Bournemouth and Reading among 22 areas competing for city status - see full list of towns applying

Busy Bournemouth beach
Bournemouth, famed for its popular beachside attractions, hopes to become a city. Credit: ITV Meridian

Bournemouth, Reading, Dorchester, Medway and Crawley are among 22 towns in England's south east competing to officially become cities.

The hopefuls are among 39 areas across the UK and British Overseas Territories with a chance to be granted city status as part of a contest to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

For the first time ever, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies were also eligible to apply for the title.

Stanley in the Falkland Islands, George Town in the Cayman Islands, and Gibraltar have also thrown their hats in the ring.

According to the Cabinet Office, winning city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for people who live there.

The Cabinet Office has also announced the 12 cities vying for Lord Provost or Lord Mayor status, including Newport and Perth - which previously won city status to mark the Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilees respectively.

Southampton is among other cities applying, along with Bath, Inverness, Newport and Lancaster.

The competition is part of celebrations to mark the Queen's historic 70-year reign, with a special four-day bank holiday weekend set to start on Thursday June 2.

Southampton viewed from the water. Credit: PA

As part of their bids, applicants were asked to talk about the distinct identity and community which they feel means their area deserves to become a city, as well as evidence of links to royalty.

Unlike previous Civic Honours competitions, an expert panel will work closely with ministers to make their recommendations, which will then be approved by the Queen.

The final decision will be taken in spring 2022 and announced shortly afterwards.

Aerial view of Gibraltar. Credit: Matt Morton/PA Wire

Full list of places competing for city status

  • Alcester, Warwickshire

  • Ballymena, County Antrim

  • Bangor, County Down

  • Blackburn, Lancashire

  • Bolsover, Derbyshire

  • Boston, Lincolnshire

  • Bournemouth, Dorset

  • Coleraine, County Londonderry

  • Colchester, Essex

  • Crawley, West Sussex

  • Crewe, Cheshire

  • Doncaster, South Yorkshire

  • Dorchester, Dorset

  • Douglas, Isle of Man

  • Dudley, West Midlands

  • Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway

  • Dunfermline, Fife

  • Elgin, Moray

  • George Town, Cayman Islands

  • Gibraltar, Gibraltar

  • Goole, East Yorkshire

  • Greenock, Renfrewshire

  • Guildford, Surrey

  • Livingston, West Lothian

  • Marazion, Cornwall

  • Medway, Kent

  • Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

  • Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

  • Newport and Carisbrooke, Hampshire

  • Northampton, Northamptonshire

  • Oban, Argyll and Bute

  • Reading, Berkshire

  • Peel, Isle of Man

  • St Andrews, Fife

  • Stanley, Falkland Islands

  • South Ayrshire, Ayrshire and Arran

  • Warrington, Cheshire

  • Warwick, Warwickshire

  • Wrexham, Clwyd

Full list of cities applying for Lord Provost/Lord Mayor status:

  • Bath, Somerset

  • Derby, Derbyshire

  • Gloucester, Gloucestershire

  • Inverness, Inverness

  • Lancaster, Lancashire

  • Lincoln, Lincolnshire

  • Newport, Gwent

  • Perth, Perth and Kinross

  • Southampton, Hampshire

  • Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

  • Wolverhampton, West Midlands

  • Worcester, Worcestershire