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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244.000 square kilometers.
The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals arc London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ire­land. But in every day speech 'Great Britain' is used to mean the United Kingdom. The capital of the UK is London.
The British Isles are separated from the European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of Great-Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The surface of the British Isles vanes very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Low­lands. The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest - east, centre and south-east is a vast plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain (1343m).
There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.
The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round..
The UK is a highly developed industrial country. It is known as one of the world's largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy. In law, the Head of State is the Queen. In practice, the Queen reigns, but does not rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime Min­ister at the head. The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties.

1. Выберите вопрос, на который нет ответа в тексте.
a) What channel separates the British Isles from the Euro­pean continent?
b) Why does the British Parliament consist of two cham­bers?
c) What countries is the UK made of?
d) Why is the climate of the British Isles mild?

London is the capital of Great Britain, its political, eco­nomic and commercial centre. It is one of the largest cities in the world and the largest city in Europe. Its population is about 8 mil­lion.
London is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in the world. Traditionally it is divided into several parts: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End. They are very different from each other and seem to belong to different towns and ep­ochs.
The heart of London is the City, its Financial and business centre. Numerous banks, offices and firms are situated there, in­cluding the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and the Old Bailey. Few people live here, but over a million people come to the City to work. There are some famous ancient buildings within the City. Perhaps the most striking of them is St Paul's Cathedral, the great­est of English churches. It was built in the 17th century by Sir Chris­topher Wren. The Tower of London was founded by Julius Caesar and in 1066 rebuilt by William the Conqueror. It was used as a fortress, a royal palace and a prison. Now it is a museum.
Westminster is the historic, the governmental part of Lon­don.
Westminster Abbey has more historic associations than any other building in Britain. Nearly all English kings and queens have been crowned here. Many outstanding statesmen, scientists, writ­ers, poets and painters are buried here: Newton, Darwin, Chaucer, Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling, etc.
Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, or the Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British Parlia­ment. The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big hour bell, known as "Big Ben".
Buckingham Palate is the official residence of the Queen.
The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of Lon­don. It is the symbol of wealth and luxury. The best hotels, shops, restaurants, clubs, and theatres are situated there. There are splen­did housed and lovely gardens belonging to wealthy people.
Trafalgar Square is the geographical centre of London. It was named in memory of Admiral Nelson's victory in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The tall Nelson's Column stands in the middle of the square.
On the north side of Trafalgar Square is the National Gal­lery and the National Portrait Gallery. Not far away is the British Museum - the biggest museum in London. It contains a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc., and is famous for its library.
The East End is the poorest district of London. There are a lot of factories, workshops and docks here. The streets are narrow, the buildings are unimpressive. The East End is densely populated by working class families.

Answer the question:

1. Traditionally London is divided into several parts. Can you name them?
2. Who was St. Paul's Cathedral built by?
3. What is the historic, the governmental part of London?
4. Can you describe Trafalgar Square?
5. What are the most famous London Museums and art galleries?

Ask your friends:

What The capital of Great Britain is; London is famous for; the English are famous for; river London is situated on; the oldest part of London is; the most striking building in the city is; we can learn about Westminster Abbey; part of London lies to the west of the City; part of London lies to the east of the City; part of the Thames is called the Pool; the best-known foreign quarter of London is; the British Museum is famous for; paintings are exhibited in the National Gallery; Whitehall is; area of London is overpopulated.

HowBig the populations of London is; many parts London is divided by the Thames into; large the City is; big the resident population of the City is; badly St.Paul’s was damaged in World War II; old Westminster is; many people travel by Tube every year; many lines there are on London Underground.

WhereLondon is situated; the West End is situated; the statue of Eros is; Smith Square is situated; the National gallery is.



British Social Life


Before 11thof November every year, which is known as Remembrance Day when the dead of both World Wars are remembered, you will see thousands of people all over the country wearing paper poppy flowers on their coats. Other events are organized such as “bazaars” or “sales of work” with speeches made by people of social importance, such as mayors, bishops, members of parliament. In the course of these activities people meet their friends and enjoy themselves by doing good to the public.

Public libraries which are supported by the local authorities are very well developed, and everywhere allow people to take books without any payment. The books are kept on open shelves, and the librarians are very helpful to get books from other libraries through the exchange system.

