Arts, culture and heritage

Culture, creativity and a rich, diverse heritage sit at the heart of Scottish life and play a critical role in the economy, communities and almost everything we do.

We are committed to supporting, developing and advocating Scotland's culture, heritage and creativity, and ensuring that culture reaches a wide audience at home and abroad.


We are supporting arts, culture and heritage in Scotland by:


The culture and heritage budget helps to improve quality of life in Scotland's communities by enabling and encouraging people from all walks of life to participate in cultural events and opportunities. It also supports a wide range of government commitments relating to culture and heritage.

The culture and heritage budget for 2016 to 2017 is £154.1 million.

World Heritage Sites

When the UK signed the United Nations' World Heritage Convention, we promised to identify places in Scotland which could be World Heritage Sites, and to protect our national heritage. There are currently six World Heritage Sites in Scotland:

  • St Kilda
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
  • Heart of Neolithic Orkney
  • New Lanark
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire: the Antonine Wall
  • The Forth Bridge

Scottish Ministers have to report to the UK Government on any issues for Scotland’s World Heritage Sites. Each site is managed by a group of local partners, which include local authorities and Historic Environment Scotland. As the lead body for the historic environment in Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for advising Ministers on these issues.

Read about Scotland's World Heritage Sites on Historic Environment Scotland's website.

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website.

Bills and legislation

The National Library of Scotland Act 2012 legislated for the creation of the National Library of Scotland and determined its functions.

Section 36 of the Public Services Reform (2010) Act 2010 legislated for the creation of Creative Scotland and determined its functions.

The Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014:

  • legislated for the creation of Historic Environment Scotland
  • changed the processes for the designation of sites and buildings and for scheduled monuments, listed buildings and conservation areas consent
  • created new rights of appeal against certain Historic Environment Scotland decisions



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Culture and Historic Environment Division
2G South
Victoria Quay

Back to top