The UK is the second largest economy in Europe and one of the largest economies in the world, and is a major source of foreign investment, as well as a major destination for overseas capital. London is one of the financial services capitals of the world, and industries such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals are also important for the economy. The UK also produces oil and gas in the North Sea. Its currency, the pound sterling, is one of the most important currencies in the world, and the third-largest reserve currency after the US dollar and the euro. The UK is truly one of the big players of the world economy.
The UK is served exceptionally well by an excellent transport infrastructure. There is an extensive road system and a high-quality motorway network. There is also an extensive rail network, which is linked to continental European cities such as Brussels and Paris via the channel tunnel. There are a large number of airports including several major international airports, the largest of which are London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester airports. It is possible to fly almost anywhere in the world from England. British Airways and easyJet are the two main carriers in the UK. The major cities are well served by bus systems, commuter and underground rail systems, taxis and trams.
Each of the constituent parts of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have their own education systems. All have early years, primary, secondary, further and higher education. The UK has a highly-regarded educational system that has been emulated in numerous countries. Education is compulsory for students until the age of 16 and there is the option of public schooling or private schooling. The UK is home to a large number of top-ranked universities. In London, there is the London School of Economics, Imperial College London, King’s College London and University College London, while outside London there is the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Manchester. There are also numerous other universities and colleges, so there are plenty of third level options to choose from.