Yarmouth and East Suffolk's City of Culture competition revealed

first light festival

Lowestoft's First Light Festival is an example of existing cultural events to be found in the area. - Credit: Mick Howes

Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk's competition for the UK City of Culture 2025 have been announced.

A record-setting 20 places from across the UK to have submitted bids to become the UK's next City of Culture.

The competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the devolved administrations, aims to use culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally.

Yarmouth Out There Festival 2014. The Color of Time by Artonik.

Yarmouth Out There Festival 2014. The Color of Time by Artonik. - Credit: Nick Butcher

To ensure as many places as possible across the country can take up this opportunity, DCMS are awarding grants of £40,000 to successful longlisted places for the first time to support their long applications.

Full list of bidders:

  • 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 and East Suffolk

The winner will take the baton from Coventry as the UK City of Culture and be at the centre of the UK’s cultural spotlight in 2025.

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Coventry, the current City of Culture, is providing a blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery, having already attracted more than £100m in capital investment.

Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk's bid received 150 letters of support from community leaders in every sector, as well as bodies such as The Hippodrome, Pavilion Theatre and more.

The recent confirmation of Banksy art works in the areas has, by some, been viewed as a boost to its application.

The famous street art created works around Yarmouth and Lowestoft, causing people to flock from across the country to view it.

Sir Phil Redmond, chairman of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “Previous title holders have demonstrated the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about."

The 20 bidders will be reduced to an initial long list 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 2022.