Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope, has been named a Unesco World Heritage site.
The observatory, which is owned by the University of Manchester, has been at the forefront of astronomical research for decades.
The coveted listing recognises Jodrell Bank’s role in transforming our understanding of the universe and it will also "make sure that this remarkable site will continue to inspire young scientists and astronomers all over the world", Heritage minister Rebecca Pow said.
It joins historic international sites such as Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal on the Unesco heritage list.
Jodrell Bank, the home of the Lovell Telescope, had a pioneering role in the development of radio astronomy.
Its work in tracking spacecraft in the early space race, and its research into quasars, pulsars and gravitational lenses, is also part of its outstanding scientific heritage.
The site has evidence of every stage of the history of radio astronomy, from its emergence as a new science in the 1940s through to the present day.
Teresa Anderson, Jodrell Bank’s Discovery Centre director, described the listing as "wonderful news and a great day in the history of Jodrell Bank".
She said: "It honours the pioneering work of Sir Bernard Lovell (physicist, radio astronomer and the observatory’s first director) and the early scientists here, together with the world-leading research that continues to this day."
Physicist Professor Brian Cox said that it was "Superb news!" while British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted: "Congratulations Jodrell bank - this is brilliant news."
A campaign for it to gain World Heritage status has been fought since an application in 2010 for it to be included on the UK’s nominations shortlist.
The decision was taken at the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan.
It makes Jodrell Bank the 32nd site in the UK to receive the status and puts it on a list of about 1,100 sites worldwide.
The English Lake District, Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Stonehenge, the Forth Bridge and the Tower of London are among the other UK World Heritage sites, here are the others:
- Blaenavon Industrial Landscape
- Blenheim Palace
- Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church
- Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
- City of Bath
- Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape
- Derwent Valley Mills
- Durham Castle and Cathedral
- English Lake District
- Forth Bridge
- Frontiers of the Roman Empire
- Gorham's Cave Complex
- Heart of Neolithic Orkney
Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey
Tower of London