Bradford has been awarded UK City of Culture 2025 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), taking over from Coventry.

The city will now receive initial seed funding of £275,000 to begin preparation for a year of cultural activities in 2025.

The winner was approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice from a panel of experts led by TV writer-producer Sir Phil Redmond. The experts visited each of the four shortlisted places, which also included County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough.

The four cities were narrowed down from a record twenty initial bids to eight longlist applications which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

For the first time, each of the runners up will also receive a grant of £125,000 to support the bidding team in taking forward some of the key elements of the unsuccessful bids.

Bradford has already secured £20m from the Levelling Up fund to invest in its Squire Lane Wellbeing and Enterprise Centre. It is using another £4m DCMS grant to redevelop the Bradford Odeon into a 4,000 seat live music and entertainment venue Bradford Live.

Dorries said, “Coventry has shown us how powerful the UK City of Culture title is at boosting investment, attracting visitors and leaving a lasting legacy for local people.”

Redmond said, “The selection is never about whether one bid is better than another, it is more that one bid has the potential to make a bigger and deliverable impact. For 2021 we asked Coventry to raise the bar previously set by Derry-Londonderry 2013 and then raised by Hull 2017. Challenged by the pandemic, Coventry have certainly done that and I am looking forward to seeing how far the cultural bar can be raised in BD25.”

As part of its City of Culture status, the city is now eligible for a £3m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Bradford is set to deliver more than 1,000 new performances and events including 365 artist commissions and a series of major arts festivals.

Bradford 2025 chair Shanaz Gulzar said, “This is a huge opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary cultural heritage and for our young, ethnically diverse population – who have been so involved in shaping our bid – to become leaders and changemakers and begin a new chapter in our story. Bradford has been overlooked and underestimated for so long – it’s now our time to shine.”