Bradford has been named the UK City of Culture 2025.
The West Yorkshire city fought off tough competition from County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough to clinch the coveted crown.
It will receive £270,000 in initial funding to help it develop its plans for 2025, and will also be eligible for a £3m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The three runners up will also receive £125,000 toward achieving the goals set out as part of their bids, marking a first for the competition.
An advisory panel – chaired by Sir Phil Redmond – visited each of the cities before making their final recommendation in May, which was later approved and announced by culture secretary Nadine Dorries.
Announcing the win, she said: “Art and culture should be accessible to everyone and this prestigious title will help Bradford deliver unforgettable events for communities on their doorstep.
“There was stiff competition and I thank County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough for their excellent bids.”
The team behind the Bradford 2025 bid described it as a “huge opportunity” for the city that had often been overlooked.
“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,” chair Shanaz Gulzar said.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah described the title as a “huge success” for the city “with an open heart”.
“I am so proud that Bradford has been chosen to become the UK’s City of Culture 2025,” she said in a video posted on Twitter.
“Bradford, for me, is the definition of a city full of culture. And with this title we can now show the rest of the country what Bradford truly has to offer: a city full of youth, 120 languages, cuisines from all around the world, a history full of Arts, its own literature festival.
“…A city with an open heart, and sanctuary for so many. It’s now Bradford’s time to shine. So let’s celebrate this huge success and show the country what Bradford’s really about.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson said the title builds on “the rich history and dynamism of the city” and would bring investment and opportunity to its residents.
Bradford took the title from previous holder Coventry, a city which has since seen more than £172 million invested in funding music concerts and the country’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.
The City of Culture is awarded every four years, with the latest round seeing a record 20 cities registering bids to take over.
And for the first time ever, the eight longlisted winners received a £40,000 grant to strengthen their applications.