World Heritage Day: Top 5 UK Sites to Visit
Posted on 18th April 2023 at 15:23
A world heritage site is a landmark or an area that is protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). All of these sites will have some kind of cultural, historic or scientific significance and are extremely valuable to the history of humanity.
The World Heritage List features 33 sites or properties that are located in the United Kingdom. We have chosen our Top 5 sites that you can visit this summer:
5. Durham Castle
Look familiar? It might look familiar as it was used for filming Harry Potter movies. So while it attracts many fans of the franchise it is a famous landmark and a world heritage site on its own merit. Built by the Normans in the 11th and 12th century as a site to house the Bishop of Durham so he could watch over the area on behalf of William the Conqueror. The castle was witness to many historical events including the seizure by King Henry II and was even a command post during World War II. It was only spared during the Baedeker Blitz because it happened to be too foggy on the day.
These days it is home to around 100 students as the castle was donated to Durham University in 1837.
Bath, the entire city, is mentioned on the list due to its historical significance. It was founded by the Romans in 1AD when its hot springs let to baths being developed as a shrine to the goddess Sulis. Over the years archaeologists have found numerous remains and artifacts which added to the importance when it came to learning about our ancient history. After a brief spell as home to the wool industry it was turned into a luxurious spa city by King George I, made famous by its literature, art and architecture.
Amazing things to see include the Roman Baths, one of the many museums and galleries or some of the incredible architectural triumphs including The Royal Crescent, The Circus, and Pulteney Bridge.
3. Palace of Westminster / Westminster Abbey
Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, the palace itself was built in the mid-19th century. This is the meeting place for the British government. Westminster Abbey, a royal church, is much older.
The Abbey dates back to the 13th century and since 1066 it has been the site of coronations of monarchs. It has been host to around 16 royal weddings and a burial site for a number of kings, queens, prime ministers and even authors including Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer. Both sites are open to the public and offer fascinating tours around the grounds.
2. Tower of London
An imposing tower that was built by William the Conqueror to establish control and dominance over the City of London shortly after the Norman invasion of 1066. Over the centuries this site has been a castle, a jail, a royal palace, and the home of the Crown Jewels. Notable prisoners include two of Henry VIII’s wives (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard), Princess Elizabeth (Elizabeth I), Guy Fawkes and Edward V.
These days, its visitors are actually allowed to leave as it has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the whole of London. Offering amazing tours and incredible sites including the Crown Jewels, the Guards, The Ravens and the immersive Gunpowder Plot exhibition.
1. Stonehenge / Avebury Stone Circles
How did they get there? Where did they come from? Why are they there? Nobody really knows, but we all have fun trying to figure it out. What we do know, is that large stone circles were built in the Wiltshire area between 3000 and 2000 BC. Stonehenge is arguably the most famous stone circle site in the world and is also the most intact. Avebury, however, is the largest. This stone circle surrounds the entire village of Avebury and measures at a circumference of over 1km. An incredible feat of engineering from the neolithic age and a sight to behold, any time of the year.
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