UK City of Culture 2025: Bradford

Written by Jason Nesbitt Topics: App User

Bradford Crowned UK City of Culture 2025!

West Yorkshire is set to welcome the world, and it’s all just two short years away!

In May 2022, Bradford was announced as the UK City of Culture 2025, with that announcement being made live on the BBC’s The One Show. Throughout the year, the city will play host to over 1,000 performances and installations including artist commissions, art festivals and collaborations which will only add to the fine array of amazing things to do and see in Bradford. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries decided on the winner, and made her decision after taking on board independent advice from a panel of government experts. This panel was chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, who affirmed that “Culture can act as a catalyst for cultural engagement, civic cohesion and a driver for economic and social change”.

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson was also involved, and emphasized the opportunities that come as a result of winning the title. Bradford will be in the spotlight throughout the next few years in the run up to 2025 and throughout her year as the UK City of Culture 2025, so as well as a celebration of the arts, this will also be a tremendous boon for the city and the wider local area. It will be a catalyst for investment, regeneration and tourism, an opportunity to create jobs and support the local communities and local economy of West Yorkshire, and also to bring the country’s (and the world’s) attention to this amazing area of the UK.

About the bid

The city’s bid for the title was backed by Bradford Metropolitan District Council, while the University of Bradford is a partner. Many members of the local community supported the bid even in the early stages, and alongside them local businesses and organisations (including the city’s Rugby League team displayed the bid’s branding. The city celebrated making the shortlist, welcomed the judges with open arms in May and, well, those judges must have liked what they saw!

Even better news for Bradford is that now that the title has been awarded to the city, the support shown by the locals shows no sign of abating. Key individuals tasked with delivering in 2025 are already in place and as we speak are in the process of building the larger support network that they need to succeed, and as part of this process they have already welcomed some local businesses on board as delivery partners.

As part of their role as one of these delivery partners, PFG (a Bradford-based finance company) have made a significant contribution in terms of funding, as have Sovereign Health Care. in addition to their own significant monetary contribution to the events in 2025, both companies are also funding a legacy year in 2026. It should be highlighted however that they by no means stand alone in their support and contributions towards the UK City of Culture 2025 celebrations – they are just two of some thirty-five businesses and organisations to have pledged financial support, and the city is grateful to each one of them.

Bradford’s time as City of Culture will need more than just money to succeed though, so for more details on how you can get involved check out the Bradford 2025 website, and in particular the news section for details of volunteering opportunities and more permanent positions that are available both in 2025 itself and in the run up to the event.

Why Bradford? A diverse culture and history

Bradford’s vibrant, diverse culture and fascinating history, as well as the many contributions to the arts that the city and its surroundings have inspired make it the ideal host for the City of Culture celebrations. These contributions include storied musical institutions such as the Black Dyke Band, while the spectacular rural landscapes that are found locally inspired Wuthering Heights, and more recently, have served as the setting to Hollywood films, (as we’ll see below)and their natural beauty is still well worth exploring in it’s own right on a day out with the family, or a romantic hike for two. The city has a rich social history too – from the Industrial Revolution onwards, Bradford became famous for its wool industry, and is the home of what would later become the Labour Party. In addition, the city is one of the few places to have two UNESCO designations: the Saltaire Industrial village is a world heritage site, and the city is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network.

Film &TV

Bradford has a rich (some might even say prestigious) history when it comes to modern media, and in particular films and television. That history can be explored well at the National Science and Media Museum, and although you may not realise it, you have probably seen Bradford on both the big and small screen too. Filming locations in Bradford have been used in critically acclaimed films such as The King’s Speech, or East is East, and TV series including Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders. This rich history in film and TV is capped off by Bradford’s place in history as the first UNESCO city of film – which surely makes it a location well worth visiting even today!

Radio & Music

Bradford can also boast significant contributions to the world of music – particularly in the genres of Rock and Pop. Musical acts or artists from Bradford include The Cult, Terrorvision, and pop stars Gareth Gates, Zayn Malik of One Direction, and Kimberly Walsh of Girls Aloud. In addition to supplying the musicians in recent years however, Bradford was also one of the first locations to offer them a key outlet for their work through Pennine Radio, one of the first commercial local radio stations in the UK.


Bradford is also home to a number of theatres including the Alhambra Theatre and Bradford Playhouse, which themselves play host to all kinds of stage based performances – from plays and other stage-based acting performances, possibly even by one of the city’s top-drawer theatre companies – to dance, orchestral and other live music performances and especially around Christmas, pantomime too.


While it remains too early to say with certainty exactly ‘what’s on and when’, it is safe to say that all of the creative arts, genres and influences that we’ve spoken about above are expected to be showcased over the next three years. Audiences will likely be able to enjoy workshops and classes as well as performances, having a more ‘hands on’ experience and trying things out for themselves.

Looking for things to do in and around Bradford?

Then why not check out this page on LoyalFree that will not only keep you up to date with what’s on in Bradford, but can also help you discover great places to shop and eat in the city, and get some great deals when you do!

Posted on

Leave a Reply