World Heritage Sites are defined as examples of worldwide cultural and natural heritage of “outstanding universal value to humanity”.
The city of Bath in its entirety was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987, recognised as a site of “Outstanding Universal Value” for the following attributes:
- Roman archaeology
- The hot springs
- Georgian town planning
- Georgian architecture
- The green setting of the city in a hollow in the hills
- Georgian architecture reflecting 18th century social ambitions
The history of the city extends over six millennia, from its earliest days when the hot springs were a place of worship for the Britons, to the modern day where Bath is now recognised as an international icon of architecture and archaeology.
In July 2021, Bath secured a second UNESCO World Heritage Status as one of 11 Great Spa Towns of Europe. This means that Bath has a rare second transnational World Heritage inscription, overlaying the first inscription which will be retained. The inscription seeks to recognise the Outstanding Universal Values of the European spa phenomenon across 11 historic spa towns.
The management of the World Heritage Site is overseen by the World Heritage Site Advisory Board (WHSAB), a partnership committee of local and national organisations including Historic England, The National Trust, B&NES Council, and Bath Preservation Trust. The WHSAB was responsible for the preparation of the Bath World Heritage Site Management Plan 2016-2022. The management plan looks at how the World Heritage Site can be managed and maintained, covering topics such as conservation, planning, education, transport, community life, and tourism.
Bath Preservation Trust has a commitment to overseeing the effective implementation of the aims and objectives of the management plan and ensuring that the state of the conservation and management of the site is effectively measured and monitored by the World Heritage Site Manager. The management plan is supported by the World Heritage Site Setting SPD which serves to protect the important green landscape setting of the city.