County Durham and Northumberland have submitted bids to become the next UK City of Culture.
Northumberland is part of the bid from the Borderlands region.
The winner, to be announced next year, will take over the title from Coventry and host a series of events in 2025.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said a record 20 places have expressed an interest in hosting a year of cultural festivities in 2025.
The 20 bidders will be reduced to an initial longlist in the coming weeks and then cut down further to a final shortlist in early 2022. The winner will be announced in May 2022.
Those which are longlisted will be awarded grants of £40,000 for the first time to support the next stage of their applications.
Entrants have been tasked by the Government with proving that they can put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The successful area will take on the baton from Coventry, which is the 2021 UK City of Culture, with Hull and Derry-Londonderry having previously enjoyed the status in 2017 and 2013 respectively.
The 20 places that have submitted bids:
A joint application from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon in Northern Ireland.
The City of Bangor and North-West Wales
The Borderlands region, comprising Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Northumberland, Cumbria and Carlisle City
City of Newport
The Tay Cities region
Torbay and Exeter
Wrexham County Borough
Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk
Conwy County in Wales
Coventry has received more than £15.5 million from the Government to directly support its year of programmes, DCMS said.
The city has also attracted another £100 million so far in capital investment to support cultural projects, such as Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Cathedral and Belgrade Theatre, among others.
During its 12-month tenure, Hull saw more than 5.3 million visits to more than 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions, while 75% of those who visited the Humber port city in 2017 stated that it changed their perception of the city for the better.
Nine out of 10 people in Hull thought that UK City of Culture had a positive impact on the city and 90% of residents took part in at least one cultural activity, according to department data.