England's World Heritage Story - The North

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

The World’s Heritage. England’s Story. Come on in.

Welcome to England’s World Heritage Story – your chance to experience one of the greatest stories ever told. A tale of mighty Emperors, ancient mystics, poetic dreamers and four lads from Liverpool that changed the world. A story like no other, from our fireside to yours.


England’s Northern World Heritage Collection is a Visit England DEF project led by Cumbria Tourism. Its primary goal is to raise awareness of and increase visitor numbers to the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in across Northern England via the creation of bespoke itineraries aimed at the ‘mature experience seeker’ from Ireland and the United States.

Getting Here and Around

Northern England is well served by international airports in Liverpool, Leeds-Bradford, Newcastle and Manchester – all of which have direct flights from Ireland. Manchester is also served by direct flights from Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington. The expected opening of an airport in Carlisle will make the Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall even more accessible than ever.
There are rail connections throughout the north, linking all major town and cities, as well as an extensive network of rail links to the smaller towns and villages. No point in Northern England is more than a 3-hour train journey from London, or 2/2½-hours from Edinburgh.
All six of Northern England’s World Heritage Sites are close to each other, with no more than a 90-minute drive separating one from its nearest neighbour. Two – Lake District National Park and Hadrian’s Wall – are closer still, about an hour apart.
There are direct ferry services connecting Ireland with Liverpool, Heysham (Lancashire) and the north Welsh port of Holyhead, which is less than two hours from Liverpool.
Englands World Heritage Story - The North

Lake District National Park

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

Beauty takes its time. In this case, 500 million years. But the result is a landscape of mountains, lakes and tarns that has long since bewitched poets and painters; beguiled walkers, hikers and nature lovers; and inspired the birth of the conservation movement, with the understanding that beautiful landscapes restore the human spirit.

In the 18th century the Lake District was ‘discovered’ by the creative community, particularly the Romantics like Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey – collectively known as ‘the Lake Poets’ – who treated the landscape as a source of sublime inspiration and copper-fastened their conviction that communion with nature could solve all human problems.

But the Lake District is much more than just beautiful lakes and towering peaks. It is a cultural landscape of profound significance – from ancient slate mines to traditional stone walls and old-fashioned farming practices, all of which are still in evidence today. Consistent preservation efforts have ensured that much of the landscape you see today – the stone-walled fields and rugged farm buildings in their spectacular natural backdrop – is as the 18th-century poets would have seen them.

The spread of industrialisation and the beauty of the Lake District inspired 19th century campaigners to protect ‘open spaces,’ which later gave rise to the National Trust and inspired the pioneers of national parks in countries throughout the world.


One of the best-known campaigners for conservation in the Lake District was Beatrix Potter, who lived in the area and bred her own flock of native Herdwick sheep – and her commitment to conservation brought her to be a co-founder of the National Trust.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall is a perfect example of the Romans forward-thinking, planning, tenacity and power. Begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian, this impressive defensive fortification is the most important monument of Roman Britain. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west, spanning 73 miles and was the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire.

A significant portion of the wall still stands today, along with many of the forts, milecastles and turrets. A popular way to visit is on foot along the Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail - a long-distance footpath running from coast to coast.

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

Other highlights include:

• CORBRIDGE ROMAN TOWN - Walk along a Roman high street and don't miss the Corbridge Hoard - one of the most significant finds from Roman Britain.

• CHESTERS ROMAN FORT AND MUSEUM - The best-preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Explore a Roman bath-house complex and a Victorian-style museum full of incredible finds.

• HOUSESTEADS ROMAN FORT - Take in breath-taking panoramic views and wander the most complete example of a Roman Fort anywhere in Britain.

• BIRDOSWALD ROMAN FORT The best place to see the longest continuous stretch of the wall today. Don't miss the Roman fort, turret and milecastle too.


Hadrian’s Wall was the main area of operations for the ‘Border Reivers,’ raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ballads and their words are now common in the English language such as “bereave” and “blackmail”: greenmail was the proper rent you paid, blackmail was “protection money”! Presidents Andrew Jackson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon are all descendants of border reivers, as was Neil Armstrong, who visited the area the year after he walked on the moon.

Durham Castle & Cathedral

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

Two of the greatest monuments of the Norman Conquest of Britain face each other in a dramatic setting on a narrow peninsula, in one of England’s most attractive medieval towns.

