Wonder on your doorstep: The UK's best World Heritage sites

Watch this: Unesco announces 9 new additions to World Heritage Site List

When you think of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you might imagine the Acropolis in Athens or the Grand Canyon - but there are plenty more impressive ancient buildings and incredible natural landscapes much closer to home. 

Read this: North Wales slate landscape named World Heritage Site

In fact, in light of the news that a Welsh slate landscape has become the latest UNESCO site in the UK, here are our country's most awe-inspiring World Heritage Sites.

Gwynedd

A slate landscape in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, has been granted World Heritage Status (Getty Images)
A slate landscape in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, has been granted World Heritage Status (Getty Images)

The striking slate landscape surrounding Snowdonia, in the county of Gwynedd, has just been awarded Unesco status - making it the fourth World Heritage site in Wales. 

The area was dramatically reshaped by centuries of mining in the area, as it served international demand for Welsh slate on a massive scale. 

Stonehenge

An aerial view of Stonehenge on a beautiful morning (Getty Images)
An aerial view of Stonehenge on a beautiful morning (Getty Images)

This 5000-year-old monument on Salisbury Plain is such a national icon that it's easy to forget how strange and wonderful it really is - we still don't know for sure why prehistoric people, armed only with simple tools and technologies, made the enormous effort to build a huge stone circle. 

We do know that on the Summer Solstice the sun sends its first rays of light straight into the heart of Stonehenge, and it's still a very spiritual place for many people. 

The City of Bath

The beautifully-preserved Roman baths in the aptly named city of Bath (Getty Images)
The beautifully-preserved Roman baths in the aptly named city of Bath (Getty Images)

An appealing mixture of ancient buildings and elegant Georgian architecture, Bath is one UK city that's unquestionably easy on the eye. Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, it boomed in popularity during the 18th century - and Jane Austen made it her home between 1801 and 1806, when it was a mecca for fashionable high society. 

Hadrian's Wall

A stunning stretch of Hadrian's Wall in the Northumberland National Park (Getty Images)
A stunning stretch of Hadrian's Wall in the Northumberland National Park (Getty Images)

Now part of a larger 'Frontiers of The Roman Empire' World Heritage Site, Hadrian's Wall was (unsurprisingly) originally built upon the orders of Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. It separated Roman Britannia (modern-day England) from the unconquered Caledonia (Scotland) to the north. 

It still stands in many places, running through some of our most beautiful countryside. 

St Kilda

St. Kilda lies beyond the Outer Hebrides in the North Atlantic Ocean (Getty Images)
St. Kilda lies beyond the Outer Hebrides in the North Atlantic Ocean (Getty Images)

It's not easy to reach St Kilda, a far-flung uninhabited archipelago off the already remote islands of the Outer Hebrides, but intrepid travellers will be greeted with wild scenery, unique wildlife and the fascinating ruins of a tragically lost way of life. 

The UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of only 39 in the world, St Kilda was home to a community of people for at least 4,000 years - living off the gannets, fulmars and puffins for food, feathers and oil.

It was a tough life, and the final 36 islanders were finally evacuated in 1930. Nowadays, it's home to one million seabirds, including the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic puffins. 

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway seashore has to be seen to be believed (Getty Images)
The Giant's Causeway seashore has to be seen to be believed (Getty Images)

A sight like no other, the Giant's Causeway is made up of 40,000 huge, polygonal black basalt columns which thrust out of the sea. 

Created by volcanic activity up to 60 million years ago, the natural wonder has inspired ancient legends about giants striding over the sea to Scotland - most notably Fingal's Cave on the uninhabited island Staffa, which is made up of hexagonally jointed basalt columns. 

Watch this: New Unesco world heritage sites

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