Find out how Coventry won this prestigious title …

What is the City of Culture?

UK City of Culture is a competition run by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years. Previous winners are Derry/Londonderry in 2013 and Hull who had their year in 2017.

The winning city can expect a major boost in tourism and investment as they host a spectacular year of events as well as a build-up period and legacy programme.

Coventry faced stiff competition in Paisley, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea but was awarded the prestigious title on Thursday 7 December 2017 on the BBC’s The One Show. Coventry will be UK City of Culture in 2021 and will spend the next three years working in communities, talking to businesses and planning our programme.

Why Coventry?

The judges unanimously agreed that awarding Coventry the title would have the biggest impact on the rest of the UK. We are a young, diverse, modern city which is re-imaging the role culture can play in bringing people together.

Coventry has a history of triumphing against adversity, of coming together with a fierce but quiet pride. We love our city and all too often have listened to others putting it down but now is the time to invite the world to venture past our beloved ring road and into a city with a story to tell and experiences to share.

We weren’t sent to Coventry; we chose to come. Coventry is a city of welcome, a city of peace and reconciliation, a city of innovation and invention, a City of Culture.

What to expect

Expect the unexpected! Winning City of Culture 2021 will transform our city forever. The young people that are in our schools right now will grow up in a city with more job prospects, a thriving programme of events to enjoy, more places to eat, shop and visit with a bustling city centre. It’s a lot more than a year of cultural celebration (although trust us, that year will be unforgettable!), it’s about changing the reputation of a city.

Our programme will include a Street of Cultures programme co-producing work in local communities. The first build-up event will be the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre Festival in March 2018 and the city will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Cathedral with a major new lighting commission.

A 2.2 mile Ring Road poem is set to one of the digital centrepiece of 2021 along with major productions by the RSC and the screening of the entire works of Shakespeare in iconic locations.
An artist-led festival called Moments of Silence will create moments of silence and beauty and reflect on the city’s 700-year-old Carthusian monastery Charterhouse and play on the myth of being ‘Sent to Coventry’.

Building on the success of 95-year-Old Indian Photographer Masterji’s exhibition, the city will develop a project Tale of Two Streets that looks at two of the most diverse streets in Britain through the eyes of photographers.


Although known for being one of the cities that was worst hit during the bombings in World War II, Coventry has a rich heritage and is full of hidden wonders. Did you know that Coventry was capital of England, not once, but twice?

From the invention of the jet engine, to ribbon weaving and watchmaking, and of course being the centre of the motor industry, our city has constantly re-invented itself to survive and that appetite for invention remains today and will drive us as we bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.


From Warwick Arts Centre and the Belgrade Theatre to the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre, the Tin Music and Arts, Coventry Godiva Festival, Coventry Cathedral and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum there is already lots to do and see in the city. Winning UK City of Culture will give us the opportunity to not only showcase and enhance the organisations that we already have but will help nurture new creative industries.