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Written by George Fisher


The Lake District’s quest for World Heritage status is officially underway, with 25 of the area’s leading organisations formally endorsing the Lake District’s nomination.

Partners including Cumbria Tourism, National Park Authority, the National Trust and Natural England agreed the documents that make the Lake District’s case for being globally important and deserving its place on the prestigious World Heritage list. The bid is now with the UK government, and formal submission to UNESCO in the ‘cultural landscape’ category will take place in early 2016, with a decision expected in July 2017.

A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance. The official term is World Heritage Inscription and would mean the Lake District appearing on the list of World Heritage Sites.

The bid demonstrates how the landscape of the Lake District has been shaped by farming and local industry for thousands of years, which in turn inspired the Romantic poets and subsequent global conservation movement, including the start of the National Trust.

Anticipated benefits include:

  • The Lake District’s vital farming community would enjoy increased recognition of the cultural role of farming and its integral role with the landscape.
  • The government has pledged to provide resources to protect its World Heritage Sites.
  • Having this status could attract more funding and investment into the Lake District.
  • Just a one per cent increase in visitors spending more on accommodation, leisure and food and drink could boost the Lakes economy by about £20m per year.
  • The profile of the Lake District would be elevated internationally - even more than it is at present! The Lakes would go on the 'A-list' of places to visit.

Being ranked alongside the Grand Canyon, the Tower of London and the Taj Mahal would make a wider audience aware of the Lake District's cultural landscape. But the aim is not necessarily bringing additional visitors; rather attracting higher spending, longer-staying national and international tourists who respect the landscape and explore the area more.

Find out more at

Cover photo: Tony West, courtesy of Cumbria Tourism