City of Culture 2025 panel tour County Durham with less than a month till the winner is announced

Durham aerial PA
Can County Durham convince the judges it should be UK City of Culture 2025? Credit: PA

The judging panel for the UK City of Culture 2025 competition has been given a tour of County Durham today, as the North East's entry pushes to get the title.

Historic Durham, wild Durham and industrial Durham were all represented, with the judges splitting into groups to allow as much of the county as possible to be showcased.

The day began at Redhills, the historic home of the Durham Miners' Association, whose motto inspired the title of County Durham's bid - 'Into the Light: The past we inherit, the future we build.'

The judges began the day at Redhills in Durham city Credit: Durham 2025

The panel then split into three, with some headed to the coast at Dawdon, where they met locals who have engaged in a community arts project called Beaches of Dreams.

A second group traveled to Bishop Auckland to find out about the major regeneration projects, including the work of The Auckland Project and the Spanish Gallery.

The third group, meanwhile, toured Durham City, where they explored the county's UNESCO World Heritage Site, including Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle.

Prince Charles and the Queen of Spain also recently visited Bishop Auckland Credit: PA

Tony Harrington, chair of Culture Durham, said: "Today we have the chance to showcase our amazing county to the UK City of Culture judges and share our ambitious plans for the future.

"The visit will shine a light on just some of our extraordinary people and places, but if our bid is successful, we will spread the opportunities it creates across all corners of the county.

"Being a part of the UK City of Culture 2025 competition is such a privilege and we are incredibly proud to have come this far. We are ready to go all the way and show our nation and the world the potential that exists here."

Can County Durham beat the culture of Bradford, Southampton or Wrexham? Credit: PA

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this year broadened the UK City of Culture competition to allow counties and districts to apply, resulting in a record-breaking 20 entries.

In March, County Durham was one of just four locations to make it to the shortlist, alongside Bradford, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough.

The winner is due to be announced later this month.