Durham Cathedral, built between 1093 and 1133, is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe – and the first European cathedral to be roofed with stone-ribbed vaulting, which allowed for the construction of the pointed transverse arches and hey presto! the Gothic style of architecture was born.

The site is also outstanding because of its political history: The Castle and Cathedral reflect the unique status of the Prince-Bishops of Durham. The Prince-Bishops were religious leaders who also had secular powers — they governed a virtually autonomous state that formed the buffer zone between England and Scotland from the late eleventh century until 1603.

It’s also the final resting places of St Cuthbert, the saint whose place of burial has been a place of pilgrimage for over 1500 years; and the Venerable Bede, the 7th century scribe who is credited as the ‘inventor of England’ and the father of English history.


In the Middle Ages, anyone who’d fallen foul of a court judgement could bank the main knocker and ask for 37 days’ sanctuary in the cathedral before having to serve their sentence.

Studley Royal Park & Fountains Abbey

Studley Royal is one of the few great 18th-century gardens to survive substantially in its original form and is one of the most spectacular water gardens in England. The landscape garden is an outstanding example of the development of the ‘English’ garden style throughout the 18th century, which influenced the rest of Europe.

It was designed around the equally spectacular ruins of Fountains Abbey, one of the few Cistercian houses to survive from the 12th century and providing an unrivalled picture of a great religious house in all its parts.

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

The remainder of the estate is no less significant. At the west end of the estate is the transitional Elizabethan/Jacobean Fountains Hall, partially built from reclaimed abbey stone. With its distinctive Elizabethan façade enhanced by a formal garden with shaped hedges, it is an outstanding example of its period.


The creator of Studley Royal was John Aislabie, a politician who was directly involved in the scandalous South Sea Bubble of 1719. The revelations of his involvement led to his resignation and imprisonment for corruption. Upon his release, he retired to Studley and devoted the rest of his life to the development of the gardens.


Englands World Heritage Story - The North

Saltaire is a complete and well-preserved industrial village of the second half of the 19th century, created by industrialist Titus Salt for the maximum benefit of his workers.

The architectural and engineering quality of the complete ensemble, comprising the exceptionally large and unified Salt's Mill buildings and the New Mill; the hierarchical employees' housing, the Dining Room, Congregational Church, almshouses, hospital, school, institute and Roberts Park – all built in a 25-year building spree.

Its textile mills, public buildings and workers' housing are built in a harmonious style of high architectural standards and the urban plan survives intact, giving a vivid impression of Victorian philanthropic paternalism, which in turn had a profound influence on developments in industrial social welfare and urban planning in the United Kingdom and beyond – including Italy and the United States.


When Salts Mill opened in 1853, it was the biggest factory in the world. 3000 workers toiled away at 1200 looms, producing 30,000 yards of cloth every single day. Today part of the old factory is home to the world’s largest permanent collection of art by David Hockney, who is from the area.

Liverpool, Mercantile Maritime City

Liverpool ‘invented’ the modern port. As a key centre of trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, Liverpool was a centre of technological innovation - particularly in the development of modern port technology, transport systems and management – advances that influenced ports all over the world.

And if the story seems a little ‘wet,’ in Liverpool it’s anything but. The huge wealth that trade brought to the city was translated into architectural grandeur, as reflected in its stunning collection of public buildings, including the ‘Three Graces’ - the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building, which is topped by Liverpool's symbol, the famous 5.5m copper Liver Bird - St George's Hall and the magnificent neo-Gothic Liverpool Cathedral, Britain's largest church and the world's largest Anglican cathedral.

Englands World Heritage Story - The North

The story of the port – both good and bad – is told in brilliant, exciting detail in the cluster of museums around Albert Dock, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum, which pulls no punches in acknowledging the city’s role in the horrors of the slave trade.

And the port helped to indirectly shape pop culture. In the 1950s, the latest rock ‘n’ roll records from America would arrive first here, giving Liverpool a jump-start on the emergence of British rock 'n' roll in the 1960s and the explosion of the Beatles. This story is told in Liverpool's most popular fee-charging museum, the Beatles Story, also on Albert Dock. Liverpool's central role in the development of rock 'n' roll told in the British Music Experience on the ground floor (once a first-class lounge and waiting room) of one of the city's most iconic buildings, the Cunard Building.


The warehouses on Albert Dock are the biggest collection of protected buildings in the UK outside of London.

Englands World Heritage Story - The North