Public perceptions of heritage, July 2019

This research was commissioned to provide an updated understanding of public perception of heritage and how it is valued.

This report presents the findings from a nationally representative survey of over 10,000 UK adults. It supported the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with strategic planning for the 2019-2024 period.

Key findings:

The importance of heritage

The two most popular reasons why heritage matters to people are that:

  • it helps them to learn from the past (62%)
  • it preserves important things (61%)

The most engaged groups

The groups that are the most engaged in heritage are older people, ABC1s, those from a white ethnic background and women.

Notably, 45% of those aged 65 and over say heritage matters to a large/very large extent in comparison to just 14% of 16-24 year olds.

The most important aspects of heritage

The aspects of heritage with the highest levels of support are:

  • museums/libraries/archives (83%)
  • historic buildings/monuments (82%)
  • land/natural heritage (81%)

Issues for heritage to address:

  • environmental sustainability
  • economic growth
  • community development
  • social inclusion
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Public perceptions of heritage 2018 2.34 MB