and Northern Ireland
, a town
is traditionally any settlement which has received a charter of incorporation, more commonly known as a town charter
, approved by the monarch
. In Scotland
, the equivalent is known as a burgh
(pronounced /ˈbʌʀə/). There are two types of burgh: royal burghs
and burghs of barony.
The Local Government Act 1972 allows civil parishes in England and Wales to resolve themselves to be Town Councils, under section (245 subsection 6), which also gives the chairman of such parishes the title 'town mayor'. Many former urban districts and municipal boroughs have such a status, along with other settlements with no prior town status.
In more modern times it is often considered that a town becomes a city (or a village becomes a town) as soon as it reaches a certain population, although this is an informal definition and no particular numbers are agreed upon.
The cultural importance placed on charters remains, and it is not an unusual event for towns across the UK to celebrate their charter in an annual Charter Day (normally a fair or medieval market).
The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the United Kingdom, but are included here for convenience.
Lists of towns in the UK