One of the most popular hobbies of the British is gardening, and the people take pride in their gardens. The front gardens may be very small, but the patch of grass is very neatly cut, with flowers and bushes here and there. Every gardener has his or her secrets of decorating the gardens. In every place they have their competitions for the best garden, and every house owner will be very proud to win the cup. Flower shows and vegetable shows, with prizes for the best exhibits, are very popular. For example, the Chelsea Flower Show is the most important flower show in Britain; it is held in May every year in the grounds of Chelsea Hospital (London) and is attended by the Queen.

Dancing and pop music festivals are very popular in the country attracting thousands of young people. For example, the Glastonbury Pop Festival held annually in summer in Somerset (south-west England) is visited by youngsters from all over the country. It continues for more than a week and the police have much work to do to keep order.

The big cities and towns have their night clubs and hotels where an evening dancing may follow dinner, but such places are rare in the provinces. However, Italian and Chinese restaurants where they serve Italian pizzas and Chinese food are becoming more widespread even in small places.

A very British reality is the fish and chip shop, also known as the chippy, where it is possible to buy a piece of fried fish and chipped potatoes known in many restaurants as French fries. The dish may be taken away wrapped in paper, or if tables are provided, to be eaten in the shop. Some young people buy the chips alone so as to save money. American influence is becoming more widespread and the Macdonald eateries all around Britain are a vivid indication. Here you can order a big “Mac”, that is a hamburger with a Coca-Cola or juice quite cheap.

The pub is another British institution, where alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and, usually, snacks or meals are sold. Of course the most popular drink is beer or ale, which is stronger than beer. That is why most pubs are owned by a brewery where beer is made.

The pub is a traditional institution of almost all towns and villages, and is often a place of “character” or even historic interest. It is a very popular place to visit, a kind of a club, where you can rest, talk with friends, listen to music and play games such as darts or billiards, and enjoy good beer and eating. Darts is a game in which feathered arrows, called darts, are thrown at a board divided into sections with numbers on them. The aim is to score a particular number of points, usually 301 or 501. Many pubs have a darts team which plays matches against teams from other pubs. Most pubs are open twice daily or all day, and many have a garden where food and drink can be taken in summer. Inside the building there may be several bars. Children under 16 are not allowed to come into a pub, although they may sit outside together with their parents in the garden. All pubs have interesting names many of which reflect their long history.

Much social contact takes place in people’s homes. On Sunday afternoons many families have friends or relations in for tea. Sometimes people are invited for lunch, or a cocktail party at lunch time. In summer everybody will gather in the garden having informal drinks with sandwiches and moving around talking with whoever you like to. If the weather is bad, or it is cold then the guests gather in the living-room. Dinner parties have a limited number of guests, all depending upon the size of the table. But the general tendency is that these gatherings are becoming very free and easy: you take the food and drinks at a buffet, and move around to talk to as many people as you like, and you may sit wherever you like. Just feel comfortable and at home.



Families who have children often organise children’s parties, at which games are organised for quite a lot of children after the tea, which is called by that name although there is usually no tea to drink, only fruit drinks, sandwiches, ice-cream and lots of cakes and fruit. There is very much noise in the house. Music is played all around and many children dance. Some prefer to watch videos or cartoon films. The children have a good time, but after they leave the whole house is turned upside down. However, everybody is happy.


Task . Complete the sentences with the best answer (a, b or c).


1. Most pubs are

..... a). owned by a brewery where beer is made.

..... b). open late into the night.

с). like big restaurants where you can order anything you like.

2. Darts is a game

..... a). which is played on the fields in summer.

b). in which feathered arrows called darts are thrown at a board.

..... c). in which lots of money is lost.

3. Much social contact takes place

a ) during the summer holiday when adults visit each other.

b) in big cities where the clerks and office workers meet each other at lunch time.

c) in people’s homes on Sundays.

4. Today there is a tendency at parties

a) to take your seat at the table and stay there all throughout the evening.

b) to take the food and drinks at a buffet and move around talking to many people.

c) to have tea and take some small sandwiches from the kitchen table for the rest of the evening.

5. Families who have children

a) often organize children’s parties at which games are organized for quite a lot of children.

b) usually take the children to the seaside.

c) organize tea for the guests, and then serve the children.

6. Basically the British like to live

a) in separate houses of three types.

b) in flats with all modern conveniences.

c) near the sea where the air is so clean and fresh.

Task . Answer the questions.


