The article addresses the topic of higher education in Great Britain in the light of the past and present developments. For the legislation framework, there is a brief description of important legal acts and documents dated since 1956. A historical outline off ers a list of universities by the year of foundation, accompanied with some information about The Open University and its specific nature. The emphasis is put on the top UK universities in the ranking and the position of higher education institutions that belong to the Russell Group. In addition to that, the role of elitist academic environments created by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, both in terms of a very high quality teaching and outstanding research, is raised. In the section dedicated to funds for teaching and research, the following issues are addressed: the allocation of fi nancial resources for higher education from the GDP, the structure of funding and the signifi cance of private sources; the role of Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCEs) and the adopted modes of recurrent and non-recurrent funding; the participation of foreign students who come to study in British universities from European Union countries and overseas, and they contribute to an overall budget. Final remarks refer to research evaluation and quality assessment. Th e post-scriptum stresses common systemic factors that strongly aff ect teaching and research activities of the British universities.