UK City of Culture: Why County Durham Should Win The Bid

COUNTY Durham is one in 20 regions in the UK in contention to be named the UK City of Culture for 2025.

The group of organizations behind the bid said it has the power to bring transformational social and economic benefits to the entire Northeast.

The Northern Echo, along with business leaders, arts organizations and individuals from across the region, fully support the nomination.

Today we’re posting our list of ten reasons why County Durham should win the title.

Ivor Stolliday, President of Visit County Durham, said: “Success would provide more opportunities for individuals and communities to engage in arts, culture and heritage, bringing people together and inspiring local pride.

“The importance of what this would mean to our places, our people and our future cannot be overstated, it would have untold benefits for the county and the impact on the wider region would be substantial.”

The winning location will be announced in May 2022, with the twenty bidders reduced to an initial long list next month and a final shortlist announced in early 2022.

To learn more about County Durham’s candidacy and to leave messages of support, visit and follow @ Durham2025 on Facebook and @ Durham_2025 on Twitter.

Members of the public can also support the campaign by sharing photos of their favorite places in County Durham on social media using the hashtag # Durham2025.


High strength

Exceptional landscapes

The Echo of the North:

This spectacular waterfall is just one example of our county’s beautiful countryside. Surrounded by the stunning scenery of Upper Teesdale and located in the North Pennines region of outstanding natural beauty, a variety of animal and plant life can be observed at High Force throughout the seasons. This includes a huge array of wildflowers, ferns and towering trees, as well as deer and rabbits.

Tour series

Sports glasses

The Echo of the North:

Durham hosts world-class matches, tournaments and events, such as Durham County Cricket Club, World Cup Cricket, Durham T20 and Tour Series cycle racing. Sports fans can enjoy a busy calendar of events to get their pulse beat, including the Durham City Run Festival and the annual Durham Regatta.

Bowes Museum

Amazing attractions

The Echo of the North:

From award-winning museums and medieval castles to magnificent natural wonders, our extraordinary county has a range of incredible attractions to discover. From the Oriental Museum at Durham University to Beamish – England’s largest open-air museum, and the astonishing view of the Bowes Museum in the Durham Dales – home to internationally significant fine art.

Miners’ Gala

A proud industrial heritage

The Echo of the North:

Beautiful stone for mining, along with coal, lead and iron ore for mining, positioned the county on the international industrial map and filled its towns and villages with strong, hardworking, determined and ambitious.

Durham’s unique and inspiring ‘Big Meeting’ celebrates our community spirit and working class culture, the foundations on which the thriving new industries of science, technology and engineering were built.

Durham Cathedral

Architectural and historical significance

The Echo of the North:

Durham Cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage Site, built in 1093, is part of the city’s World Heritage Site. A place of pilgrimage, worship and reception for nearly a millennium, it is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. The monument, which houses unique items, from the treasures of St Cuthbert to copies of the Magna Carta, and captures a thousand years of British political, social and religious history.

Locomotion, Shildon

The first railway city in the world

The Echo of the North:

This winning combination of historic and modern museum buildings houses accessible exhibits and highlights from the National Rail Vehicle Collection. The Town of Shildon has an exciting history to tell from the earliest days of the rail industry, making it the perfect place to explore the rich local rail history and learn how railways have changed all of our lives. And there’s a lot to look forward to, with exciting plans being made to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.

Durham University

The third oldest university in England

The Echo of the North:

Durham University has been a part of Durham’s heritage since 1832 and provides a gateway to the world for the people of our county, through its global network of cultural and educational institutions and world-class collections, museums and libraries. The groundbreaking research of its academic staff, combined with their commitment to spur innovation and share knowledge, helps communities in our region and beyond to thrive.


The UK’s biggest light festival

The Echo of the North:

Proudly made in Durham, Lumière illuminates the city of Durham every two years, offering a spectacular program of artwork and installations, with works by internationally renowned artists as well as local and emerging talent on display. Over a million people have attended Lumière over its 10 year history, bringing visitors to the city, stimulating local businesses and putting Durham in the spotlight of the world.

Durham Heritage Coast

One of the most beautiful coastlines in England

The Echo of the North:

A colorful and spectacular landscape of beaches, craggy cliffs and towering headlands.

A truly stunning place, the Heritage Coast is internationally recognized for its rare plants and wildlife, having won the UK Landscape Award.

Its 14 km coastal path crosses a colorful mosaic of meadows, wild flowers, flora and fauna, through areas of natural, historical and geological interest.


An action-packed program of inclusive festivals and events

The Echo of the North:

From the mouth-watering delicacies of the Bishop Auckland and Seaham food festivals to the epic Kynren live-action outdoor show, there’s no shortage of entertainment in County Durham. From the best-selling Durham Book Festival shows to the vibrant and colorful Brass Festival, get ready to be entertained.

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About Douglas Mackenzie

Douglas Mackenzie

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