1. What can you buy at the chippy?

2. Is American influence among the eateries becoming more widespread in the U.K.?

3. What is a pub?

4. Can you play games in a pub?

5. Where is darts played?

6. How do many people in Britain spend their Sunday afternoons?

7. Why do dinner parties have a limited number of guests?

8. Is it easy to buy a house in Britain?

9. What is an Englishman’s favourite saying?



Pubs (public houses) can be found in every town, city or village. Social life for many people has centred on the pub for many years. Opening and closing times are decided by law (pubs in England and Wales close at 11 p.m.) and, ten minutes before closing time, the barman or barmaid rings a bell or shouts, ‘Last orders! When you go into a pub you have to go to the bar pay for your drink and carry it to your seat.

It is customary in Britain to go for a drink with friends. People often meet at a pub before going on to another place. On Friday and Saturday evenings pubs in some city centres can be very crowded. Some people do a tour of all the pubs in one area and have a drink in each one; this is called a ‘pub crawl’. It is usual for each person in a group to take it in turns to buy drinks for everyone, and this is called a ‘round’. Pubs often also provide entertainment: live music, singing, joke-boxes and, more recently, computer games, video and karaoke machines.

It used to be difficult to get a cup of coffee in a pub, and children were not allowed inside. Although it is still against the law to serve alcohol to anyone under 18, pubs are now trying to encourage families. Pub meals have become very popular over the past ten years and are generally cheap and often good. Pubs with gardens or chairs and tables outside are often crowded in the summer. Pubs are still a central part of British culture. It is no surprise that two of Britain’s favourite TV soap operas have a pub as their local point. Coronation Street (the ‘Rover’s Return’) and East Enders (the ‘Queen Vic’), in both of these TV programmes you will see a popular game called darts, which is often played as a team game in pubs throughout Britain.


1. Hand-shaking

British people rarely shake hands except when being introduced to someone for the first time. They hardly ever shake hands with their friends - except when seeing them after a long interval or saying goodbye before a long journey. It is becoming more common for people to kiss their friends on the cheek when they meet or say goodbye.


2. Tea

Britons drink a quarter of all the tea grown in the world each year. They are the world’s greatest tea drinkers. Many of them drink it on at least eight different occasions during the day. They drink it between meals and at meals. They drink early-morning tea in bed, some early-morning tea drinkers have automatic tea-making machines connected to their alarm clocks.


3. Pub (short for Public House)

The main drink served in pubs is beer, light or dark. Light beer is usually called bitter. Most pubs, of course, sell all kinds of alcohol, from whisky to wine. Many of them also offer light meals.

Most pubs have two drinking rooms, called bars: the public and the saloon bar, which is more comfortable and slightly more expensive. “Bar” also means the counter at which the drinks are served.

Beer and cider, a drink made from apples, is always sold in pint or half-pint glasses. A pint is equivalent to 0.57 litre. Pubs have not “gone metric” yet.

Drinking laws in Britain

In 1987 a change took place in the law. Since 1915 pubs, restaurants hotels and clubs had been allowed to serve alcoholic drinks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. only. Now the usual opening hours are: Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On Sundays pubs may remain open for not more than 5 У? hours. Sunday drinking hours were not extended in 1987 because a great many people in Britain feel that Sunday is a special day on which all-day drinking should not be encouraged.

4. Darts

A game in which feathered arrows, called darts, are thrown at a board with numbered divisions on it. Most pubs have a dartboard for customers. Many pubs have a darts team which plays matches against teams from other pubs. Darts matches are now so popular that they are shown on TV.


5. Double-decker buses

Most buses in British towns and cities are “double-deckers”: this means they have an upstairs (on top) and a downstairs (inside). During the busiest times of the day a limited number of people are allowed to stand inside, but no one may stand on top. Smoking is allowed on top, but not inside. The use of the word “inside” for the lower deck (or floor) dates from the early days when the top deck was open. so that only passengers on the lower deck were inside.


Holidays in Great Britain





bank holiday — официальный выходной день помимо воскресенья, праздник

New Year’s Day — Новый год

Good Friday — Великая пятница

Easter Monday — первый понедельник после Пасхи

May Day — день Первого Мая

Spring Bank Holiday — весенний день отдыха (в мае или начале июня)

Summer Bank Holiday — летний день отдыха (в августе или сентябре)

Christmas Day — Рождество (25 декабря)

Boxing day — день рождественских подарков (26 декабря)

the patron saints days — дни святых, считающихся покровителями той или иной части Великобритании

St. David’s Day — день св.Давида (национальный день Уэльса, 1 Марта)

St. George’s Day — день св. Георгия (национальный день Англии, 23 апреля)

