The COVID-19 lockdown of society in 2020 deprived people of access to many heritage sites. This made the public uniquely aware of why they visited heritage sites and what they valued about the visits, once heritage sites reopened. In particular, regaining access framed visits in terms of personal agency and wellbeing. Notions of capability, social connections, ontological security, and trust–all important elements of wellbeing–were widely shared values. Heritage sites also offered distinct opportunities for combining hedonic (subjective) and eudaimonic (psychological) wellbeing effects. While heritage value cannot be reduced to wellbeing effects, we suggest that constructive awareness of how these effects may be generated can enhance the outcome of visits to heritage sites.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite as

Sofaer, J., Davenport, B., Sørensen, M., Gallou, E. & Uzzell, D. 2021, 'Heritage sites, value and wellbeing: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic in England', International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27(11), pp. 1117-1132. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2021.1955729

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Last updated: 16 September 2022
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