A record 20 places have entered to be the UK City of Culture 2025 – how many of them have you toured and who would you choose?

Regions and towns have been bidding to win the title, which aims to use “use culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally”.

Over the coming weeks, the applicants will be whittled down to a longlist that will finally become a shortlist at the start of 2022.

A parked motorhome by the setting sun

Those who are longlisted will also receive grants of £40,000 from The Department for Culture, Media and Sport – this will be the first time such a payment is made.

Each entrant has been tasked with showing exactly how they can put “culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impacts of the pandemic”.

The winner will be announced in May 2022, and will be taking over from Coventry.

As the UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry has already received more than £100m in capital investment, which has helped “to support cultural projects, such as Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Cathedral and Belgrade Theatre, among many others”. Coventry has also been given more than £15.5m from the Government.

Previous holders of the title were Hull (2017) and Derry (2013). The impact of being named is clear, with Hull receiving over 5.3 million visits to 2,800 events, exhibitions, installations and cultural activities.

75% who visited the area that year said it had “changed their perception of the city for the better”, while 9 out of 10 residents of Hull believed it had a positive impact on the city.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This record number of applications from all four corners of the country is testament to the huge success of City of Culture in generating investment, creating jobs and boosting local pride.”

“This prestigious prize creates a fantastic opportunity for towns and cities to build back better from the pandemic and I wish all bidders the very best of luck.”

The full list of bidders to become the UK City of Culture 2025 are:

  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
  • The City of Bangor and Northwest Wales
  • The Borderlands region, comprising Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Northumberland, Cumbria and Carlisle City
  • Bradford
  • Conwy County
  • Cornwall
  • Derby
  • County Durham
  • Lancashire
  • Medway
  • City of Newport
  • Powys
  • Southampton
  • Stirling
  • The Tay Cities region
  • Torbay and Exeter
  • Wakefield District
  • City of Wolverhampton
  • Wrexham County Borough
  • Great Yarmouth & East Suffolk

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