Britain’s Favourite UNESCO Sites

Britain’s extensive history as a home for civilisation means that it is uniquely detailed with ancient buildings and monuments - but its natural places are just as worthy of celebration. From the iconic City of Bath to the English Lake District, a grassy parade of hills and lakes to the northwest of the country, Britain is as popular with the people that live here as it is with visitors and tourists.

As a quick primer for the curious, we’ve collated the top ten UNESCO World Heritage sites in Britain according to their respective reviews on Google and TripAdvisor. Here they are presented for your adoration.

1. Tower of London

Beginning with the focal point of Britain’s more macabre history, the Tower of London is considered the source of many legends, ghosts, and rumours since its construction between 1078 and 1399. The Tower attracts more than 2m visitors each year, with many arriving just to see the Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters” and their feathered portents of doom, the ravens.

“Scott the Yeoman was easily 11 out of 10. He really made today the best day of our half-term.” - TripAdvisor review.

“The tower oozes history and, each time you step inside, it tells you another of its secrets from years gone by.” - TripAdvisor review.

2. Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey

Arguably, the most recognisable building in Britain, the Palace of Westminster is where Parliament meets, by Westminster Bridge. While what goes on inside the old building might not be to everybody’s approval, the Palace of Westminster helped build the society Britons live in today. It recently celebrated its 1,000th birthday, too. Nearby, the Westminster Abbey holds daily services for all-comers.

“A breathtaking experience. The architecture, design, sculptures, paintings, anti-chambers, galleries; everything was extraordinary.” - Google review.

3. Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

One of the most famous arrangements of rocks in the world, Stonehenge has an average Google rating of 4.4 from 61,593 reviews, helping it take third place on our list. Believed to be a ceremonial place associated with the life cycle and the passage of the sun, Stonehenge sits on the vast Salisbury Plain, which is dotted with other sites that provide a wonderful day out for people of all ages.

“This is by far the most recognized, famous and mysterious location ever to exist.” - Google review.

“Had a stone circle experience at dawn and it was completely perfect and fantastic. Would visit again and again and again.” - Google review.

4. City of Bath

Bath, named for its … bath, has had an association with relaxation since the Roman occupation of Britain. With a combined score of 4.55 from 47,361 visitor reviews, the storied city doesn’t seem to let people down in that respect. There’s more to Bath than Romans, though. The Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, and the oldest surviving 'eating house' in the city, Sally Lunn’s House, all rank highly in tourists’ appraisals.

“Bath is incredibly beautiful. The atmosphere is romantic and good to spend all day getting to know the city.” - TripAdvisor review.

5. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The subject of one of the rarest and most valuable 50 pence coins in existence, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a priceless part of Britain’s makeup all on their own. From its seed conservation efforts and vast woodland areas to one of the largest collections of plants on earth, there are plenty of ways to experience Mother Nature’s bounty in this Sussex-based complex. Wellies are recommended.

“I would recommend it to anyone who loves beautiful, bright flowers & incredible displays.” - Google review.

6. Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd

The only Welsh entry on this list, with 43929 reviews and an average 4.55 rating, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd are not a single location but, rather, parts of Conwy and Caernarfon, in addition to the fortifications at Harlech and Beaumaris. This whole area is a tribute to the genius of its builders, military commanders, and the people who protected it.

“A proper-looking castle, inside and out. There is plenty of information inside to tell you the story of its creator, King Edward I, his queen Eleanor of Castile, and the master mason, Master James of St George. The castle is well-nigh impregnable.” - TripAdvisor review (Caernarfon Castle).

7. The English Lake District

At over 2,292 sq km, the English Lake District has sufficient breadth to include some of Britain’s most famous mountains, including Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, and The Old Man of Coniston. It’s also full of reservoirs and lakes, making the area seem carved and sculpted by hand rather than hewn from the land by the passage of weather and time. One of the greatest treasures the British countryside has to offer.

“We took a cruise around the lake and it gave [us] a fantastic view. Very beautiful under the sunshine after the rain and there were rainbows in the sky.” - TripAdvisor review.

“On a nice sunny day, there is nothing better than sitting by or on the water, enjoying the scenery, with maybe an ice cream in hand.” - TripAdvisor review.

8. Blenheim Palace

The only palace in the country that isn’t owned by The Royal Family, Blenheim Palace is situated within the 224-hectare park of the same name, itself a rather special place to explore. This regal house contains the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, an exhibit dedicated to William Churchill, the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, and the aeroplanes that served in the local area, among other things.

“Too many superlatives to adequately describe this sublime landscape and magnificent Palace. You can easily spend a whole day at Blenheim, provided you have the stamina to get round its huge extent.” - Google review.

9. Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church

Another of the many UNESCO sites to be found in the southern areas of Britain, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church achieved a combined score of 4.3 from 17,098 reviewers. Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of Anglicanism and the domain of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Poet and writer Geoffrey Chaucer immortalised the Cathedral in his The Canterbury Tales, the bane of English literature students everywhere.

“Beautiful building with incredible stained glass windows and stunning architecture. Very helpful and knowledgeable guides enhance your visit with titbits of information about the history of the Cathedral. I would highly recommend a visit to this amazing place.” - Google review.

“You must really admire the effort it took to build such a building as well as the time. It looks big from the outside but when you go in it is vast.” - Google review.

10. Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

The final entry on our list but the first from Scotland, Edinburgh’s various parts tell many different stories. The Old Town is notable for the presence of Edinburgh Castle, the home of the Crown Jewels, which is perched atop a long-dead volcano. In contrast, the New Town is packed with hotels and shops, yet it still retains a history going back to the 18th century. Either is a perfect place to celebrate Hogmanay.

“Beautiful town. Store owners [are] very friendly and plenty to see. Pubs [serve] great whiskey, and food on every corner. Wish we stayed longer.” - TripAdvisor review.

Top 25 UNESCO Sites

Rank UNESCO Site Location Total Reviews Average Rating
1 Tower of London England 143386 4.6
2 Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church England 61758 4.5
3 Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites England 61593 4.425
4 City of Bath England 47361 4.5
5 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England 44218 4.6
6 Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd Wales 43929 4.55
7 The English Lake District England 36140 4.7
8 Blenheim Palace England 19384 4.6
9 Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church England 17098 4.3
10 Old and New Towns of Edinburgh Scotland 16523 4.5
11 Durham Castle and Cathedral England 15889 4.6
12 Maritime Greenwich England 11199 4.35
13 Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey England 9614 4.9
14 Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal Wales 5640 4.65
15 Saltaire England 5583 4.55
16 New Lanark Scotland 4670 4.55
17 Frontiers of the Roman Empire England/Scotland 4219 4.425
18 Jodrell Bank Observatory England 3770 4.25
19 Heart of Neolithic Orkney Scotland 3587 4.85
20 The Forth Bridge Scotland 3390 4.6
21 Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape England 2684 4.6
22 Ironbridge Gorge England 1907 4.4
23 Blaenavon Industrial Landscape Wales 672 4.5
24 Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda Bermuda 51 4.5
25 Gorham's Cave Complex Gibraltar 33 4.5

Last updated by MyJobQuote on 22nd February 2022.
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