From expansive mountain ranges and stunning coastlines to vibrant cities and rural landscapes – the UK’s UNESCO sites are destinations of world-class natural and cultural heritage. For the first time a map, designed by Birmingham-based creative cartographer Tom Woolley, brings together all of the Biosphere Reserves, Creative Cities, Global Geoparks and World Heritage Sites across the British Isles that are waiting to be discovered.
Visitors to the sites are invited to immerse themselves in the spectacular vistas of the slate landscape of Northwest Wales or the Scottish Highlands. Dive into the literary heritage of Manchester or Edinburgh. Scale the mountains of the English Lake District or the peaks of Fforest Fawr. Uncover legends and folklore along the Giant’s Causeway or Stonehenge. Breathe in the sea air of Brighton and Lewes, North Devon or the English Riviera. Tackle the northernmost frontiers of the Roman empire by foot or by bike. Stroll around one of the great spa towns of Europe in Bath or a landed estate at Blenheim Palace. And dance the night away in an iconic concert hall in Belfast or at a festival under the stars at one of the world’s largest deep space observatories at Jodrell Bank.
The new map, released online this week, includes 29 World Heritage Sites, 13 Creative Cities, 9 Global Geoparks and 7 Biosphere Reserves that cover 13% of the UK’s landmass. Most of the sites are free to enter and conveniently accessible by public transport offering the public new experiences to discover UNESCO sites in the UK and mark this summer with a visit to one of the world’s most special places.
The map was produced by the UK National Commission for UNESCO as part of its Local to Global project, made possible with the GREAT Campaign and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players. Local to Global aims to develop a resilient network for UNESCO Designated Sites in the UK.
The map can be downloaded from: https://unesco.org.uk/our-sites
“This new UNESCO in the UK map will inspire people for places to visit. It shows at a glance the breadth of amazing natural, cultural and built heritage designated by UNESCO as internationally significant in the UK. This great map highlights places to explore, on your doorstep and further afield, both the famous and those to discover for the first time.”
Chief Executive and Secretary-General, UK National Commission for UNESCO
“I’m immensely proud that Wales is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This new map beautifully illustrates our world class destinations, and as we continue to protect these sites, their significance will be enjoyed by generations to come. Wales is an open and welcoming nation, one that invites the world to discover our natural wonders, culture and heritage which UNESCO sites have to offer.”
First Minister of Wales
“The UK is home to so many extraordinary cultural and natural heritage sites – from Stonehenge and the North Pennines to the Giant’s Causeway, Fforest Fawr and Wester Ross. I hope this beautiful new map will encourage even more people to get out this summer and explore the wide range of wonderful locations recognised by UNESCO in every corner of our country.”
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Minister for Arts & Heritage, UK Government
“The UK`s UNESCO sites are places to share ideas, be inspired and see things differently. This map is an invitation to the world to take part in the UK’s insatiable thirst for discovery that naturally aligns with the GREAT Campaign’s own mission. We want to encourage more people from the UK and from around the world to visit the designated sites and explore the full breadth of world class nature, culture and heritage that the UK has to offer.”
GREAT Campaign Director
“We are delighted to support this project which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will help to inspire more people to visit the fantastic UNESCO sites across the UK. Heritage has a huge role to play in bringing people together and any way that we can enable and inspire this to happen is hugely positive.”
Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund
“The new UNESCO map will encourage visitors to discover new destinations on their doorsteps and further afield, and in Northern Ireland we have breathtaking natural beauty in abundance. Visitors will feel inspired by the many special locations on offer in Northern Ireland, including the Global Geoparks in Fermanagh and in the Mournes, and this new map will show just how accessible they are.”
Chief Executive of Tourism Northern Ireland
“The new UK map will be a helpful pointer to encourage visitors to discover Scotland’s UNESCO treasures and explore our own dedicated trail. Scotland’s UNESCO trail is a global first, taking visitors on a cultural journey across the country, experiencing everything from history to science, music, design and literature to nature and cityscapes. The trail is internationally recognised for encouraging responsible tourism. It includes environmentally friendly travel options like cycling or public transport and partners with businesses which are accredited for their green credentials. Scotland’s UNESCO trail promotes longer visits and wider exploration, all year round, of all the riches on offer. This in turn contributes to the sustainable quality of life of those communities surrounding the designated sites.”
Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade