Are Britain’s heritage attractions good for your health?

As attractions slowly re-open to a nation easing out of lockdown, the role of heritage in improving our wellbeing has never seemed more important.

Research commissioned by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical and The Heritage Alliance has revealed the majority of Britain’s heritage organisations are promoting and prioritising wellbeing.

The survey, carried out pre-lockdown, discovered two-thirds (69%) of heritage organisations prioritise wellbeing as an outcome of their work, while two in five (40%) say wellbeing is ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ prioritised as the outcome of their work.

Four in five (84%) heritage organisations surveyed promote themselves as an organisation that cares about wellbeing, while more than half (55%) do so ‘always’ or ‘frequently.’ The survey revealed half (50%) of organisations say wellbeing is one of their objectives and almost half (48%) include wellbeing in their strategy.

Two in five (42%) heritage organisations feature wellbeing as part of their planning, while more than a third (35%) of heritage organisations include wellbeing as part of their mission statement. The survey found heritage organisations are offering a wide range of wellbeing activities including art therapy, Pilates, yoga, mindfulness and forest bathing.

The top five ways heritage organisations say they improve people’s wellbeing are by:

  1. Providing learning opportunities (72%)
  2. Helping people to socialise (53%)
  3. Helping people build social connections (51%)
  4. Helping people stay mentally active (50%)
  5. Helping people stay physically active (48%)

Faith Kitchen, heritage director at Ecclesiastical, said: “It’s interesting to see the majority of Britain’s heritage attractions are prioritising and
promoting wellbeing. Our research shows many heritage organisations are delivering incredible projects to enhance people’s wellbeing and improve mental health.”

Lizzie Glithero-West, CEO of the Heritage Alliance, said: “This research illustrates the crucial role the heritage sector will play as we emerge from lockdown. The wellbeing of our communities is intertwined with our heritage and we are firm believers in the power of heritage to solve a host of public policy challenges.”