World Heritage Sites

Explore some of Britain’s 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From natural beauty spots like the Dorset and East Devon Coast to cultural riches such as the Tower of London and Stonehenge.

 

London

England's capital has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, many of which are protected by World Heritage status. Step back in time at William the Conqueror's imposing Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels.

Discover Westminster Abbey, the burial place of scores of great Britons from Charles Darwin to Charles Dickens and go to Maritime Greenwich, home of Christopher Wren's baroque masterpiece, the Old Royal Naval College, and the Cutty Sark - the world's last surviving tea clipper ship.

And if all that history proves a little exhausting, head west and recharge your batteries at Kew Gardens, home to 300 acres of enchanting greenery, ancient trees, palm houses and even a treetop walkway.

Tower of London
Tower of London, London © VisitBritain / Andrew Pickett
 

England

For thousands of years of history and architecture, explore the great cathedrals of Durham and Canterbury and the largest monastic ruin in Britain, Fountains Abbey.

To follow in the footsteps of Roman invaders, a trip to Hadrian's Wall is a must, and if you're interested in our industrial heritage don't miss Derwent Valley Mills, Saltaire, Ironbridge or the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape from where mining technologies spread across the world.

If you want to explore one of the world's biggest mysteries, head to Stonehenge, the most famous megalithic (literally meaning ‘big stone’) monument in the world. Dating back an amazing 50,000 years, it’s drawn visitors for millennia.

Stonehenge
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England © VisitBritain / Richard Allen

 

Visit the City of Bath, where novelist Jane Austen once lived, to see its ancient Roman Baths, the elegant Pulteney Bridge, gorgeous Georgian architecture and Bath Abbey. Not far from here, near Oxford, is the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace. It's a perfectly preserved 18th-century stately home set in a 2,100-acre park landscaped by 'Capability' Brown.

Further north, Liverpool is recognised as a ‘supreme example’ of a Maritime Mercantile City and it's here where you can see the towering Liver Building, the Albert Dock and take a ferry across the Mersey river.

Elsewhere, The Dorset and East Devon Coast, also known as the Jurassic Coast was the first ever site to be inscribed as a 'natural' World Heritage Site. It spans 95 miles of dramatic coastline that's exposed to provide an almost continuous geological 'walk through time' spanning 185 million years of the Earth's history.

Durdle Door, an eroded rock arch off the Jurassic Coast National Park
Durdle Door, an eroded rock arch off the Jurassic Coast National Park, Dorset, England © VisitBritain / Adam Burton
 

Scotland

Any trip to Scotland would have to include a trip to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. The Old Town, topped by the castle, oozes history and a stroll along its cobbled streets and dark alleyways is a walk through time. The Georgian New Town is equally evocative with its graceful crescents, squares and terraces.

Just a few miles outside the city you’ll find the remarkable Forth Bridge, linking Edinburgh with Fife. Opened in 1890, it’s the world’s oldest cantilever bridge and remains one of the longest of its kind, spanning an impressive 2,529 metres.

West of Edinburgh is New Lanark, a beautifully restored 18th-century cotton mill village set in stunning Scottish countryside. Further north is Orkney, a group of islands in Northeast Scotland, home to prehistoric monuments that predate the Egyptian pyramids.

St Kilda, in Scotland's famous Outer Hebrides is one of only 24 locations in the world to be awarded World Heritage Status for both natural and cultural significance. Uninhabited since 1930, St Kilda bears the evidence of more than 2,000 years of human occupation and is the most important seabird breeding station in north-west Europe.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland © VisitBritain / Andrew Pickett

 

Wales

In a land of castles, Harlech, Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris stand out for their sheer scale and sophistication. Well-preserved, atmospheric and imposing, they represent the pinnacle of medieval military architecture.

More recent, but no less impressive, is Britain’s newest World Heritage Site, the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain. Towering 126ft above the River Dee, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a 200-year-old engineering marvel. It looks fantastic from a distance but walking or travelling by canal boat over the top is truly exhilarating.

Not far from Cardiff is Blaenavon, an area shaped by the coal and iron industries. It highlights the importance of South Wales in the world's production of coal and iron in the 19th century. You can get a feel for life at the coalface on a subterranean tour of the Big Pit National Coal Museum.

Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle, Conwy, Wales © VisitBritain / David Angel
 

Northern Ireland

The Giant's Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the rugged Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. This intriguing rock formation is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea and has been shrouded in myth and legend for centuries.

Giant's Causeway
Giant's Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland © VisitBritain / Craig Easton

 

British Overseas Territories

Bermuda 

The Town of St George stands out as the earliest example of an English colonial town in the New World. Founded in 1612 on St George Island, the citadel has managed to retain much of its maritime heritage, colonial architecture and old world charm. 

 

Henderson Island

A British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific, Henderson is an uninhabited island of outstanding natural beauty. Its ecology, practically untouched by human presence, provides an ideal context for studying evolution and natural selection.  

 

Gough and Inaccessible Islands

Gough and Inaccessible Islands are two extraordinary uninhabited oceanic islands located in the South Atlantic. Free of introduced mammals and home to one of the world’s largest colonies of sea birds, it’s this unique ecosystem that has earnt the islands their special status.  

 

You can find out more about Britain’s World Heritage Sites on the UNESCO website.

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