Categories: adventurefamilyOutdoorsGeology

Ignite your summer adventures and discover Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark alongside 57 other unique UNESCO sites in the UK and crown dependencies thanks to a newly illustrated map, now available to download for free from the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

From expansive mountain ranges and stunning coastlines to vibrant cities and rural landscapes - the UK's UNESCO sites are destinations of world-class natural and cultural heritage. For the first time a map, designed by the creative cartographer Tom Woolley, brings together all of the Biosphere Reserves, Creative Cities, Global Geoparks and World Heritage Sites across the British Isles that are waiting to be discovered.

Visitors to the sites are invited to immerse themselves in the spectacular vistas of the slate landscape of Northwest Wales or the Scottish Highlands. Dive into the literary heritage of Manchester or Edinburgh. Scale the mountains of the English Lake District or the peaks of Fforest Fawr. Uncover legends and folklore along the Giant's Causeway or Stonehenge. Breathe in the sea air of Brighton and Lewes, North Devon or the English Riviera. Tackle the northernmost frontiers of the Roman empire by foot or by bike. Stroll around one of the great spa towns of Europe in Bath or a landed estate at Blenheim Palace and dance the night away in an iconic concert hall in Belfast or at a festival under the stars at one of the world's largest deep space observatories at Jodrell Bank.

The new map, released online, includes 29 World Heritage Sites, 13 Creative Cities, 9 Global Geoparks and 7 Biosphere Reserves that cover 13% of the UK’s landmass. Most of the sites are free to enter and conveniently accessible by public transport offering the public new experiences to discover UNESCO sites in the UK and mark the summer with a visit to one of the world’s most special places.

Over the forthcoming months Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark  will offer visitors an opportunity to explore this rich natural landscape and experience our cultural heritage.

John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism Northern Ireland, said: “The new UNESCO map will encourage visitors to discover new destinations on their doorsteps and further afield, and in Northern Ireland we have breathtaking natural beauty in abundance. Visitors will feel inspired by the many special locations on offer in Northern Ireland, including the Global Geoparks in Fermanagh and in the Mournes, and this new map will show just how accessible they are.” 

The map was produced by the UK National Commission for UNESCO as part of its Local to Global project, made possible with the GREAT Campaign and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players. Local to Global aims to develop a resilient network for UNESCO Designated Sites in the UK.

The map can be downloaded from: https://unesco.org.uk/our-sites or click here

Central Mournes
Walking & Hiking
Central Mournes

A circular route in the central Mournes taking in sites such as Annalong Wood, Slievelamagan, Ben Crom Reservoir, Cove Mountain and Annalong Valley, with views over the Irish Sea and to the Isle of Man.

Ring of Gullion
Landscape/View
Group on lane looking over Ring of Gullion mountains

Slieve Gullion Forest Park is in the heart of the Ring of Gullion. The Ring of Gullion is a unique geological landform – unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK – and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. The ring of low, rugged hills forms a ‘rampart’ around the heather-clad Slieve Gullion.

Strangford Lough
Nature and Wildlife
Brent Geese flying over Strangford Lough with Mournes on horizon

Strangford Lough  is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is almost fully enclosed by land. It is the largest sea water inlet in Ireland and the United Kingdom and an important habitat for wildlife.  A regular car ferry links the picturesque towns of Strangford and Portaferry.  Strangford Lough is a significant asset in the Aspiring UNESCO global Geopark.   The Lough was formed at the end of the last ice age. Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's first Marine Conservation Zone and is a special area of conservation for wildlife. Strangford Lough is a key destination for winter migration for many wading and sea birds.  The lough is home to common seals, basking sharks and brent geese.