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24th July 2023

UK National Commission for UNESCO launches new Local to Global Map

The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and 57 other unique UNESCO sites across the UK and Crown Dependencies have been included on a new illustrated map now available to download 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 that are recognised globally for their natural and cultural heritage. For the first time a map, designed by creative cartographer Tom Woolley, brings together all the Biosphere Reserves, Creative Cities, Global Geoparks and World Heritage Sites across the British Isles – world class wonders just waiting to be explored.

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. All this in addition to the landscape and heritage wonders of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, Scotland’s first UNESCO Biosphere.

The new map 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 ways to discover UNESCO sites in the UK and mark their summer with a visit to one of the world’s most special places.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere offers closer connection with nature and the historic communities of southwest Scotland through experiences that range from wildlife-spotting and gravel biking to night-time tours of the region’s Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park. Accommodation, guided activities and leisure attractions that have been accredited through the Biosphere Certification Mark allow visitors from near and far to explore southwest Scotland in a sustainable way.

James Bridge, Chief Executive and Secretary-General of the UK National Commission for UNESCO said: “This new UNESCO in the UK map will inspire people for places to visit. It shows at a glance the breadth of amazing natural, cultural and built heritage designated by UNESCO as internationally significant in the UK. This great map highlights places to explore, on your doorstep and further afield, both the famous and those to discover for the first time.”

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, said: “The new UK map will be a helpful pointer to encourage visitors to discover Scotland’s UNESCO treasures and explore our own dedicated trail. Scotland’s UNESCO trail is a global first, taking visitors on a cultural journey across the country, experiencing everything from history to science, music, design and literature to nature and cityscapes. The trail is internationally recognised for encouraging responsible tourism. It includes environmentally friendly travel options like cycling or public transport and partners with businesses which are accredited for their green credentials. Scotland’s UNESCO trail promotes longer visits and wider exploration, all year round, of all the riches on offer. This in turn contributes to the sustainable quality of life of those communities surrounding the designated sites.”

Ed Forrest, Director of the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, said, “We’re delighted to see the new UK UNESCO map and proud to share this unique asset for others to use and enjoy. The UK National Commission for UNESCO has created an exciting, accessible way for people to discover the heritage to be found here on Scotland’s UNESCO Trail and across the entire UK, and for all involved the map is an opportunity to raise awareness of our incredible sites, and their connectedness within UNESCO’s national network. We particularly look forward to welcoming new visitors to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere who have been inspired to explore.”

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:

It is also available here on the GSA Biosphere website in our Resources section: Maps, Routes and Itineraries Archives – Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere (

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