There are an amazing amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England.
If you wanted to travel England by UNESCO then you’d get a good look at the key places to visit in England, as well as some of the smaller villages and countryside locations that make up our wonderful country.
UNESCO has awarded the most beautiful places around the world as World Heritage Sites, and there are 32 in England.
A World Heritage Site doesn’t have to be a building. It can be anything that depicts a culture, or anything natural. These sites are considered to have a universal value which not only enriches the minds of the current generation, but it will give the future generations a reason to look back and be proud of their ancestors.
England is a beautiful blend of architectural and scenic beauty. It has a rich cultural heritage which reflects in the architecture all over the country. The majority of England’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites are cultural, and portray the best of the country.
Read on for your guide to the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites of England.
Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England
1. Tower of London, London
The Tower of London is almost 1,000 years old and so has significant history attached to it. It’s a castle and a fortress and is located in Central London, just on the river banks of Tower Hill.
The Tower of London was used as a royal residence, barracks, museum, armoury and prison. Now it is the home to the precious Crown Jewels of England.
Over the years many famous and infamous prisoners were prisoned here.
Being one of England’s iconic structures, this place has great value to the history and culture of England. Back in 1066 when William the Conquerer built this tower, he strategically sited it along the River Thames to protect the city of London. But now River Thames just serves to add the perfect setting to the splendour of the tower.
People from all over the world visit the Tower of London – it’s one of the best tourist attractions in London, and England. One of the best ways to see it is to opt for a cruise on the River Thames to take in the gorgeous views of the majestic tower.
Thanks to its rich history, entertaining beefeaters, resident crows, and spooky torture chamber stories, the Tower of London is one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England.
2. Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Windsor Castle stands tall in the north-eastern edge of the district of Windsor in the county of Berkshire. It’s a stunning peak on the Windsor skyline when you look across, and you can’t miss it as you drive around the town.
Check the Windsor Castle website and make sure to arrive for the Changing of the Guard, it’s quite the spectacle!
Price Harry and Meghan Markle married in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, for all the world to see. You can stand on the very steps where they did, and go in the chapel too. Imagine standing at the front with all those people watching, like they did!
Windsor Castle has private apartments for the royal family and visitors – unfortunately their visitors, not you. As a member of the public visiting the castle you can see the Grand Reception room, St. George’s Hall, and the Waterloo Chamber.
One of the highlights of visiting Windsor Castle is to see the Queen Mary’s Dolls House. It’s a to-scale miniature house, with five floors and exact replicas of what would be in a town house of the day. Even the tiny bottles of wine have actual wine in, and the electrics work, and water, and, famous authors of the day have written teeny tiny books to go in there. It really is an incredible thing to see.
The Windsor Castle Royal Library holds a priceless collection of work by some renowned artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Hans Holbein the Younger.
Windsor Castle is my favourite UNESCO World Heritage Site on this list, you need to go and see it. And, there’s a coffee shop opening soon too – woohoo!
3. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world and one of England’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites. This place is prehistoric and is as old as 3,000 B.C. It’s the most popular day out in Wiltshire.
Stonehenge is one of our UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of the mystery of the stones. No one knows how the Neolithic were able to raise such heavy and huge stones to form them into what we know now as Stonehenge. The largest of these stones weigh more than 40 tonnes.
How did they do it?!
So the legend goes that the Neolithic erected a unique stone circle in the 2500 B.C – they used it as a burial site and temple. They would worship here and made it a religious holy place.
Currently, the neo-pagans also consider Stonehenge as a holy place and they perform their pilgrimages here. The structure here is what makes it just so amazing.
Try to get in at sunrise or sunset for a unique and memorable experience.
4. The City of Bath, Somerset
Another UNESCO World Heritage site in England is the City of Bath, in the county of Somerset. It was named ‘Bath’ because of the Roman baths built there. When the Romans arrived here they made the city a spa by building baths here from the hot springs in the valley. If you visit, you’ll see they did a great job.
They also built a temple in the valley of the River Avon.
Because of the Roman remains present in Bath from the 18th century architecture, UNESCO awarded it World Heritage Site status.
Bath holds great significance in England, culturally and historically – the whole city is a heritage wonder. Some of the most famous attributes of this city are:
- Hot springs
- Roman archaeology
- 18th-century town planning
- 18th century architecture
- Social setting
UNESCO added this city to its World Heritage list almost three decades ago – Bath is an absolute must visit in England. Check out our full guide to a day in Bath here.
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5. Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey
The Palace of Westminster is also known as the Houses of Parliament. Built in the 19th century, the Palace of Westminster is a grand, gothic-style building where the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet. These are the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Just a short walk away Westminster Abbey is where many coronations and royal occasions are held. Many royal weddings have taken place in Westminster Abbey – Prince William got married to Kate Middleton here in 2011.
Many kings, queens, ad prime ministers have been buried in the Westminster Abbey and you can visit and see their gravestones and mausoleums.
On the east side of the palace, stands tall the world-famous Big Ben. Known as the Elizabeth Tower initially, Big Ben was constructed when the new palace was built. It was designed by Charles Barry and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in London. The neo-gothic style tower has a loud bell and its supposedly super accurate time makes it famous.
6. St. Paul’s Cathedral
England is full of cathedrals and churches that will swoosh you off your feet due to their beauty and opulence.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the famous cathedrals in England, mainly due to the 1,200 years of history attached to it, and for the fact that many important events took place here. Most famously, Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married here in 1981.
Almost 237 steps take you to the Dome of this World Heritage Site in England. Make it to the top and you can enjoy the awe-inspiring views of London’s skyline.
Check out the Whispering Gallery – famous for being able to hear a whisper from 100 feet away.
The interior of St Paul’s Cathedral is purely magnificent and you can soak up the splendour the moment you step through the door.
7. Studley Royal Park and Ruins of Fountains Abbey
Studley Royal Park has some amazing sites which make it famous for being a UNESCO world heritage site. There are the vast late Elizabethan Fountains Halls, the Medieval Deer Park, and the Georgian Water Garden.
You’ll find ornamental lakes, temples, cascades, and canals within the park all with the aim to impress. All these sites make The Studley Royal Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the cultural and architectural richness which is found there.
Another site which adds to the importance of Studley Royal Park is the vast ruins of the Fountains Abbey. This is one of the largest preserved ruins which have been conserved to keep its authenticity intact dating from 1132. The history attached to the Fountains Abbey starts when Henry VIII broke the Catholic Church in Roman.
During that process, many monastic foundations were formed and Fountains Abbey was one of them.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England
England is not only famous for its fish and chips, tea and Wimbledon. The architecture and history here make it an important asset to the world.
The great rivers, small streams, its fertile land, and the many heritage sites it holds make it more significant in the world. These are just a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites but once you start learning about world heritage sites in England, you will come across many other places that have historical and cultural significance.
The architecture, the history, and the culture all work together in making a place a heritage. England is famous for its iconic landmarks and mind-blowing landscapes. You are sure to learn something when you are visiting England, let it be its history or its culture. Do visit these heritage sites while you stay in England, you will not only enrich your mind but your soul as well.
More UNESCO World Heritage Sites in England
8. Blenheim Palace
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