Inside God's House Tower. Photo from a space arts

Frequently asked questions

What is the UK City of Culture?

Every four years, the government awards one city the title of UK City of Culture. This follows a bidding process assessed by an independent panel of judges.


The selected UK City of Culture will host a year-long programme of cultural events that:

  • Celebrate its heritage

  • Encourages involvement in its cultural offerings

  • Inspires creativity and helps realise ambitions

  • Brings significant social and economic benefits to the area

The previous host cities were Derry – Londonderry (2013), Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021). Southampton hopes to follow proudly in their footsteps in 2025.

Why is Southampton bidding?

Southampton is aiming to become the South West’s first ever UK City of Culture.


Our city has a proud history and an exciting, diverse present. A successful UK City of Culture bid can help us fulfil our plans to deliver a bright future for Southampton.


Earning the UK City of Culture title will allow us to showcase on the national stage everything we love about Southampton, encourage our growing population to get involved with everything it has to offer, and attract visitors to our incredible city from all over the country.

Who else is bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2025?

Several cities / regions have expressed an interest is putting forward a bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. These are Bradford, Lancashire, Gloucester and Medway.

When will the winner be announced?

The 2025 UK City of Culture competition is expected to launch later this year in 2020. The timeframes for submitting our bid and the judging process will also be announced.


Several cities around the UK will bid to make the shortlist. We are already working hard to ensure Southampton delivers an irresistible bid to earn its place on the list.

What can we expect from the Southampton 2025 programme?

The bidding process will see us working with people and partners across Southampton, including young people, universities, businesses, charities and more to identify the themes and goals for a programme of events that will last a full year.


Our city’s rich heritage – including a thousand years as a major port, our close ties to the Titanic, and the birth of the Spitfire – alongside a fine sporting pedigree and diverse population allows us to draw from a deep pool of inspiration to develop a creative, varied programme that will show off everything Southampton has to offer.

What role does Southampton City Council play in the bid?

All bids must identify local authority support as the accountable body. Southampton City Council has so far supported work such as recruiting a team to develop the bid.


The council will also work closely with stakeholder organisations and other partners in organising and delivering the programme of events, the bid is a citywide effort which will be supported by a wide range of organisations.

What would it mean for Southampton to win?

Becoming UK City of Culture will not just allow us to deliver an exciting 2025 programme of events. We want to forge a lasting legacy that empowers people throughout Southampton to pursue their creative ambitions and drive cultural change.


The boost to the cultural sector and visitor numbers will also create new jobs and opportunities that will benefit the city as it continues to grow and thrive long after 2025.


A report by Hull University following the city’s successful stint as UK City of Culture in 2017 showed that it attracted over five million visitors, raised £220 million of investment, and created 800 new jobs.

What is culture?

Good question. We are using a broad definition of culture for our bid, we see culture as what brings people together. Culture includes a wide range of things including food and drink, sport, theatre, art, heritage both personal and city wide – it is a celebration of what makes us who we are as individuals and a community.

Who is developing Southampton’s bid?

Vitally, the bid will be shaped and guided by voices within the community and the creative sector, alongside our partners across the business, education, and charity sectors.


If you would like to have your say in developing the Southampton 2025 bid, subscribe to our email updates below to be made aware of opportunities to be involved.

Who will pay for the bid?

Initial funding for the bid has been provided by Southampton City Council.


As the bidding process continues over the next year, the trust will forge partnerships, work with individual donors and philanthropists to develop further funding to support the bid and the associated programme.

Does the successful bidder receive funding?

Becoming UK City of Culture 2025 will allow Southampton to receive both national and local funding from numerous sources. This funding, alongside the money raised by a year-long programme of events, will allow us to deliver not only an unforgettable cultural year, but also lasting change for the city.

How can I support Southampton’s bid?

We want everybody in Southampton to get behind our bid!


You can follow us across social media using the links below for regular updates and the latest news.


Post using hashtag #Southampton2025 to show us your support.