There are a lot of places of interest in London. Among them are: Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge, the Tower of London.
WESTMINSTER, now the political centre of London, was until the 11-th century a sacred place. King Edward the Confessor decided to build a great abbey thurch here. It was consecrated in 1065, but a week later the King died and was buried in the abbey. His tomb became a popular place of pilgrimage. It still can be found at the heart of the present Westminster Abbey. William the Conqueror was crowned in the Abbey and since then all Coronations have taken place here. The Abbey contains many royal tombs, memorials to eminent men and women. But the most popular ones are those to writers, actors and musicians in Poets' Corner.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is situated in the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244, 000 (two hundred and forty four thousand) square kilometers.
At present the British royal family is headed by Queen Elizabeth. When the Queen was born on the 21st of April 1926, her grandfather, King George V, was on the throne and her uncle was his heir. The death of her grandfather and the abdication of her uncle brought her father to the throne as King George VI.
As a child she studied constitutional history and law as well as art and music. In addition she learned to ride and acquired her enthusiasm for horses. As she grew older she began to take part in public life, making her first broadcast at the age of 14.
The marriage of the young Princess Elizabeth to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took place in November 1947. She came to the throne after her father's death in 1952 and was crowned in Westminster Abbey in June 1953.
Many centuries ago the islands were inhabited by Celts. Their tribes were developing into kingdoms when Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C. The Roman invasion began in AD 43, and in the Romans withdrew in 407. The tribes of Angles and Saxons crossed the Channel and overran all England except Cornwall and Wales. Christianity was introduced in the 6th century by missionaries from Rome.
Most of England was already unified in 1066, when it was conquered by William, the duke of Normandy. Through its medieval history England, which started the attempts to conquer other countries on British Isles, was most closely connected with France; the kings of England used to own large parts of it and several times declared themselves kings of France.
Another important heritage of Middle Ages in England was its parliament. Since 13th century nobles and knights used it to make the king respect their wishes and to participate in the running of the country.
The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and the warm waters of Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round, though notoriously unstable — not for nothing the weather is considered the most popular topic of English conversation. But the climate is not the same in all parts of England. The western part of England is warmer than the eastern and it also has more rain. There is much humidity in the air of England. It is well known as a foggy country, and more than half the days in a year are overcast.
The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands. The north and the west of England have rugged hills and low mountains, but all the rest — east, centre and south-east — is a vast plain. The mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain (1343 m), and the Fens in East Anglia are 4 m below the level of the sea.