St. Andrew’s Day — день св. Андрея (национальный праздник Шотландии, 30 ноября)

St. Patrick’s Day — день св. Патрика (национальный праздник Ирландии, 17 марта)

a religious holiday — религиозный праздник

to make merry— веселиться

to be celebrated — отмечаться

a Christmas dinner — Рождественский обед

roast turkey — жареная индейка

Christmas pudding — Рождественский пудинг

to watch the Queen’s Christmas broadcast — смотреть Рождественское выступление Королевы по телевидению

a family reunion day — день встречи семьи

a gift of money — деньги в подарок

paper-boys and girls — разносчики газет

to be marked with a custom — отмечаться с соблюдением каких—либо традиций

a New Year Party — новогодняя вечеринка

to be held on New Year’s Eve — проводиться в Канун Нового года

to see the old year out — провожать старый год

to see the New Year in — встречать новый год

to mark the death of Christ — отмечать смерть Христа

a hot-cross bun — булочка с крестом наверху

the start of the summer tourist season — начало летнего туристического сезона

a celebration of the coming of spring — празднование прихода весны

to hold different outdoor events — проводить различные мероприятия на открытом воздухе

Halloween — канун дня всех святых (31 октября, в некоторых местах сохраняется традиция ходить с фонарями, сделанными из турнепса и др. овощей со вставленной в них свечкой)

trick or treat — проказа или угощение

Guy Fawkes’s Night — ночь Гая Фокса (вечер 5 ноября, когда по традиции отмечают раскрытие “порохового заговора” сожжением пугала и фейерверком)

to pull a cracker — запустить хлопушку

first footer — первый новогодний гость (переступивший порог после 12 часов ночи)

Hogmanay — хогманей, канун Нового года

charity — благотворительность

Christmas tree — рождественская (новогодняя) елка

to put a bomb under - заложить бомбу под

to cut one’s head off - отрубить голову кому-либо

to use a guy to make money - использовать пугало (чучело), чтобы заработать денег

a public (a bank) holiday - официальный праздник

to date back to - восходить к

observance of - празднование

to be no longer limited to banks - не распространяться больше только на банки

to fall on - приходиться на

to cut one’s head off - отрубить голову кому-либо

to use a guy to make money - использовать пугало (чучело), чтобы заработать денег

a public (a bank) holiday - официальный праздник

to date back to - восходить к

observance of - празднование

to be no longer limited to banks - не распространяться больше только на банки

to fall on - приходиться на

to be of religious origin - быть религиозного происхождения

to lose religious significance - потерять религиозное значение

to be marked by centuries-old traditions - отмечаться, быть связанным с многовековыми традициями

Task. Read the text; make up some questions to it; be ready to discuss it.


Bank Holidays in the United Kingdom

A bank holiday is an official holiday when all banks and post offices are closed. Most factories, offices and shops are closed, too. The following days are bank holidays in Great Britain: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Only when the UK joined the EC did New Year’s Day become a public holiday. The patron saints days are not celebrated with a holiday. They are St. David’s Day (March 1st) in Wales, St. George’s Day (April 23rd) in England and St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) in Scotland. Only Ireland, both North and South, has a holiday on St. Patrick’s Day, (March 17th).

Most of bank holidays are religious holidays. Now for most people they are simply days on which people eat, drink and make merry.

Christmas Day is the most popular of bank holidays. It is celebrated on December, 25. On this day many people go to churches, open their Christmas presents, eat a Christmas dinner of roast turkey and Christmas pudding. Many people watch the Queen’s Christmas broadcast on TV. This day is a traditional family reunion day and a special day for children.

Boxing Day is on December, 26. People usually gave “Christmas boxes”, or gifts of money, to servants on this day. Today many people still give a Christmas gift to paperboys and girls.

New Year’s Day is on January,1 .It is not marked with any custom in Great Britain. Traditional New Year parties and dances are held on New Year’s Eve. People see the old year out and the New Year in.

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter when the church marks the death of Christ. On this day people eat hot-cross buns - buns marked on top with a cross.

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Day. It is a traditional day for the start of the summer tourist season.

May Day Bank Holiday is the first Monday after the first of May (May Day). May Day which is not a bank holiday, is a celebration of the coming of spring. On May Day different outdoor events are held. Usually May Queen, the most beautiful girl of the celebration, is selected.

Spring Bank Holiday falls on the last Monday in May. August Bank Holiday is held on the last Monday in August.


