Areas from Lincoln to the Lake District and sites of beauty and historical interest are among nearly 40 places which will compete to become World Heritage sites, it was announced today.
The 38-strong list includes Brunel's Great Western Railway, the Forth Bridge in Scotland and the 8th century Offa's Dyke on the English/Welsh border.
Also competing to be nominated by the Government next year are the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire and the former RAF site at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire.
The list also includes overseas territories and crown dependencies, with applications including the Caribbean Turks and Caicos islands and the island of St Helena in the Atlantic on which Napoleon was exiled after the Battle of Waterloo.
The Government plans to submit a tentative list of sites to Unesco next year with a view to making nominations in 2012.
There are currently more than 800 Unesco World Heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Statue of Liberty.
Publishing the 38 applications today, tourism and heritage minister John Penrose said: "The UK's heritage is world class and this list represents the unique variety and history present in all corners of this country and our overseas territories.
"We wanted a strong and varied list to eventually put to Unesco and I'm delighted that so many wonderful, diverse places have been put forward."
He went on: "Any list that includes Jodrell Bank, the Forth Bridge, Blackpool and the Turks and Caicos Islands certainly doesn't lack variety.
"But what all 38 sites have in common is a wow factor and a cultural resonance that makes them real contenders to sit alongside The Pyramids and Red Square in this most distinguished of gatherings."
* Click here to see some of the contenders.
The 38 sites competing for world heritage status
* Arbroath Abbey, Scotland
* The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter
* The Birth of the Railway Age, Greater Manchester area
* The heroic period of civil and marine engineering in England 1822, Bristol
* Bronte Landscape and Haworth Village. West Yorkshire
* Brunel's Great Western Railway
* Buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow
* Chatham Dockyard and its Defences, Kent
* Chester Rows, Chester
* Colchester, Camulodunum and Colonia Victricensis, Essex
* Creswell Crags, Derbyshire
* The Hill of Derry, Northern Ireland
* The Dover Strait, off Kent
* The Flow Country, Caithness and Sutherland, Scotland
* The Forth Bridge, Scotland
* The Fountain Cavern, Anguilla, Caribbean
* Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar
* Gracehill Conservation area, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
* Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire
* The Lake District
* The Laxey Valley, Isle of Man
* Historic Lincoln
* Malone and Stranmillis Historic Urban Landscape. Belfast
* Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
* Merton Priory, Surrey
* Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof: The Crucible of Iron Age, Shetland
* The Royal Sites of Ireland - Navan Fort, Northern Ireland
* The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads
* Slate Industry of North Wales
* Offa's Dyke, England/Wales border
* St Andrews, Medieval Burgh and Links, Scotland
* Island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic Ocean
* Turks and Caicos Islands, Caribbean
* Tynwald Hill and environs, Norse assembly sites of NW Europe, Isle of Man
* Former RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire
* Wye Valley and Forest of Dean, England/Wales border
* City of York