UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England


A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO to have special cultural or physical significance.  The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, and Wales) has a total of 28 World Heritage sites. Of the 28 sites, 21 are in England.  Following is a partial listing of the 21 sites in England in no particular order.

Canterbury Cathedral, Listed in 2000

The original cathedral on the site was built in 597 AD under the direction of St. Augustine. Over the years many parts of the cathedral have been rebuilt for various reasons ranging from damage caused by war, to the whims of King Henry VIII.  The cathedral is open for visitors from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Saturday, and 12:30pm – 2:30pm on Sunday. 

Durham Castle and Cathedral, Listed in 1986

Durham Castle and Cathedral were built by the Normans between 1093 and 1133. The Normans completed the conquest of England in 1066, and built the castle to act as the first defense, and a buffer between England and Scotland. Today in addition to the Cathedral and Castle, The site is also home to Durham University, and the 12,000 students enrolled there. Every year 600,000 visitors enjoy exploring the site.

Ironbridge, Birthplace of Industry, Listed in 1986

This area is home to 10 award winning museums in the Severn River Valley. The museums display key inventions that fueled the Industrial revolution and set industry on the path it follows, even today. The museums are open 7 days a week from 10:00am – 5:00pm. The site also holds classes in how things work, how they are built, and has a host of displays that challenge the minds of students.

Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City, Listed 2004

The WHS site in Liverpool is a collection of sites that attest to Liverpool’s importance in the development of merchant trade. You can visit areas like Pier Head, Albert Dock, and several other important areas of the city that were instrumental in the development of modern world trade. 

The Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site, Listed 2001

This area of England is also known as the Jurassic Coast. The coast is 95 miles long and is located on the southern coast of England, extending from Dorset in the east to East Devon in the west.  The rock formations have recorded 185 million years of environmental change, dating back to the Mesozoic Era. The site has dozens of museums and centers along roads and hiking paths to promote learning for people of all ages.

English Riviera Geopark, Listed 2007

The Geopark tells the stunning story about the interaction of geophysical forces and how they shape the landscape we live in today.  The park includes areas that range from the tropical climate found at the Marine Devonian to the dry Permian desert. This area is also home to Agatha Christie, whose mystery novels have sold over 2 billion copies worldwide.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Listed 1986

This site is home to the ruins of a 12th century Abbey, a medieval deer park, and the Studley Royal Water Garden.  The site provides guided tours for all ages that help you learn about the heritage of England. The site contains things like the earliest ice houses, that were used to store ice collected in the winter for use in the summer. To learn more about what this site offers you can visit their website here: Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.

Stonehenge, Listed 1986

Located in the near Salisbury, this sites purpose remains one of the greatest man made mysteries on earth.  Is it a calendar of some sort?  Is it a temple?  How did they manage to move these stones from so far away, using only primitive tools?  Built around 2500 BC the site remains one of the most recognized prehistoric sites in the world.  In the surrounding area archeologist have discovered human activity dating back to Mesolithic Period (8000 – 7500 BC).

For information about other WHS sites in England you can visit here to use an interactive map that will take you to the web pages of the WHS sites: Interactive Map of WHS sites in England.