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Build your own World Heritage Site

Making bug houses in the garden at Washington Old Hall, Tyne & Wear
Building a structure in the garden | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Looking for a new challenge the whole family can enjoy? Why not build your own version of a World Heritage Site, monument, or your favourite historic place? We look after places at nine World Heritage Sites and you can use these as inspiration to create your own piece of history. Get some ideas for what you might build and read our tips and tricks for making your masterpiece.

What is a World Heritage Site?

A World Heritage Site is a cultural or natural landmark that has been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It’s a landscape, monument, building, or city that’s protected for everyone to enjoy.

How to create your monumental masterpiece

The first thing you need to do is decide what you'd like to make. You could think about a place you’ve visited with your family on holiday, on a school trip, or maybe somewhere you’ve seen on TV. Maybe you learned about an important site in a history lesson at school?

World Heritage Sites we look after

We look after places at nine World Heritage Sites, so you'll find lots of inspiration on our website too. There’s a wall that spans the width of England, mysterious stones that have been around for thousands of years and the ruins of an ancient abbey.

World Heritage Sites we help to look after are:

  • Avebury and Stonehenge Landscape
  • Bath Assembly Rooms
  • East Pool Mine
  • Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort
  • Lake District National Park
  • Levant Mine and Beam Engine
  • Penrhyn Castle and Garden, as part of The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

You can find the full list of World Heritage Sites on the UNESCO website.

Get inspired

You could create Giant’s Causeway out of chocolate buttons, Fountains Abbey out of books or Hadrian’s Wall out of cushions.

The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim
The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim | © National Trust Images/Ben Selway

Giant’s Causeway

Did you know that Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is believed to have been formed more than 60 million years ago? Will your creation stand the test of time?

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Tips and tricks for your epic creation

We’ve designed this challenge so that you can do it in your house or garden. Get creative and make your monument using what you already have lying around. And while you’re getting ideas, you could also challenge yourself to learn some fun facts about the landmark you’re recreating.

Here are some things you might want to think about to get your ideas flowing:

What materials will you use?

Think carefully about what materials you'll use. Pillows, blankets, boxes or books might work, for example.

Try draping blankets over chairs to make mountains or use towels to make the meandering shape of a river. If you're creating a monument or building, you could stack empty boxes or cut out shapes from paper and card. Use pegs or scarves to keep your building in one piece.

If you have a garden, there are lots of useful things you could look for outside. Try piling up stones and sticks to create shapes and structures. Pine cones or leaves might be good for roof tiles or decorations.

Where will you build it?

If you're building something big like a den or pillow fort, you'll need to find a spacious spot in your house or garden. Can you find a cosy corner in the house for your creation or the perfect place in the garden?

Who is it for?

Will it be a decoration for your room or a present for someone special? You could surprise someone in your house with a creation just for them or do more than one and set up a mini exhibition. Perhaps you could share a picture with friends and family to see if they can guess the landmark you’ve created.

Craft activities at Sutton House, London.
Decorating a masterpiece | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

How will you decorate it?

If you’re making something out of cardboard or paper, why not add some decoration? Colour it in, paint it or attach leaves and ribbons. If you're creating a landscape scene, don't forget to add in those extra finishing touches. Have you got any cuddly toys, dolls or animals that you could put around it?

Why stop at one?

If you've loved creating your World Heritage masterpiece, don't just stop at one – have a go at making another. And once you've recreated all the World Heritage Sites you could move on to look at more of the houses, gardens and landscapes we care for.

Could you recreate the White Cliffs of Dover using your fridge, a lighthouse out of cake, or a house built from gingerbread?

Show us your creations

We’d love to see what you’ve been making around the house so please share your monumental creations with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Visitors sit around a table enjoying a blossom inspired craft activity

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