COUNTY Durham is one area out of 20 in the UK vying to be named as the UK City of Culture for 2025.

The group of organisations behind the bid have said it has the power to bring transformational social and economic benefits to the entire North East.

The Northern Echo, along with business leaders, arts organisations and individuals from across the region, is fully behind the bid.

Today, we are publishing our list of ten reasons why County Durham should win the title.

The Northern Echo:

Ivor Stolliday, chairman of Visit County Durham, said: “Success would bring more chances 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 for 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 find out more about County Durham’s bid 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 pictures of their favourite County Durham places on social media with the hashtag #Durham2025.


High Force

Outstanding landscapes

The Northern Echo:

This spectacular waterfall is just one example of our county’s beautiful countryside. Surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Upper Teesdale and situated in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a variety of animal and plant life can be seen at High Force throughout the seasons. This includes a vast array of wildflowers, ferns and towering trees, as well as roe deer and rabbits.

Tour series

Sporting spectacles

The Northern Echo:

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

Bowes Museum

Amazing attractions

The Northern Echo:

From award-winning museums, to medieval castles, to magnificent natural wonders, our extraordinary county has a range of incredible attractions to discover. From Durham University's Oriental Museum, to Beamish - England's largest open air museum, and the surprising sight of The Bowes Museum in the Durham Dales - housing internationally significant fine arts.

Miners’ Gala

A proud industrial heritage

The Northern Echo:

Beautiful stone for quarrying, 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 people.

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

Durham Cathedral

Architectural and historic Importance

The Northern Echo:

Durham’s Unesco-listed cathedral, built in 1093, forms part of the city’s World Heritage Site. It has been a place of pilgrimage, worship and welcome for almost a millennium and is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. The landmark, which houses unique objects, 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 world’s first railway town

The Northern Echo:

This winning combination of historic and modern museum buildings houses accessible exhibitions and highlights of the national collection of railway vehicles. The town of Shildon has had an exciting story to tell since the earliest days of the rail industry, making it the perfect place to explore the rich seam of local railway history and discover how the railways have changed all our lives. And there is much to look forward to, with exciting plans being developed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.

Durham University

The third oldest university in England

The Northern Echo:

Durham University has been part of the heritage of Durham 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 boundary-breaking research of its academic staff, combined with its commitment to drive innovation and share knowledge is helping communities in our region and beyond to thrive.


The UK’s largest light festival

The Northern Echo:

Proudly made in Durham, Lumiere illuminates Durham City every other year, bringing a spectacular programme of artworks and installations, with work by internationally-recognised artists as well as local and emerging talent on show. More than one million people have attended Lumiere in its 10-year history, bringing visitors into the city, boosting local businesses, and placing Durham in the world’s spotlight.

Durham Heritage Coast

One of the finest coastlines in England

The Northern Echo:

A colourful and dramatic landscape of beaches, rugged cliffs and imposing headlands.

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

Its 14km coastal path leads through a colourful mosaic of grasslands, wildflowers, flora and fauna, through areas of natural, historical and geological interest.


An action-packed programme of inclusive festivals and events

The Northern Echo:

Whether it is the mouth-watering delights of Bishop Auckland and Seaham Food Festivals or the epic outdoor live action show Kynren – there is no shortage of fun to be had in County Durham. From the bestselling line-ups at Durham Book Festival, to the vibrant and colourful Brass Festival, prepare to be entertained.

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