Durham – a place of beauty, diversity, resilience, and world-class heritage – is no ordinary county.

So extraordinary, in fact, that we passionately believe it deserves to make history yet again…as the first county to be named UK City of Culture.

Yes, we know all about making history in Durham. We know how to treasure it, learn from it, and use it as our springboard for what is to come.

It is a philosophy enshrined in the proud motto of the Durham Miners’ Association – Into the Light: The past we inherit, the future we build – and those words are our inspiration as we proudly present the county’s case to become UK City of Culture for 2025.

It is our good fortune to have inherited so much: a gloriously diverse landscape, from the majestic heritage coast at Seaham, to the tranquil moors and hills of the Durham Dales. While at the county’s heart, we have Durham City, with its breathtaking cathedral, 11th century castle, and world heritage site status. A “perfect little city” was how best-selling travel writer, Bill Bryson, was moved to describe Durham, and we whole-heartedly agree.

Our history glistens, and so does our future as we look to build upon those strong foundations and grasp the economic and social benefits offered by the opportunity to be a county-wide, extra-special City of Culture.

Durham 2025 will be the catalyst for long-lasting growth, not just across the county, but the North-East as a whole, creating skilled employment, enriching education, and reducing economic and health inequality.

By harnessing the power of arts and culture, we will drive three meaningful step-changes: increasing civic pride; growing our creative and visitor economies; and empowering communities with greater wellbeing.

Our case will be underpinned by three themes:

  • Illuminate – Lumiere, the world-leading light festival has its home in Durham, and light will shine brightly through Durham 2025.
  • Congregate – In the traditions of the pilgrims and the Big Meetings of the industrial age, Durham 2025 will bring people together and welcome the world.
  • Energise – World-class artists will be brought together by Durham 2025, this time to be inspired by the clean energy revolution, just as coal and the industrial revolution sparked an explosion of creativity.

We will do it all in the spirit of partnership, by involving our businesses and communities in shaping the bid, because it is our people who will share the legacy.

And what a legacy it promises to be. Should Durham be successful when the winner is announced in May, we estimate that the net additional impact between 2022 and 2029 will be:

  • More than 1,000 jobs created or safeguarded.
  • 935 businesses and organisations supported.
  • 200 new enterprises in creative industries.
  • 2,500 additional jobs in creative industries.
  • 15.7m more visitors.
  • £700m more spent by visitors.
  • 1,800 more jobs in the visitor economy.

So, please back the bid and let us come together to show, beyond doubt, that Durham is no ordinary county.