Find out More.

Find out More.

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the UK Government every four years to create a national year-long cultural event focused on a particular area or city. The bid will be judged by an independent panel of judges.

Medway is bidding to follow in the footsteps of Derry-Londonderry (2013), Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021) to host the South East’s first City of Culture year.

The programme encourages the use of culture and creativity to promote the development of new partnerships, and to encourage ambition, innovation and inspiration in cultural and creative activity to drive regeneration and leave a lasting legacy.  

We want to showcase Medway on a national stage and host a year-long, future-looking cultural programme that represents the diversity and creativity of Medway.

Medway has a rich heritage and increasing population, bidding for 2025 City of Culture will put Medway on the map and winning will bring major social and economic benefits to the area. 

We aim to engage our whole population and invite people from around the country to visit and take part in a programme rooted in our culture and heritage.

The competition is not about city status. Medway has the spirit and confidence of a city, but the bid will be a celebration of our five towns, villages and peninsular that make up Medway.

Lancashire, as a county, is also bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2025 and previous areas without city status have also been in the running.

The 2025 UK City of Culture competition is expected to be announced soon along with a timetable for the bid submission and judging process taking place throughout 2021.

Work is underway to put in place the partnerships, structures and funding needed to deliver a successful and spectacular year in 2025.  We are hosting workshops and conversations to develop ideas and raising awareness and reflecting support for the bid through work with media and local partners over the coming year.

The process of bidding will identify themes that will underpin an ambitious and innovative year-long series of events that will make up our 2025 programme.

We are talking to people from across Medway, working closely with young people as well as business, education and charity sectors in order to build the vision and ambition of our programme.

We anticipate presenting work on a variety of scales and in a variety of formats and art forms from large-scale mass-participatory events to hidden gems and embracing culture and creativity in all its forms. We will be working with creative partners from the local area, the South East and across the UK. 

In 2017, Hull City of Culture delivered over 2,000 events from Spencer Tunic’s naked sculpture to the opening Made in Hull projections that attracted an audience of over 340,000.

Yes, heritage is central to Medway’s culture and creativity. From our ancient castles and historic dockyard to our recent history, Medway’s stories and heritage assets will be part of our bid. Heritage Lottery Fund have previously invested £3 million into both Hull and Coventry City of Culture.

Sport can play a part in the bid though the primary focus will be cultural events.

Being recognised as UK City of Culture will be a real game-changer for Medway. It will give the area the funding to deliver our 2025 programme and a platform to tell the UK and the world what we have to offer.

It will also leave a lasting legacy of increased visitor numbers and a more vibrant, ambitious and sustainable cultural sector.

Our programme aims to improve quality of life for local people and to empower young people to not only have a voice but deliver cultural and creative change. We aim to spark greater community engagement across Medway and celebrate our diverse communities, increase opportunities for everyone to participate in culture and to gain experience and to access to jobs in the tourism and cultural sectors.

There is no prize, but the winning city will have access to significant national funding to deliver their programme. 

An independent board of Trustees and aligned working groups made up of people from all ages from across the local area are all working together to shape Medway's bid. This follows initial work carried out by the Medway Place Board who laid the initial foundations for Medway’s bid, working with Medway Council.

The bid will crucially involve young people from across Medway, community voices and the creative sector itself in developing the themes and ambition of the bid as well as partners from business, education and the charity sector. 

For more information about how to get involved, please contact us directly at

As part of the bid, we will set out a model for an independent body with its own staff to run the 2025 programme in partnership with local creative organisations.

Although Medway has been planning this bid for over a year, recent events have made it timelier than ever. COVID-19 has demonstrated our resilience and how strong we are when we come together.

Bidding to be UK City of Culture 2025 is part of Medway’s recovery and is a vote of confidence in our future.

Bidding provides a key milestone in the Medway Cultural Partnership’s 2020-2030 Cultural Strategy. 

Our bid encompasses the towns, villages and peninsula that make up Medway as well as the river which links us. We aim to be the first City of Culture in the South East.

Our venues will be the streets, shopping centres, open spaces, castles, theatres, galleries, museums, rivers, parks, schools and sports stadia across Medway.

We are linked by fast trains to London and Europe and within easy reach of five airports making Medway an attractive place to visit.

The 2025 UK City of Culture competition will be announced later on this year but a number of places have publicly expressed interest in bidding including Southampton, Bradford and Lancashire.

Previous competitions have had up to twelve places bidding with a shortlist of four cities in the final stages of the bidding process.

All bids need to identify local authority support as the accountable body. Medway Council has supported work to date including the recruitment of a team to carry out the work of bidding who report to the bid Trustees.

There is the potential for other councils across Kent to play an important role in supporting and facilitating major events as well as providing the wider infrastructure for hosting visitors.

The Council has provided initial funding to develop the capacity to bid and we are receiving support-in-kind from other stakeholder organisations across the area including University of Kent.

We hope to partner with additional supporters over the course of this year to support the costs of consultation, communications and cultural events across the area. For more information about sponsoring or supporting the bid, please get in touch.

Coventry’s winning 2021 bid attracted over 150 private sector supporters and seven founding presidents pledged personal support.

It’s a great strength to have businesses on board and we are speaking with many local organisations. To find out more about sponsorship or partnership opportunities with Medway 2025 please consider becoming a Business Ambassador or get in touch.

Derry-Londonderry secured a budget of £26 million in 2013 and in 2017 Hull had a budget of £32 million from local and national sources.

The scale of the budget needs to be credible and realistic and will be developed as part of the process of bidding.

The budget will be made up of a mixture of local and national funding sources, sponsorship, philanthropy, lottery funding and ticket income.

We recently launched the Great Big Ideas Call Out with Creative Medway

No idea is too big or too small! We only have room for about forty ideas in the bid itself but will need 365 days’ worth of programme if we win.

To send us an idea click here or, alternatively, fill out a form at your local Medway library. 

We are a small team and we need the whole district to help promote the bid!

Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram - @Medway2025 - or connect with us on LinkedIn. Share news and help spread the word using #Medway2025 across social media. 

We would love to connect with people or organisations of all sizes who are able to give support-in-kind or are interested in sponsorship opportunities. 

Please keep an eye on our website and social media for upcoming volunteering opportunities. If you are a business in Medway & Kent, why not consider becoming a Business Ambassador for Medway 2025?

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for regular updates.

You can also check out the News & Opportunities section on our website for further details on any updates and ways to get involved with the bid.

For any queries relating to marketing, social media or press please contact 

The University of Kent is delighted to be a key partner in the bid for Medway to be recognised as the UK City of Culture in 2025.  It very much supports our commitment as a Civic University to collaborate with partners to drive cultural, social and economic growth in Medway unlocking its potential to be one of the most attractive places to live, work and study in the UK.

Professor Karen Cox

Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Kent


We support the Medway City of Culture 2025 bid as we see it as a great way to bring together the communities of Medway and beyond, celebrating our shared values through the diverse cultures and communities who reside in and around Medway. I am particularly excited about the potential opportunities, especially for young people to take part in creative and cultural activities. 


Gurvinder Sandher

Kent Equality Cohesion Council

Many of the schools in Medway are coming together to form the Medway Creative Schools Network, aiming to share opportunities and resource for all students to develop greater cultural awareness and understanding. We are proud to support the City of Culture bid and believe that by developing pride and ownership of the fantastic cultural activity in Medway, we further prepare young people to be ambassadors for our local community.


Mandy Gage

Medway Creative Schools Network
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