8th January 2013


Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge ranks at second place in the world.

TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site, today reveals the most highly recommended UNESCO World Heritage Sites according to the TripAdvisor traveller community. Of the top 10 in the world, Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, known throughout the world as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, comes in at second place. The famous site also takes the number one spot in the UK.

The results are based on more than 1.1 million traveller feedback forms, collected in partnership with UNESCO, making this the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

The Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa in China is recognised as the most highly recommended site in the world, according to TripAdvisor travellers.

Simon McCloy Chief Executive at Shropshire Tourism said, "We are really delighted with this news - we have long promoted Ironbridge as a brilliant place to visit in Shropshire, and it is really encouraging to hear that the TripAdvisor traveller community agrees. To be revealed as the most highly recommended UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK is a huge coup for Shropshire, but to be rated second in the World exceeds even our expectations. It is true testament to the hard work that everyone at The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust do to make Ironbridge such a first rate visitor experience."

World's Most Recommended Sites

  1. 1. Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa  - China
  2. 2. Ironbridge Gorge - UK
  3. 3. Palace and Park of Fontainebleau - France
  4. 4. Historic Centre of Guimaraes - Portugal
  5. 5. Masada - Israel
  6. 6. Byblos - Lebanon
  7. 7. Persepolis - Iran
  8. 8. Hwaseong Fortress - Republic of Korea
  9. 9. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula - Italy
  10. 10. Meidan Emam, Esfahan - Iran


UK's Most Recommended Sites

These UK World Heritage sites are those most recommended, according to TripAdvisor travellers:

  1. 1. Ironbridge Gorge - Shropshire
  2. 2. Heart of Neolithic Orkney - Orkney Islands, Scotland
  3. 3. Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey - North Yorkshire
  4. 4. Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd - Gwynedd, Wales
  5. 5. City of Bath - Bath
  6. 6. Durham Castle and Cathedral - Durham
  7. 7. Old and New Towns of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland
  8. 8. Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church - Canterbury
  9. 9. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal - North East Wales
  10. 10. Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and St Martin’s Church - London


"Every one of the 962 designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites is of enormous cultural or natural significance," commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. "These lists identify the sites that are valued most highly by the millions of TripAdvisor travellers who visit them and therefore, Ironbridge Gorge should be incredibly proud of its position at second place in the world and number one in the UK."

The partnership between TripAdvisor and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre launched in October 2009 to raise awareness of and gain travellers' support to preserve natural and cultural sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. 

Within the partnership, TripAdvisor is also providing support to the World Heritage Centre to help monitor the conservation of the world’s most important cultural and natural heritage sites. TripAdvisor shares the feedback to the World Heritage Centre so that it may better support UNESCO member states in protection and presentation of the properties.