For those cruising around the British Isles and wondering what
exactly is the difference between the British Isles, Great Britain and the UK;
and where do the Isles of Mann and the Channel Isles fit in, this page is for
you. If you do not have a UK passport, then you have every right
to be confused. Most Brits only have a vague idea, and if
questioned couldn't give a clear answer. Like everything to do
with us, it is complicated and bound up in history. Hopefully
the articles linked below will help and put you in a good position for trivia
- This page from Heriot
Watt University gives a good guide.
- The Ordnance
Survey site gives "The difference between UK, Great Britain and
the British Isles".
Mandy Barrow answers "Why is England or the UK sometimes called
Britain?" and has nice diagrams.
wikipedia article has a nice Venn diagram.
There are lots of minor islands within the British Isles, which are
included within counties of the other countries, or sometimes are counties
in their own right. Some considerations are given below.
- Isle of
Wight is a county of England.
- Isles of
Scilly part of Cornwall but a separate local authority.
- Lundy part of
Devon but with their own stamps.
part of Scotland.
- Orkney or
The Orkney Islands but never the Orknies, also part
orginally Nordic but annexed by Scotland in 1471.
If Scotland cedes from England, Shetland could cede from
Scotland, although UK are unlikely to let go while the oil lasts.
- Fair Isle
part of Shetland between Shetland and Orkney.
- Rockall just a
rock, home to seabirds, but important for teritorrial waters.
part of the Hebrides, inhabited until 1930, it is the home of the St