World Heritage Day

World Heritage Day 2017 showcases the UK’s ’Wonders of the World’ in a global day of celebration


Press release April 11th 2017: World Heritage Day 2017 showcases the UK’s ’Wonders of the World’ in a global day of celebration

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind and protecting and preserving these amazing places demands the collective efforts of all of us.  World Heritage Day, on the 18th of April, offers an opportunity to raise people’s awareness about the diversity of cultural and natural heritage we have in the UK and across the world, and the efforts that are required to look after it. Put simply, it is an opportunity to shout about how fantastic our World Heritage is, and you can find out more at

April 18th is an ‘official’ international celebration day first proposed by ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites and then approved by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (the part of the UN that manages World Heritage) – in 1983. Each year has a theme, and this year’s theme is sustainable tourism, but many Sites simply choose to use the day to raise awareness.

A number of UK World Heritage Sites are celebrating the day this year with a programme of events, including the City of Bath, Durham Cathedral, Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, Ironbridge Gorge, Saltaire, Maritime Greenwich, and all of the six Scottish World Heritage Sites. Activities include diverting rivers, creating St Kilda in Minecraft, guided walks, illuminations, craft activities, ceramics workshops, games, short talks and even yarnbombing!

World Heritage UK, the national charity that represents the UK’s 30 World Heritage Sites is collating this information on its website at so make this your first point of call for your guide to the day. We are also preparing a Twitter Thunderclap and will have a Twitter World Heritage hour in the afternoon on the 18th, so keep watching the hashtag #WHDay2017 and sign up to our twitter feed at @worldheritageuk to see what happens!

Dr Sam Rose, Chair of World Heritage UK, says “We have 30 outstanding UK World Heritage Sites, 25 of which are on the mainland of our four home nations, ranging from the spectacular Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales, through to the Palace of Westminster and the Neolithic Sites of Orkney. Even if your local World Heritage Site doesn’t have an event on the 18th April, please pay it a visit and be amazed.” The full list of UK World Heritage Sites can be seen at

St Kilda - Image from

Celebrating thirty years of World Heritage in the United Kingdom


Celebrating thirty years of World Heritage in the United Kingdom

Happy New Year to all our followers – thank you for staying in touch and please do let us know if you have any stories you would like us to post on this blog.

2016 is special for World Heritage in the UK as it is the 30th anniversary of the inscription of our first seven Sites onto the World Heritage List. Those sites are: St Kilda, Giant’s Causeway, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd, Durham Castle and Cathedral, Ironbridge Gorge, Studley Royal Park including the ruins of Fountains Abbey and Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites. The seven sites were inscribed at the 10th session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris from 24 – 28 November 1986.

The UK signed the Convention in 1984 and these were seven of 36 sites that were on the UK tentative list at that time. Since then a further 19 UK mainland Sites and three Sites in overseas territories have been added to the UK’s 29 World Heritage Sites. The most recent Site was the Forth Rail Bridge added in July 2015.

Each Site will be holding a series of events celebrating the anniversary. Keep an eye out on this website and those of each WHS for updates on a wide range of events and activities to celebrate the anniversary.

Most sites are also on Twitter. We’d love to see your photos of the seven anniversary Sites. You can share thoughts, comments and events on Twitter using #WHS30.

For further information about UK World Heritage Sites you can find more detail at:


For information about the 7 Sites see below:

St Kilda (image above)


Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast


The Castles and Town Walls of Edward I in Gwynedd


Durham Castle and Cathedral


Ironbridge Gorge


Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey


Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

FOLLY! Transforming the Georgian follies of Studley Royal Water Garden


'Scavenger' at Fountains Abbey & Studley RoyalTransforming the Georgian follies of Studley Royal Water Garden 25 April – 29 November 2015

Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbour Fountains Abbey, the dramatic Studley Royal water garden is a masterpiece in its own right and the reason this National Trust property near Ripon is a World Heritage Site.  The eye-catching follies of the water garden will be re-imagined this year for the very first time and brought to life through the vision and creativity of three inventive artists and designers.

The original designers of the Studley Royal Water Garden, the Aislabie family, created many follies on this vast and beautiful estate to surprise and delight their eighteenth-century guests. The landscape they created was the height of fashion in its day.  A place for escapism and pleasure, here esteemed guests would have been invited to while away the hours by mirror-like ponds, gentle cascades and classical statues. Key to this picture are the follies, the whimsical buildings designed to catch the eye and draw attention to a carefully created view or vista. The sense of theatre in their original design is echoed in these innovative and astonishing artworks.

Gary McCann explores the relationship between man and nature with his piece ‘Scavenger’ in the Banqueting House, a fantastical creature on a grand scale, while within the smooth classical pillars of the Temple of Fame the invasion of the landscape continues with his installation ‘Lost Property’. Gary McCann is internationally renowned for his inventive and theatrical approach to set and costume design. His audacious style has led him to producing work for many of the world’s leading theatre and opera companies including the National Theatre in the West End, on Broadway and the Vienna State Opera.

Irene Brown’s work ‘Hall of Mirrors’ will transform the inside of the Octagon Tower into a world of shifting perspectives and infinite views. Turning the idea of follies to provide viewing points to distant prospects or along carefully-constructed avenues on its head, the artist turns the viewer into the subject with mirrors evocative of the opulence of the period, epitomised by the great hall of mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Irene Brown is an artist and academic whose research and practice is engaged with wonder, focusing on the history and philosophy of science.

Simon Costin delves into the history, folklore and ancient mythology of the Water Garden in the Temple of Piety where bizarre secrets are revealed and a strange series of events unfold. The estate papers of the late Professor Dennistoun will take you on a journey of discovery in this ‘ancient place of worship now in ruin’. Simon Costin studied Theatre Design and history of Art and has grown to become an internationally respected art director, curator and set designer. He is renowned for the conceptually ambitious nature of his designs for some of the country’s biggest fashion names including Alexander McQueen.

Folly! launches on Saturday 25 April and runs until Sunday 29 November 2015. You can pick up a mini guide to lead you or use a ‘marvellously magical family map’ to create your own journey of exploration.

Find out more on the National Trust website here

Celebrate World Heritage Day at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal


World Heritage Day Fountains AbbeyThis This weekend Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, a National Trust site near Ripon, will be celebrating their World Heritage Site status with a real life medieval encampment.

Experience life in a medieval village at the time of the abbey’s heyday as re-enactors Rosa Mundi return to set up camp by the abbey. See and smell the fifteenth century brought to life with a programme of traditional crafts, cookery and archery.  You can join in with activities and games at Swanley Grange and follow a Lost Places trail to discover the buildings you never knew had existed, including Studley Royal House in the deer park, once home to the Aislabie family who created the Studley Royal water garden.

You’ll also find out more about what makes Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal a World Heritage Site and how the National Trust care for this special place. You might be surprised know the eighteenth century water garden and the way the abbey ruins were incorporated into this forward-thinking garden design is the main reason the estate is a World Heritage Site. There will be tours of the abbey (daily 11.30am & 2.30pm) and of the abbey and water garden (daily 1.30pm), as well as a special tour to explore the hidden messages of this unique water garden (Sat 18 April, 2pm).

World Heritage Day is celebrated around the globe, raising awareness of the diversity of cultural and natural heritage and the 1007 places listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.  At Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Roman Fort, another National Trust property in the North East of England, they’ll also be hosting talks and tours on Saturday 18 April.

Visit to find out more about this weekend’s event at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal.