Eleven contenders, including Chester, have put their names forward to become the next UK City of Culture in 2017.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced the bids which include Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Southend on Sea and a joint application from Portsmouth and Southampton.
There are also applications from East Kent - which covers Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet - and Swansea Bay, which includes Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot.
Mr Vaizey said: "This is fantastic news and shows the appetite for the prestigious City of Culture title is in healthy supply right across the length and breadth of the country.
"The competition brings together communities and creates economic and social benefits. I wish all 11 the best of luck."
More top news
Not a bad start to the week. A little chilly on Monday morning, but with a fair amount of sunshine around
Sunday evening's forecast for the NW with Emma Jesson.
High pressure is in charge for the start of the week, a couple of fronts introducing dampness at times. Clear spells developing Sunday night