What Are the Physical Features of the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland is on two main islands and smaller islands off Europe’s coast between the North Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The English Channel to the east and south separates England and northwest Europe.

The U.K. is 94,058 square miles, about the same area as the state of Oregon. The coastline is 7,723 miles. No part of the United Kingdom is farther than 77 miles from the coast.

Much of the surface of the U.K. consists of rugged hills and low mountains. There are also flat and gently rolling plains in the east and southeast. Ben Nevis Mountain in Scotland is the highest point at 4,406 feet. The lowest point at about 13 feet below sea level is in eastern England in the Fens, reclaimed marshland of about 15,500 square miles.

Arable or cultivable land comprises 24.8 percent of the U.K., but only 0.18 percent has permanent crops. About 880 square miles of land is irrigated. Natural lands and other land use account for 74.93 percent.

The Republic of Ireland encompasses only the northern part of the island of Ireland, which is west of the island that incorporates England, Scotland and Wales.