UK | Indiana Jo

Native to the UK, the first country I ever explored was my own. In this section you’ll find all my travel tips for visiting the UK.

For a such a small area geographically, the UK can be surprisingly complicated to get a handle on. For instance, do you know the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the separate countries within it?

Probably not. And you’d be forgiven because the geography of the British Isles is complicated. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you plan your trip to the UK and beyond.

Great Britain refers to the main land mass that includes England, Scotland and Wales – yes, bring your GBP.

The United Kingdom is the political, sovereign state which, just to keep you confused, is actually four countries together – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. You’ll need your Great British Pound when you visit. Scotland also has its own form of pound – of course it does. You can spend it freely in the rest of the UK and don’t let any pernickety shop keepers tell you otherwise.

The British Isles is broader again. It is also just a geographical reference and includes: England, Scotland, Wales and the outlying islands off the coast including the Isle of Man (west), The Channel Islands (south), The Scilly Isles (north) and a bunch more that I won’t list.

The British Isles also includes all of Ireland, both Northern Ireland (where you’ll find Belfast) and the Republic of Ireland, in the south (where Dublin is located).

Ireland is a bit complicated in that way, the Northern half being part of the United Kingdom (bring your GBP) and the southern half, the Republic of Ireland, being part of Europe (bring your Euro).

Just to be absurdly confusing, on this blog, I’ve included all of Ireland together because as travel research goes, it’s likely you’ll want to check out the north and south of Ireland on the same trip.

Exhausted? Confused? Maybe it’s time for a gin and tonic or a pint of Guinness – two of the things the Great British Isles are famous for. Just don’t drink too much – you’ll want to keep a clear mind for when you’re driving on the other side of the road.