The cultural landscape is the landscape that has been created by mankind. It is expressed in the created physical fabric of settlement - buildings, communication routes and boundaries - in both rural and urban areas. However it is more than this, it is expressed in the way these features are arranged, whether planned or unplanned, nucleated or dispersed, and in how populations use the landscape.

There are many subtleties and variations to the cultural landscape in Ireland. Some are related to the physical landscape, others derive from history, yet others may reflect local planning policies. Such features as the red post-boxes, a distinctive road signage, the lay out of roads and housing estates, and the particular shops along a town high street are arguably some sort of visible indication of Northern Ireland as a particular 'cultural landscape'.

Within Northern Ireland there are further contrasts expressed in distinctive variations in the distribution of such features as various types of Protestant Church and in the density of Orange halls. Painted gable-ends and footpaths, and the profuse use of various flags and emblems, are another, often highly localised, expression of cultural landscape variations. Across the world, far beyond Ireland, cultural landscapes display many regional subtleties and carry the imprint of populations past and present.