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Attitudes to Heritage Survey Results

The Government’s Taking Part survey on attitudes to heritage has been published today. It shows that nearly all adults (95%) agree that it is important to them that heritage buildings and places are well looked after.

Attitudes to Heritage

Respondents were asked to identify three things that make them most proud of Britain. British history was the third most quoted factor (37%) with British countryside and scenery being the top factor. British architecture and heritage was also cited by 19% of adults.

The view offered from Clifford's Tower, York. York Minster dominates the skyline.
The view offered from Clifford's Tower, York. York Minster dominates the skyline. © Historic England

Engaging in Heritage

The Taking Part survey also measures engagement through volunteering, donations and membership of heritage organisations. 14% of adults have donated money to heritage in the past 12 months and 24% have done voluntary work in the heritage sector in the past year.

Childhood exposure to historic sites has an enduring legacy as adults who have visited heritage sites as children are significantly more likely to have a positive attitude towards heritage.

Heritage Makes You Happy

Happiness scores are measured in the survey and show that those who had visited a heritage site in the past year reported higher happiness scores than those who had not. This reinforces research carried out by the Historic Environment Forum last year which revealed that visiting different types of historic places has a positive impact on life satisfaction and general wellbeing.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, welcomed the results of the survey:

“I am delighted to see how many people take pride in our heritage and how highly they regard the historic character of our towns and cities and rural landscape. It’s further proof, if we needed it, of the importance of England’s distinctiveness, and how this heritage needs to be valued and integrated with new development rather than disregarded and eroded.

“Historic places enrich our existence and we have a responsibility to save and treasure the best of what has been left by those who came before us. Let’s work together to ensure that the heritage that makes people proud to be British today is here for generations to come.”


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