The UK’s smallest city, St David’s, did not make the shortlist.

Photo of humber bridge
Humber Bridge, Hull. Hull is the current holder of the UK City of Culture award.

Five cities and towns have been shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 title, currently held by Hull.

Of the eleven towns and cities that registered bids, Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea will officially compete for the title.

St David’s in Wales – the UK’s smallest city, with a total population of 1,800 – was not successful.

Arts Minister John Glen congratulated all eleven bidding areas, saying they each offered “brilliant examples” of “how to celebrate their own unique culture and heritage”.

“The strength of the competition showed us how valuable our cultural assets are to our towns, boosting tourism and jobs in local communities,” he said.

“I have seen first-hand how Hull has embraced its status as City of Culture 2017, and how beneficial it has been for the area. I am looking forward to seeing what will come in 2021.”

Hereford, Perth, Portsmouth, Warrington and Wells were also unsuccessful in their bids.

Hull of a benefit

Hull has reportedly had over £1bn of investment since being awarded the title in 2013.

A study found nine out of ten Hull residents took part in one of the city’s cultural events during the first three months of the year, and the city estimates the title will boost its economy by £60m this year.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “We’re only halfway through the year and we’re already seeing the huge benefits Hull is enjoying as UK City of Culture, not only in raising the profile of the city on a national and international scale but also increasing pride and participation among the people who live and work here.

“At least 450 events, exhibitions and cultural activities took place during the first season, attracting over 1.4 million visits, which is boosting the economy. But what has impressed me the most is how the people of this city have taken ownership of their year with 90% trying at least one cultural event in the first three months.”

The shortlisted areas will each submit a final bid by the end of September. An independent advisory panel will assess the bids and announce an overall winner in December.

The winning city will receive a £3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.