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A Beginner's Guide to Geography

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The Beginner's Guide to UK Geography is a simple tour of the main territorial units used in National Statistics work.

Use the guide to obtain basic facts on each type of area, as well as more specialist information on topics such as boundary change.

Many pages provide access to area names and codes listings, and there is also a separate maps menu.

Whether you want to know the difference between a ward and a parish, how many Westminster constituencies there are in the UK, or simply the name of the longest river in Wales, the Beginner's Guide to UK Geography is your ideal reference source.

A comprehensive listing of products are available to download from the Open Geography portal (see related links).

ONS Geography receive information on administrative and other boundary changes. Information on changes operative from 2001 has been produced as an Excel document titled 'Boundary Changes in England and Wales between 2001 and 2016', which can be downloaded from the Downloads section.

Note: The maps in the Beginner's Guide are in pdf format. Most users already have the Acrobat Reader software required to view pdf files. If you do not have it, you can download it from the Adobe website.

  • Administrative Geography

    Administrative geography concerns itself with the hierarchy of areas relating to national and local government in the UK.

  • UK Electoral Geography

    Overview of the different electoral systems and areas used to elect members to various levels of administration

  • Census

    The UK census, undertaken every ten years with the most recent being on 27 March 2011, collects population and other statistics essential to those who have to plan and allocate resources. Major customers include departments of national and local government, and providers of services such as health and education

  • Health Geography

    Overview of the organisation of the National Health Service administration in the four countries of the United Kingdom

  • Eurostat

    Overview of the three layers of NUTS and two layers of LAUs in the UK

  • Postal Geography

    Details of how postcodes are used as the main geographic reference and the benefits of using postcodes

  • Other Geographies

    Other geographic breakdowns that ONS uses in producing statistics

  • UK map collection

    PDF map downloads showing various geographic boundaries for the United Kingdom including Administrative Geography, Health Geography, Electoral Geography, NUTS / LAUs Areas and Other Geographies

  • Licences

    Information on the use of licencing with ONS data.

  • Geography glossary

    Glossary of terms explaining the work by the ONS Geography Unit

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.