Attention Restoration Theory (ART) states that built scenes place greater load on attentional resources than natural scenes. This is explained in terms of "hard" and "soft" fascination of built and natural scenes. Given a lack of direct empirical evidence for this assumption we propose that perceptual saliency of scene content can function as an empirically derived indicator of fascination. Saliency levels were established by measuring speed of scene category detection using a Go/No-Go detection paradigm. Experiment 1 shows that built scenes are more salient than natural scenes. Experiment 2 replicates these findings using greyscale images, ruling out a colour-based response strategy, and additionally shows that built objects in natural scenes affect saliency to a greater extent than the reverse. Experiment 3 demonstrates that the saliency of scene content is directly linked to cognitive restoration using an established restoration paradigm. Overall, these findings demonstrate an important link between the saliency of scene content and related cognitive restoration.