Great exporter of culture and traditions following that imperialist vocation that made it the pivot of the economy and world trade, the United Kingdom has been home to famous artists whose works continue to be admired all over the world. If the contribution of British culture is undeniable, nevertheless the European influence has been fundamental, which over the centuries has allowed its maturation and development (think of the role of the Renaissance Italian or that of French and Dutch artistic production). From architecture to painting, from theater to literature and from science to technology, British art reflects the cultural diversity and multi-ethnic nature of its population, articulating itself in an internationally recognized expressive language. The role of the country in the evolution and change of customs is also undeniable. British society, in addition to the traditional elements and the peculiar rituals that are its own, has often been over the course of time the driving force of new ferments and new ideas that subsequently spread throughout Europe. This is the case of the “revolution” brought about by rock & roll which, starting from the Sixties, has been shaking young British people. The music of the Beatles, as well as that of the Rolling Stones rivals, but also the introduction of the miniskirt (created in 1963 by the designer Mary Quant), launch fashions creating a transversal movement symbol of the rebellion of young people who no longer recognize themselves in institutions, of social protest, of the cultural revolution and the desire to innovate at any cost.
According to prozipcodes, the national language is English, but within the borders of the United Kingdom there are still bilingual alloglot minorities. In Wales we still speak Welsh, Insular Celtic language of the British branch; in Scotland, Scottish, an insular Celtic language of the Gaelic branch to which Irish and the dialect spoken in the Isle of Man also belong; in Cornwall it was spoken until the end of the century. XVIII the Cornish or Cornish, another insular Celtic language of the British branch (attempts are currently being made to revive this disappeared language). Training and research are funded by special councils set up by the Parliament. Many of the oldest universities count on their own substantial funds: among these, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, founded in the sec. XII and XIII, and the Scottish universities of Edinburgh, Saint Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, dating back to the sec. XIV and XV. The presence of numerous museums, art galleries, theaters and historic buildings testifies to the richness of the artistic and cultural heritage of the United Kingdom, where important events and events take place every year. London, where the major cultural institutions are based, plays a leading role, but Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all the regions of England also have deep traditions. The British Museum is located in London, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery and the Courtauld Institute. Also noteworthy are the Ashmolean museums in Oxford and the Fitzwilliam museums in Cambridge; the Birmingham Art Gallery; the Tate Galleries of Liverpool and Saint Ives; the Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. Scotland is home to one of the world’s leading art festivals, the Edinburgh Festival. Among the various annual events celebrating Welsh music, poetry and traditions, the Royal National Eisteddfod stands out. The United Kingdom also has numerous monuments and historical sites of international significance which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In England, the cathedral and the castle of Durham, the palace and the abbey of Westminster, Canterbury Cathedral, the Royal Botanic Gardens of London, the megalithic complexes of Stonehenge and Avebury, the Tower of London, Hadrian’s Wall; in Scotland the entire city of Edinburgh, the historic village of New Lanark and the small archipelago of Saint Kilda (which is also a natural site); in Wales, Harlech Castle and the industrial area (19th century) of Blaenavon.