Introducing Bradford: UK City Of Culture 2025

With many of its beautifully preserved Victorian buildings empty, its relative poverty compared with neighbouring Leeds, and its diverse and complex demographic, the Yorkshire city of Bradford has struggled to find its feet economically since the wool trade boom faded.

This once economically rich city known as the ‘wool capital of the world’ has seen a lack of investment over several decades, combined with a growing national reputation for being somewhat edgy and unmanageable.

However, the lack of investment in the city has not led to a dearth of cultural activity. On the contrary, the DIY ethic of the cultural scene across the Bradford district has flourished, seeing spoken word, theatre, dance, film, visual art and more being pursued for passion rather than profit.

Meanwhile its stunning landscapes and international links have continued to make it a fascinating place to live.

And now, at last, Bradford’s formerly underground cultural wealth has been brought into the light and recognised in the most extraordinary way possible: Bradford has been crowned the UK City of Culture 2025, following on from Coventry’s reign in 2021.

The announcement of the winner is the culmination of a three-year long campaign for the Bradford district which announced its intention to bid for UK City of Culture status in the summer of 2019.

In a live TV broadcast on 31st May, Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Nadine Dorries announced: “Congratulations to Bradford, which is a worthy winner of UK City of Culture 2025.

Art and culture should be accessible to everyone and this prestigious title will help Bradford deliver unforgettable events for communities on their doorstep… 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.”

Bradford district’s year of culture is set to deliver more than 1,000 new performances and events including 365 artist commissions, a series of major arts festivals and major national and international collaborations. Its themes will be rooted in the unique heritage and character of Bradford and will reveal the magic of the district that is held in its people, its ambition, and above all, its potential.

A City of Culture designation brings considerable long-term benefits including increased employment, new investment, enhanced skills, renewed pride, greater cultural capacity and more opportunities to participate in arts and cultural activities.

What this means for the city and its residents cannot be explained meaningfully enough to anyone who hasn’t lived there. Residents’ frustration that the rest of the UK has, until now, failed to see the beauty and potential of the district has been a common complaint for many decades.

This seemed unlikely to change, with the city carrying the feeling of constantly missing out on the kind of investment that could change potential into real transformation.

It is estimated that the UK City of Culture 2025 title could bring an extra £700m into Bradford district, creating 3,000 jobs and attracting around 1.1m visitors by 2030.

To find out more about Bradford’s plans, visit