York added to Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status

Cultural and natural heritage sites including York’s historic city centre are a step closer to becoming
UNESCO World Heritage Sites after gaining Government backing for their bids.

Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the Tentative List
meaning they are now part of a seven site list to be put forward by the Government for inscription
on the illustrious list.

The Tentative List is published around every ten years by the UK Government. It sets out the sites it
feels have the best chance of succeeding and will now work with local authorities and devolved
administrations to develop their bids.

Cultural sites on the list include York which has fantastic civic and religious buildings including its
Minster as well as a rich history left behind by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants.

UNESCO also awards World Heritage Site status to the most extraordinary natural places on the

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.
“These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”

Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “We are thrilled with this acknowledgement of York’s world-class heritage and its universal historic and archaeological importance. The various communities in York have worked hard together to achieve this place on the new UK Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and they
deserve the recognition this status brings.
“York is an outstanding example of continuous urban development over 2,000 years since its foundation as a Roman legionary fortress with evidence of every succeeding period on its urban development. The collection of medieval stained glass in York Minster and the historic parish churches in the city centre is unrivalled. York embraces and values this heritage and will manage it sensitively so that the city continues as a vibrant, innovative, living city.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site system offers a fantastic opportunity for cultural and natural heritage sites to gain international recognition and promote themselves on a global stage. If successful, the seven sites would join the 33 other World Heritage Sites already based in the UK including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.


Notes to editors

UK Tentative List:

Birkenhead the People’s Park [Cultural]East Atlantic Flyway – England East Coast Wetlands [Natural]The Flow Country [Natural]Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements [Cultural, Transnational]Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas [Natural]York [Cultural]The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland [Cultural]

Full list of current UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK (year of listing in brackets):
Cultural Sites
● 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, 2005, 2008)
● Gorham’s Cave Complex (2016)
● Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
● Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
● Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
● Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019)
● Maritime Greenwich (1997)
● New Lanark (2001)
● Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
● Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey (1987)
● 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)
● The English Lake District (2017)
● The Forth Bridge (2015)
● The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021)
● The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales (2021)
● Tower of London (1988)
Natural Sites
● Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
● Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
● Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995, 2004)
● Henderson Island (1988)
Mixed Cultural / Natural
● St Kilda (1986, 2004, 2005)

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