UNESCO world heritage sites UK. UNESCO world heritage site England. World heritage sites of international importance in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
With so many amazing sites to visit in the UK, where do you even begin when arranging a staycation? The UNESCO World Heritage sites in the United Kingdom, for example, can be a fantastic source of inspiration.
In this post, I am writing about everything from entire cities with fascinating histories and architecture to mystery locations and gorgeous scenery.
UNESCO world heritage sites UK
The United Kingdom is home to 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. UNESCO has announced its newest additions to the list, including two new UK locations, despite Liverpool losing its World Heritage classification earlier in 2021.
The slate landscape of Northwest Wales has been recognized, and the city of Bath has been included in UNESCO’s list of Great Spa Towns of Europe (the city is actually already a world heritage site in its own right).
Here, I look at each of the UK’s global heritage sites and why they should be on your bucket list right now, as well as where to stay if you plan on visiting. There are 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
There are 28 cultural sites, four natural sites, and one mixed site among them. One of those sites is shared by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and other countries.
Tower of London
Tower of London, sometimes known as the Tower, is a royal fortification and a famous London landmark in the UK. Its structures and grounds have served as a royal palace, a political prison, an execution site, an armory, a royal mint, a menagerie, and a public records office throughout history.
Tower London is situated on the north bank of the Thames, in the far western part of the borough of Tower Hamlets, on the outskirts of London’s core city.
William I the Conqueror began erecting fortifications on the site shortly after his coronation (Christmas 1066) in order to dominate the local mercantile community and control access to the Upper Pool of London, the major port area prior to the construction of docks further downstream in the 19th century.
The central keep, known as the White Tower, was built of limestone from Caen, Normandy, in around 1078, close to the old Roman city wall.
The fortifications were extended beyond the city wall during the 12th and 13th centuries, with the White Tower serving as the nucleus of a series of concentric defenses encircling an inner and outer ward.
The White Tower is surrounded by a “curtain” of 13 towers, the most well-known of which are the Bloody Tower, the Beauchamp Tower, and the Wakefield Tower.
The moat, which was originally fed by the Thames but has been drained since 1843, surrounds the outer curtain. Outside the moat, the wall has gun embrasures; opposite them, contemporary artillery pieces are ceremonially fired on state occasions.
Blenheim Palace was built by the English Parliament as a national present to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, between 1705 and 1724.
Winston Churchill, the 1st Duke’s renowned descendent, was born at Blenheim Palace, and his life and times are honoured by a permanent exhibition in the suite of rooms where he was born (marked “K” on the plan).
At the Battle of Blenheim in Germany in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, he led the English to victory over the French and Bavarians. Sir John Vanbrugh created the palace.
This was heavily influenced by Nicholas Hawksmoor and is widely regarded as the finest example of true Baroque architecture in the United Kingdom.
Henry Wise, Queen Anne’s gardener, planned the palace grounds in the formal style of André Le Nôtre’s famous gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles in France in the early 18th century.
Because preferences changed in the mid-eighteenth century, Lancelot (Capability) Brown was commissioned to rework the grounds in his pastoral style of informal or seemingly natural landscapes of forests, grass, and canals.
City of Bath
The City of Bath, founded by the Romans as a thermal resort, grew into a major center of the wool industry in the Middle Ages.
It grew into an attractive town in the 18th century under George III, with neoclassical Palladian buildings that mixed nicely with the Roman baths.
Bath is a city in the historic county of Somerset in southern England. It is part of the Bath and North East Somerset unitary authority.
Bath is set in a natural arena of high hills on the banks of the River Avon (Lower, or Bristol, Avon). It is one of the most exquisite and aesthetically distinguished cities in the United Kingdom, having been constructed from native limestone.
The late Perpendicular Gothic abbey church of St. Peter and St. Paul, built in the 16th century, is notable for its windows.
But it is the richness of classical Georgian houses that line the steep valley sides that distinguish Bath. In 1987, the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bath was formed as Aquae Sulis, devoted to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a combination of Celtic (Sul) and Roman (Minerva) deities. Due to mineral springs that are quite hot (115 °F or 46 °C), the site attracted the Romans, who named it after the goddess Sulis Minerva.
