Listing helps us acknowledge and understand our shared history. It marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future.
The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed.
All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840. The criteria become tighter with time, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed. A building has normally to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing.
Categories of listed buildings
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
In England there are approximately 374,081 listed building entries.
(An entry can sometimes include more than one building – such as a terrace.)
There are also:
- 19,717 scheduled ancient monuments
- 1,601 registered historic parks and gardens
- 9,080 conservation areas
- 43 registered historic battlefields
- 46 designated wrecks
- 17 World Heritage Sites
How will listing affect me?
Listing is not a preservation order, preventing change. Listing is an identification stage where buildings are marked and celebrated as having exceptional architectural or historic special interest, before any planning stage which may decide a building's future.
Listing does not freeze a building in time, it simply means that listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes to that building which might affect its special interest. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. The local authority uses listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site's historic significance against other issues such as its function, condition or viability. Find out more from our Planning Advice page.
What can I do with my listed building?
Planning information on making changes to listed buildings and links to grant information is available at What can I do with my listed building?
How do I find out if my property is listed?
You can search on The National Heritage List for England to find out if your property is listed. Alternatively you can contact your local authority, who will also be able to tell you if the area you are interested in is a conservation area.
The National Heritage List for England also contains information on registered battlefields, registered parks and landscapes and historic wreck sites. For any general requests for more information, please contact our Designation helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I see the lists?
You can search The National Heritage List for England to search for listed buildings in your area and print copies of individual entries.
A complete set of lists is available for inspection at The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH. Contact our Archive Services team on 01793 414 600 or contact email@example.com.
Heritage Gateway is a website which allows any user to search across national and local records of England’s historic sites and buildings. Over 45 local authority Historic Environment Records and several national datasets, including The National Heritage List for England, PastScape and Images of England are available to search through Heritage Gateway. More datasets continue to be added to the website on a regular basis.
Images of England is a photographic library of England's listed buildings, recorded at the turn of the 21st century. You can view over 300,000 images of England's built heritage from lamp posts to lavatories, phone boxes to toll booths, mile stones to gravestones, as well as thousands of bridges, historic houses and churches.