World Heritage

World Heritage in the UK
The latest UK World Heritage Site is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, inscribed in 2009. There are currently 28 World Heritage Sites in the UK.

Map of UK World Heritage Sites 

Decisions by 35th session of the World Heritage Committee, Paris, June 2011

UK Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List:

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)
Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (2004)
Maritime Greenwich (1997)
New Lanark (2001)
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
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)
Tower of London (1988)
Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret’s Church (1987)

Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995)
Henderson Island (1988)

St Kilda (1986)


ICOMOS has a special responsibility to UNESCO as an official adviser on cultural World Heritage Sites and ICOMOS-UK plays an essential role in advising on aspects of World Heritage and sites for nomination across the UK.

ICOMOS-UK is recognised by the Government as having special status in regard to World Heritage sites. This recognition is made manifest in planning policy guidance, which cites ICOMOS-UK as the consultative body for UK World Heritage sites.

The work of ICOMOS-UK is guided by ICOMOS and we abide by the ICOMOS World Heritage Mandate. This policy is designed to avoid situations where perceptions of conflict of interest may arise and those that raise questions concerning the validity of its professional opinions.

ICOMOS-UK is not a statutory consultee for planning applications relating to World Heritage sites in the UK, but we comment on major development proposals which we consider affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage site. This part of our work is independent of our funders.

Some of ICOMOS-UK’s World Heritage work is supported by:

English Heritage

Historic Scotland


World Heritage Convention and ICOMOS

The World Heritage Convention, 1972, for the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, recognises sites of ‘outstanding universal value’, which are part of the world’s heritage of mankind as a whole and deserve protection and transmission to future generations

ICOMOS provides the UNESCO World Heritage Committee with evaluations of cultural and mixed properties, which are proposed by State Parties for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is the statutory body responsible for decision-making on all matters related to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. It meets once a year, in June, to:

  • Select new properties for the World Heritage List from among those nominated by different countries
  • Examine reports on the state of conservation of properties on the World Heritage List
  • Allocate finances of the World Heritage Fund for properties in need of repair; for emergency action; for providing technical assistance and training; and for promotional and educational activities

Nomination of a World Heritage Site

Barge on Pontcysyllte Aquaduct and Canal

Barge on Pontcysyllte Aquaduct and Canal, photo: Mike Sheldon

The UK government (state party) is responsible for submitting sites to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), on behalf of the government is permitted to nominate one UK site per year from the government’s Tentative List.

World Heritage Centre

Current news, events and information about World Heritage are managed and presented by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Frequently Asked Questions about World Heritage

Periodic Monitoring

Every six years, States Parties are invited to submit to the World Heritage Committee a periodic report on the application of the World Heritage Convention, including the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties located on its territories.