Published on April 12th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw0
World Heritage Day
Today is World Heritage Day (or the International Day for Monuments and Sites). The UK is home to 29 World Heritage Sites and the Easter Holidays are the perfect time to pay them a visit.
World Heritage Day was founded 35 years ago. It encourages everyone across the globe to celebrate all the world’s cultures and raise awareness of important cultural monuments and sites. The International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has 10,000 members in over 150 countries. They all work to save importance sites and identify new ones that need to be preserved.
Visit World Heritage Sites in the UK
The most recent addition to the World Heritage Site list for UK territories is Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar. Added to the list in 2016, this is a natural sea cave and one of the last known habitations of the Neanderthals in Europe.
Other UK overseas sites are Henderson Island in the South Pacific, Gough and Inaccessible Islands in the South Atlantic and the historic town of St George and related fortifications in Bermuda.
However, if you are looking for somewhere a little closer to home to visit on World Heritage Day, here is the full list of UK World Heritage Sites.
Cultural Sites in England
Bath, Somerset. Founded by the Romans and renowned for its thermal spas, this stunning town includes neoclassical Palladian buildings to compliment the Roman baths.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Home of the first Duke of Marlborough John Churchill and of course, the ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, recently remembered in our article Winston Churchill Day.
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church, Kent. The spiritual head of the Church of England for five centuries. St Martin’s Church is the oldest church in England.
Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape. Preserving the remains of the area’s lucrative tin and copper mines from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Derwent Valley Mills, Derbyshire. Cotton mills from the 18th and 19th century maintain historical and technological interest even in today’s digital world.
Durham Castle and Cathedral. Built in the 11th and 12th century, it is the largest and finest example for Norman architecture in England.
Frontiers of the Roman Empire. The “Roman Limes” stretch from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, across Europe and North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire. One of the great symbols of the Industrial Revolution. The bridge was built in 1708.
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City. One of the great UK cities with a rich maritime history. Liverpool was a major global trading city in the 18th and 19th century and pivotal in the growth of the British Empire.
Maritime Greenwich. The buildings and park define the artistic and scientific triumphs of the 17th and 18th century. The Queen’s House was the first Palladian building in England and the former Royal Naval College was designed by Christopher Wren.
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church. Rebuilt following a fire in 1840, not only is it a superb example of neo-Gothic architecture but has great historic significance in our country.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Showing gardens from the 18th to 20th century, Kew Gardens and its botanic collections enable the continued study of plant diversity.
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites. This world famous prehistoric site features groups of megaliths that continue to mesmerise us today. The Avebury Stones are one of the landmarks of the Stone Age included in the Ancient Britain Presentation Pack.
Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire. Situated around the ruins of the Cistercian Fountains Abbey and Fountain Hall Castle, this site remains a popular tourist attraction.
Tower of London. One of the great examples of Norman architecture. It was built by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings to protect London.
Natural Sites in England
Dorset and East Devon Coast. Known as the Jurassic Coast, this site provides a continuous sequence of rock formations covering over 185 million years of the Mesozoic Era.
Cultural Sites in Scotland
The Forth Bridge. When this great Scottish landmark opened in 1890 it had one of the world’s longest bridge spans at 541m. Its innovative design and construction is also remembered in this stunning Forth Rail Bridge Stamp Cover.
Heart of Neolithic Orkney. This group of Neolithic monuments give an insight into the life of this remote archipelago from over 5,000 years ago.
New Lanark, Lanarkshire. A village designed by philanthropist Robert Owen. It includes workers’ housing, cotton mill houses, and school.
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. Scotland’s magnificent capital is derived of two parts. The Medieval fortress of the Old Town and the neoclassical New Town.
Saltaire, West Yorkshire. A complete, preserved industrial village which takes its name from its philanthropic founder Sir Titus Salt and the River Aire. It is a combination of textile mills, public buildings and workers’ houses.
Mixed Sites in Scotland
St Kilda. On the coast of the Hebrides this volcanic archipelago with some of the highest cliffs in Europe is home to large colonies of rare and endangered bird species. Species include puffins and gannets. These distant lands have been occupied by humans for over 2,000 years.
Cultural Sites in Wales
Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, South Wales. In the 19th century this area was one of the world’s largest producers of iron and coal. The coal and ore mines, quarries, railway, furnaces and miners homes are preserved.
Castles and Town Walls of King Edward, Gwynedd. These well preserved monuments show the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, North East Wales. Another great feat of the Industrial Revolution. This 18km long aqueduct and canal was designed by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford. An incredible piece of engineering particularly when you consider it has no locks.
Natural Sites in Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland. A unique landscape at the foot of the basalt cliffs of the Antrim plateau. Legends of giants coming over the sea from Scotland add to the mythical status of this natural phenomenon.