Exercise 1. Answer the questions:


1. What is a bank holiday?

2. How are bank holidays celebrated?

3. How is the most popular of all bank holidays marked?

4. What traditions are observed on December, 26?

5. What customs is New Year’s Day marked with?

6. What is Good Friday?

7. When is the coming of spring celebrated?

8. What is May Day and May Day Bank holiday?

9. What days do spring Bank Holiday and August Bank Holiday fall on?

Exercise 2. Translate into English:


1. Во время официальных, или банковских, праздников закрыты все банки, почтовые отделения, большая часть официальных учреждений и магазинов.

2. Сейчас официальные праздники - не религиозные праздники, а просто дни, когда люди веселятся.

3. Рождество, 25 декабря, - это день, когда собирается вся семья.

4. Люди обычно смотрят Рождественское выступление Королевы, посещают церковь, обмениваются (exchange) рождественскими подарками.

5. 26 декабря люди дарят рождественские подарки или деньги разносчикам газет.

6. С Новым Годом не связаны особые (particular) традиции.

7. В пятницу перед Пасхой обычно едят особые булочки с крестом наверху.

8. 1 мая проводятся различные мероприятия на открытом воздухе, и избирается Майская Королева.


Public Holidays in the United Kingdom

There are eight public holidays, or bank holidays a year in Great Britain, that is days on which people need not go in to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday. The term “bank holiday” dates back to the 19th century when in 1871 and 1875 most of these days were constituted bank holiday, that is, days on which banks were to be closed. The observance of these days is no longer limited to banks.

All the public holidays, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day observed on the 25th and 26th of December respectively, do not fall on the same date each year. Good Friday and Easter Monday depend on Easter Sunday which falls on the first Monday in May. The Spring Bank Holiday is on the last Monday of May, while Late Summer Bank Holiday comes on the last Monday in August.

Most of these holidays are of religious origin, though for the greater part of the population they have long lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people relax, eat, drink and make merry Certain customs and traditions are associated with most bank holidays. The reason is that many of them are part of holiday seasons like Easter and Christmas seasons which are religious by origin and are marked by centuries-old traditions.

Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and simply days, on which certain traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are ordinary working days.





a public holiday — официальный праздник

a bank holiday — официальный праздник

to date back to — восходить к

to be constituted a bank holiday — получить статус официального праздника

observance of — празднование

to be no longer limited to banks — не распространяться больше только нa банки

to be observed — праздноваться, соблюдаться

to fall on — приходиться на

to be of religious origin — быть религиозного происхождения

to lose religious significance — потерять религиозное значение

to relax — отдыхать

to make merry — веселиться

to be associated with — быть связанным с

to be part of a holiday season — быть частью многодневного праздника

to be marked by centuries-old traditions — отмечаться, быть связанным с многовековыми традициями

a festival — фестиваль

an anniversary — годовщина

Exercise 3. Answer the questions:


1. What is a bank holiday?

2. What are bank holidays in the United Kingdom?

3. What dates do public holidays fall on?

4. What is the origin of most of these holidays?

5. How are bank holidays celebrated?

6. What other holidays are there in the United Kingdom, except bank holidays?

Exercise 4. Translate into English:


1. Современные официальные праздники получили статус “банковских” в 19 веке.

2. “Банковские” праздники распространяются не только на банки.

3. Рождество и Святки справляются соответственно 25 и 26 декабря; остальные официальные праздники приходятся каждый год на разные дни.

4. Праздники потеряли религиозное значение; эти дни люди просто отдыхают и веселятся.

5. Многодневные праздники - Рождество и Пасха - имеют религиозное происхождение.

6. Кроме официальных праздников, существуют другие дни, связанные с многовековыми традициями.



Customs and Traditions in Great Britain


Some English customs and traditions are famous all over the world.


Bowler hats, tea and talking about the weather, for example. From Scotland to Cornwall, the United Kingdom is full of customs and traditions. Here are some of them.

St. Valentine’s is the saint of people in love, and St. Valentine’s day is February 14th. On that day, people send valentine cards and presents to their husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. You can also send a card to a person you don’t know. But traditionally you must never write your name on it. Some British newspapers have a page for Valentine’s Day messages on February 14th.

April, 1 is April Fool’s Day in Great Britain. This is a very old tradition from the Middle Ages. At that time servants were masters for one day of the year. Now April Fool’s Day is different. It’s a day for jokes and tricks.

