Press release

Eleven areas bid to be UK City of Culture 2021

Eleven areas have registered bids to be UK City of Culture 2021, Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock announced today


Coventry, Hereford, Paisley, Perth, Portsmouth, St David’s and the Hundred of Dewisland, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Warrington and Wells have all formally entered the competition for the third UK City of Culture.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has today committed £3 million to the holder of the UK City of Culture title from 2021 onwards to boost local heritage.

To unlock the funds the successful bidder will need to demonstrate that their programme is underpinned by heritage and builds on existing investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:

UK City of Culture is a fantastic opportunity for towns and cities to celebrate their creativity and use culture as a catalyst for economic growth.

I am delighted to see so many bids from across the country, showing how many areas recognise the important role culture can play in the development and regeneration of communities.

UK City of Culture helps boost tourism and raises the profile of arts and culture. The exciting funding commitment from the Heritage Lottery Fund today is yet another incentive for towns to secure this prestigious title.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

This list shows there is clearly a great deal of enthusiasm among the UK’s cities for celebrating their unique culture. Heritage, much of which has benefitted over the past 23 years from National Lottery funding, is so important to a city’s identity, as well as making a huge contribution to tourism, jobs and the local economy. Building on the support we have given to Hull 2017, this funding will allow the UK City of Culture 2021 to showcase its heritage to the world.

Hull is the second city to host the title. Its programme includes 365 days of cultural events and, to date, more than 340,000 people have attended the In With A Bang fireworks event and Made In Hull programme. It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will deliver a £60 million boost to Hull’s economy this year. The city has also seen a £1 billion investment since winning the title in 2013.

A shortlist of the bidding areas will be announced in the summer before the winning area is announced in December.

Media enquiries and interview requests - please contact the DCMS News and Communications team on 020 7211 2210.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s early, in-principle, commitment of £3m funding to future holders of the UK City of Culture title will enable the successful city to start planning at an early stage to ensure that heritage is embedded throughout the year-long cultural programme.
  2. In common with all HLF funding awards, an application will have to be submitted and will need to be of the required quality. By announcing funding at this early stage and setting out clear expectations, HLF is aiming to maximise the likelihood of a successful bid.
Published 2 March 2017