England comprises the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, in addition to a number of small islands of which the largest is the Isle of Wight. England is bordered to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. It is closer to continental Europe than any other part of mainland Britain, divided from France only by a 24-statute mile (52 km or 28.1 nmi)[1] sea gap. The Channel Tunnel, near Folkestone, directly links England to mainland Europe. The English/French border is halfway along the tunnel.[2]

Much of England consists of rolling hills, but it is generally more mountainous in the north with a chain of mountains, the Pennines, dividing east and west. Other hilly areas in the north and Midlands are the Lake District, the North York Moors, and the Peak District. The approximate dividing line between terrain types is often indicated by the Tees-Exe line. To the south of that line, there are larger areas of flatter land, including East Anglia and the Fens, although hilly areas include the Cotswolds, the Chilterns, and the North and South Downs.

The largest natural harbour in England is at Poole, on the south-central coast. Some regard it as the second largest harbour in the world, after Sydney, Australia, although this fact is disputed (see harbours for a list of other large natural harbours).



England has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round, although the seasons are quite variable in temperature. However, temperatures rarely fall below −5 °C (23 °F) or rise above 30 °C (86 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west, bringing mild and wet weather to England regularly from the Atlantic Ocean. It is driest in the east and warmest in the south, which is closest to the European mainland. Snowfall can occur in winter and early spring, although it is not that common away from high ground.

The highest temperature recorded in England is 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on 10 August 2003 at Brogdale, near Faversham, in Kent.[3] The lowest temperature recorded in England is −26.1 °C (−15.0 °F) on 10 January 1982 at Edgmond, near Ribble, Ouse, Mersey, Dee, Aire, Avon and Medway.

The Severn is the longest English River, with the Thames and Trent second and third respectively.

River Length (miles) (km)
1 River Severn 220 354
2 River Thames 215 346
3 River Trent 185 297

Major towns and cities

London is by far the largest urban area in England and one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. Other cities, mainly in central and northern England, are of substantial size and influence. The list of England's largest cities or urban areas is open to debate because, although the normal meaning of city is "a continuously built-up urban area", this can be hard to define, particularly because administrative areas in England often do not correspond with the limits of urban development, and many towns and cities have, over the centuries, grown to form complex urban agglomerations.[4][5] For the official definition of a UK (and therefore English) city, see City status in the United Kingdom.

According to the ONS urban area populations for continuous built-up areas, these are the 15 largest conurbations (population figures from the 2001 census):

Rank Urban Area[6] Population

(2001 Census)

Localities Major localities
1 Greater London Urban Area 8,278,251 67 Croydon, Barnet, Ealing, Bromley
2 West Midlands Urban Area 2,284,093 22 Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall
3 Greater Manchester Urban Area 2,240,230 57 Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham
4 West Yorkshire Urban Area 1,499,465 26 Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield
5 Tyneside 879,996 25 Newcastle upon Tyne, North Shields, South Shields, Gateshead, Jarrow
6 Liverpool Urban Area 816,216 8 Liverpool, St Helens, Bootle, Huyton-with-Roby
7 Nottingham Urban Area 666,358 15 Nottingham, Beeston and Stapleford, Carlton, Long Eaton
8 Sheffield Urban Area 640,720 7 Sheffield, Rotherham, Chapeltown, Mosborough/Highlane
9 Bristol Urban Area 551,066 7 Bristol, Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford
10 Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton 461,181 10 Brighton, Worthing, Hove, Littlehampton, Shoreham, Lancing
11 Portsmouth Urban Area 442,252 7 Portsmouth, Gosport, Waterlooville, Fareham
12 Leicester Urban Area 441,213 12 Leicester, Wigston, Oadby, Birstall
13 Bournemouth Urban Area 383,713 5 Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, New Milton
14 Reading/Wokingham Urban Area 369,804 5 Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham, Crowthorne
15 Teesside 365,323 7 Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Billingham
The City of Manchester
The City of Birmingham
City of Leeds
The City of Liverpool
A view of Sheffield, one of England's largest cities

The largest cities in England are as follows (in alphabetical order):

Land use

The total land area of England is 12,972,000 hectares. Crops and fallow land accounts for 30 per cent of the land area, grasses and rough grazing 36 per cent, other agricultural land 5 per cent, forest and woodland 8 per cent, and urban development 21 per cent.[7]

See also


  1. ^  – UK History
  2. ^ "TravelBritain  – Kent".  
  3. ^ Temperature record changes hands BBC News, 30 September 2003. Retrieved 12 September 2006.
  4. ^ "Religious centres recover city status", The Guardian, 8 July 1994.
  5. ^ Patrick O'Leary, "Derby's long road to city status", The Times, 29 July 1977, p.14
  6. ^ Pointer, Graham (2005). "The UK’s major urban areas". Focus on People and Migration. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2009-06-06.  
  7. ^ UK 2005. The Official Yearbook of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.. London: The Stationery Office. 2004. pp. 279. ISBN 0 11 621738 3.  


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