Listed buildings across the UK

What do the different grades of listed buildings mean and how do they vary across the UK?
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At the beginning of 2016 there were 376,470 listed buildings recorded in England alone. Across the UK there are estimated to be over 500,000 listings. The List, as it’s known, includes all buildings deemed to be of special architectural or historic interest by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Principles of selection include relevancy of age, aesthetic and rarity. The Secretary can remove a building from the list if it no longer holds special interest, for example, if it is damaged in a flood.

What is meant by architectural interest?

To be of special architectural interest a building must demonstrate design, decoration or craftsmanship that is architecturally important. This could mean its construction is of a particular style, or it showcases a traditional technique. Modern buildings that demonstrate innovation can also be listed.

What is meant by historic interest?

Buildings of historic interest must reflect the nation’s social, cultural, military or economic history, or must be affiliated to a person of national importance. If associated to a person, the building should ideally also be of special interest in some way to truly warrant the protection of a listing.

Protection granted

Listings can be unclear where an entry on The List does not specify each protected structure. However, the entire building, including its interior, courtyards, gardens and walls are under protection, not just the main house.

A listing mark provides extra legal protection within the planning system, meaning that there are added restrictions over what changes can be made to a building's interior or exterior. Homeowners must apply for Listed Building Consent for most types of work that affect the 'special architectural or historic interest' of their property.

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What do the different grades of listed buildings mean?

There are differing categories for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

England and Wales

  • Grade II - Buildings of special architectural or historical interest. This is the most likely grade of listing for homeowners.
  • Grade II* - Particularly important buildings, deemed to be of more than special interest.
  • Grade I - Buildings that are of exceptional interest.


  • Category A – Buildings of national or international architectural importance, or an example of a particular period.
  • Category B – Buildings of regional importance, or an example of some particular period which may have been altered.
  • Category C – Buildings of local importance, or an example of a period as originally constructed or only moderately altered.

Northern Ireland

  • Grade A – A building of great architectural importance; the least altered example of a particular style.
  • Grade B+ - A building that would merit grade A but has an incomplete design because of particular features, interiors or environmental qualities.
  • Grade B - Buildings of local importance and examples of a particular style, where a degree of alteration is acceptable.

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