England is one of the countries which makes up the island of Britain, situated off the coast of mainland Europe. England is part of Great Britain, and also part of the United Kingdom - however it is important to distinguish between England as an individual country and the wider UK.
As a result of England being only a part of an island, the length of the rivers within the country are relatively small compared with the rivers elsewhere in the world, such as the mighty Nile and Amazon.
As has already been mentioned, England shares an island with other countries, and so it is important to note that answering the question "What is the longest river in England?" can be answered in a couple of ways. Firstly there is the longest river which is wholly within England, and then there are the rivers which are shared with other countries on the island.
What is the longest river wholly within England?
As mentioned in the introduction, England shares an island with the other two countries of Great Britain (Wales and Scotland), and this section of the article deals with rivers which are wholly within the country of England.
The longest river which is completely in England is the River Thames. As with many rivers, there is a debate about it's true source; however, it is believed that the source of England's longest river is somewhere in the English county of Gloucestershire with the total length of the river being 215 miles. From Gloucestershire the river flows eastwards before reaching the it's mouth (exit point to the sea) at the Thames Estuary in south-east England.
On it's journey from Gloucestershire to the Thames Estuary the Thames flows through multiple English counties; including (but not limited to) Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Kent and Essex. The river also flows through historical English cities and towns on it's way to the sea. These include Oxford (which contains one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world), Reading, Windsor (which contains Windsor Castle which is the primary resident of the Queen of England) and finally London (which is the capital city of England, the UK and also one of the primary cities in the world). London grew propserous because of The Thames and therefore The Thames has played an important development in the economic and social development of not only England but the whole world.
What is the longest river that is at least partially in England?
As was mentioned earlier on in this article, England shares the island of Britain with both Wales and Scotland, therefore there is a chance that as well as sharing a border with these countries it could share a river with these - a river which could potentially be longer than The Thames (which as indicated by the previous paragraph is the longest river which is completely in England).
England does not share any partcularly long rivers with Scotland, however, it does share a relatively long river with Wales, The River Severn. The River Severn starts in Wales, travels into England and then becomes the border between the two countries near it's mouth (The Severn Estuary). As 220 miles, it is five miles longer than the River Thames and therefore is the largest river which flows at least partially through England and it is also the longest river in the UK.
Relative to The River Thames, the UK's longest river passes through less major cities. Shrewsbury and Gloucestershire are the only two cities which the river passes through; both of which are in England. Also in England; the river passes through the UNESCO world heritage settlement of Ironbridge, so called because of the iron bridge which traverses the River Severn at this point, which was an important location in the early parts of the industrial revolution.
The River Severn - From source to mouth
Travel along the River Severn, the longest river that passes through England.
As can be seen it is quite hard to determine exactly what is the longest river in England. In effect there are two answers to this question - the longest river which is solely in England is called The River Thames and the longest river which is at least partly in England (and partly in the adjacent country of Wales) is The River Severn.