At the place where Edgar was crowned the first king of England in 973 CE, the Saxons established an abbey. Between 1088 and 1122, the Normans restored the church, transferring the diocese they had established at Wells to it.
In 1206, the bishop’s seat was returned to Wells, and the canons of Wells and the monks of Bath, of which the bishop was titular abbot, had a lengthy rivalry. Bath and Wells is still the name of the diocese.
Durham Castle and Cathedral
During the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the relics of St. Cuthbert (Northumbria’s evangelist) and the Venerable Bede were stored in Durham Castle and Cathedral.
It is England’s largest and best-preserved Norman structure, and it attests to the early Benedictine monastic community’s importance.
The innovative audacity of the vaulting foreshadowed Gothic architecture. Behind the cathedral stands the castle, an ancient Norman fortress that served as the residence of the prince-bishops of Durham.
The fortification and residence of the Prince-Bishops of Durham, who were granted virtual independence in exchange for guaranteeing England’s northern borders, hence wielded both stringent and mainstream control.
The Cathedral and Castle stand on a promontory enclosed by a bend in the River Wear, with steep riverbanks forming a distinctive line of protection.
These were crucial both for the community of St. Cuthbert, who arrived in Durham in the 10th century in search of a safe haven, Having been subjected to occasional Viking raids for several centuries and for the Prince-Bishops of Durham.
Defenders of the harsh English outskirts, who were intimately familiar with its set of experiences and evolution of use in recent years.
Ironbridge Gorge England
Ironbridge, often spelled Iron bridge, is a structure that spans the River Severn near Ironbridge, Shropshire, England, and is widely regarded as the first cast iron bridge.
Ironbridge is currently a British national monument, and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site includes the bridge, the town of Ironbridge, and the Ironbridge Gorge.
The semicircular arch of the bridge spans 30.6 meters (100.5 feet) and includes five arch ribs, each cast in two parts. The iron bridge was built in 1777–79 and was designed by Abraham Darby or Thomas Pritchard.
An identical bridge had been cast a few years earlier in France but had never been built. Despite a slight bulge in the arch, the bridge began collecting tolls in 1781 and was utilized for pedestrian traffic until 1950.
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
Stonehenge and Avebury, both in Wiltshire, are two of the world’s most famous stone monuments. The two safe-havens are made up of circles of menhirs arranged in a pattern whose cosmic significance is still being researched. These lucky areas, as well as the nearby Neolithic sites, are a remarkable testament to ancient times.
The property is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The edifices of exceptional ancient sites at Stonehenge, Avebury, and associated sites are internationally significant.
Stonehenge is the world’s most modern old stone circle, whereas Avebury is the world’s largest. They demonstrate Neolithic and Bronze Age styled and morgue works coming about as a result of roughly 2000 years of steady use.
And landmarks working between around 3700 and 1600 BC, in addition to associated landmarks and their related scenes. As a result, they deal with a one-of-a-kind encapsulation of our collective legacy.
Because of the sheer enormity of its megaliths, Stonehenge is very likely the most spectacular ancient major landmark in the world.
The intricate concentric arrangement and engineering layout, the stone molding (which included both Wiltshire Sarsen sandstone and Pembroke Bluestone), and the precision with which it was put together.
Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List of United Kingdom (33)
- Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (2000)
- Blenheim Palace (1987)
- Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church (1988)
- Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (1986)
- City of Bath (1987)
- Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
- Derwent Valley Mills (2001)
- Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
- Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987,2005,2008)
- Gorham’s Cave Complex (2016)
- Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
- Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
- Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
- Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019)
- Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (2004)
- Maritime Greenwich (1997)
- New Lanark (2001)
- Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
- Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church (1987)
- Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (2009)
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
- Saltaire (2001)
- Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
- Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey (1986)
- The English Lake District (2017)
- The Forth Bridge (2015)
- The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021)
- Tower of London (1988)
- Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
- Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
- Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995,2004)
- Henderson Island (1988)
- St Kilda (1986,2004, 2005)