World Heritage

Areas of Outstanding Universal Value that belong to all the peoples of the world

World Heritage Sites are areas of Outstanding Universal Value meaning that their cultural or natural heritage is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and is of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.

They belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. As a result they are intended to promote peace and intercultural understanding as well as collective responsibility for the protection of our shared cultural and natural heritage.

The World Heritage Centre based in Paris, is the global focal point for the world’s 1031 World Heritage Sites. The World Heritage Committee, which is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention meets annually.

All UK World Heritage sites, are represented by World Heritage UK, a networking and advocacy group for UK World Heritage Sites which, with the support of UKNC, aims to raise the profile of World Heritage at home and abroad and provide support to current and prospective World Heritage Sites. The UK and its Overseas Territories’ 30 World Heritage Sites are the ultimate responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. DCMS also manages the process to become a World Heritage Site in the UK.

See the video below providing an introduction to the UK’s World Heritage Sites. The video was produced for the 30th Anniversary of UK World Heritage Sites by Historic England in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO, ICOMOS-UK and World Heritage UK.

Wider Value to the UK

The UK's World Heritage Sites generated an estimated £85 million from April 2014 to March 2015 through their association with the global network. Source: Wider Value of UNESCO to the UK

Read more