May, 1 was an important day in the Middle Ages. In the very early morning young girl went to fields and washed their faces with dew. They believed this made them very beautiful for a year after that. Also on May Day young men of each village tried to win prizes with their bows and arrows, and people danced round the Maypole.

November, 5 is Guy Fawkes’ s Day. All over the country people built wood fires, or “bonfires”, in their gardens. On top of each bonfire is a guy, this is a figure of Guy Fawkes. On November, 5 1665, Guy Fawkes tried to kill King James I. He and a group of his friends put a bomb under the Houses of Parliament in London. But the king’s men found the bomb and Guy Fawkes. They took him to the Tower of London, where his head was cut off. Before November 5, children use guys to make money. They stand in the street and shout: “Penny for the guy”.

Exercise 1. Translate into Russian.


1. Most people buy presents for the other members of their household and also for the other relatives, especially children.

2. Some people even send such greetings to people whom they have not seen for many years, often using the excuse of this tradition to include a letter passing on the year’s news.

3. A “crib”, which is a model depicting the birth of Christ, also sometimes forms part of the Christmas decorations.

4. The role of Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) and the customs associated with the giving of gifts vary from family to family.

5. Many children lay out a Christmas stocking at the foot of their beds, which they expect to see filled when they wake up on Christmas morning.

6. This ten-minute television broadcast is normally the only time in the year when the monarch speaks directly to “her” people on television.

7. For many families, Christmas is the only time that they are all together (so it is often a time of conflict rather than harmony, in fact).

8. In London, many go to the traditional celebration in Trafalgar Square (where there is an enormous Christmas tree which is an annual gift from the people of Norway).

9. Another, less common, one is the custom of “first footing”, in which the first person to visit a house in the new year is supposed to arrive with the tokens of certain important items for survival (such as a lump of coal for the fire).

10. Nobody pays much attention to the feast of the epiphany on 6 January (the twelth day of Christmas), except that this is the traditionally the Day on which Christmas decorations are taken down.




In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the term "public school"refers to fee-charging independent secondary schools. The earliest known reference to a "pub­lic school" dates from 1364, when the Bishop of Winchester wrote concerning "the public school" at Kingston in his diocese. The term public then distinguished between education in a school generally provided by a church and open to public applicants. The schools where admission was restricted to children from a par­ticular aristocratic class (such as City of London Freemen's School, Westminster, Rugby School, Haileybury College, Winchester, Kings, Eton, Roedean School and Harrow). Nowadays, many public schools are highly academically selective and pupils usually need to pass the Common Entrance Examination before being ad­mitted at all. Only the best scholars must be able to afford the considerable fees for tuition and (for boarders) room and board.

In Scotland, the term "public school"may have two meanings. Largely due to the earlier introduction of state-administered universal education in Scotland and opposed to the rest of the United Kingdom, the term became associated with state schools. Children in Scottish state schools typically start primary school, or attend ajunior school, aged between four and a half and five and a half.

Private schoolsin England, Wales and Scotland are generally called "indepen­dent schools",because of their freedom to operate outside the government regu­lation. They are favoured by a minority of parents because of their reputation for high academic standards.

In Scotland, the term "public school"may have two meanings. Largely due to the earlier introduction of state-administered universal education in Scotland and opposed to the rest of the United Kingdom, the term became associated with state schools. Children in Scottish state schools typically start primary school, or attend ajunior school, aged between four and a half and five and a half.

Many independent schools are single-sex.

In the Republic of Ireland, a private schoolreceives no state support. It is not subject to state control in relation to curriculum, school day, school year, etc. Irish Private schools must still work towards the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certfiicate, for example. Many private schools in Ireland also double as boarding schools. Teachers in private schools are not paid for by the State and there are no requirements abouttheir qualifications, unlike in public schools. However, most private schools provide the basic national curriculum as set out for public schools

The average fee is around €5,000 annually for most schools. If some of private Public schools provide boarding, then the fees may rise up to €25,000 per year.

fee-charging— платный, требующий оплаты

the Common Entrance Examination— общий вступительный экзамен

to afford smth— позволить себе что-либо; быть в состоянии что-либо сделать

tuition and board ---oбучение и проживание, пансион

state- administrated universal education –всеобщее образование, контролируемое государством

to operate outside the government regulation—действовать за рамками государственного контроля или управления

a single-sex school –школа раздельного обучения

the basic national curriculum –основная национальная программа обучения


to provide smth.—обеспечивать что-то, снабжать чем-то


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