A record 20 places from across all nations of the UK have entered the competition to become the next UK City of Culture in 2025.
The contenders now have to show how they will put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic.
For the first time, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is awarding grants of £40,000 to successful longlisted places to support their long applications. Regions and clusters of towns were encouraged to apply together for the 2025 accolade.
UK City of Culture 2025 longlist
- 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
- Conwy County
- County Durham
- City of Newport
- The Tay Cities region
- Torbay and Exeter
- Wakefield District
- City of Wolverhampton
- Wrexham County Borough
- Great Yarmouth & East Suffolk
Derry-Londonderry was the first UK City of Culture in 2013, followed by Hull in 2017 and most recently Coventry in 2021. Phil Redmond, the chair of the City of Culture expert advisory panel, said: “The three previous title holders have demonstrated the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about, even within places that have been ultimately unsuccessful but have gone on to develop collaborative and sustainable partnerships.
“The list for 2025 also demonstrates the breadth of ambition, aspiration and innovation that exists from coast to coast and nation to nation across the UK and I am looking forward to that challenge of immersing myself once again in the UK’s rich seam of creativity.”
Coventry has attracted more than £100m in capital investment to support cultural projects in the city so far this year, building on the success seen in Hull – which had more than 5.3 million visits during its year in the spotlight – and Derry-Londonderry.
The 20 bidders will be reduced to an initial longlist of bidders in the coming weeks and then cut down further to a final shortlist in early 2022. The winner will be announced in May next year.
The competition, delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the devolved administrations, uses culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally.