Stefan and I created Love Wrexham Magazine nearly three years ago now. It has always been a labour of love and, although neither of us was from Wrexham, we both felt a strong connection with the area. We were keen to talk about all the great things our town and county had to offer. No matter how obscure.
Firstly, as we built the Love Wrexham ethos and grew to know the area more, we realised how vibrant and diversified Wrexham was. Therefore, it seems very fitting that we have applied for and reached the 2025 UK City of Culture “longlist”.
“UK City of Culture” is bestowed on a town (or a local area from 2025) in the United Kingdom for one calendar year. We should not confuse the City of Culture with the “City Status” bid or the “European Capitals of Culture” award that Glasgow and Liverpool won in 1990 and 2008, respectively.
The UK-wide City of Culture programme aims to build on the success of Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture, which had considerable socioeconomic benefits for the area. The selection process happens every four years. Previous winners were Derry (2013), Kingston upon Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021)
The longlist for 2025 comprises eight areas. These are Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough.
What Culture Can We Offer?
Wrexham Borough is bursting at the seams with examples of tangible culture. Wrexham is host to three of the seven “Wonders of Wales”: St Giles’ Church, The Gresford Bells and the Overton Yew Trees. A fourth, the Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall in Powys, is only a few miles from its southwesterly border.
The town centre boasts St Mary’s Cathedral, Wrexham Museum, Tŷ Pawb, Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, The old “Market” buildings, the Arcades and also the Wrexham Lager brewery. You can find two National Trust properties in the wider county area: Erddig and Chirk Castle. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is a World Heritage Site.
We have a beautiful racecourse at Bangor-on-Dee and one of the finest country retail centres at the Plassey. There are amazing parks like Alyn Waters, Nant Mill, Acton Park and Marford Quarry. Park In The Past and areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as Hope Mountain and World’s End, are also within easy reach.
In Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Wrexham AFC has two Hollywood legends as its new owners. Diversity abounds in the area with large and bustling Polish and Portuguese communities. Several venues host various examples of performing arts, and we also have significant and influential education facilities in Glyndŵr University and Coleg Cambria.
A Legacy and Beyond
As a guide to the “City of Culture effect”, Hull attracted more than five million visitors, £220m of investment and 800 jobs. “City of Culture had a big impact on pride and people’s sense of community,” says Glenn Burgess, Professor of Early Modern History at Hull University.
He adds “The positions were a mix of long and short-term contracts with many businesses looking to make jobs permanent. The City of Culture impact was noticeable before 2017 and momentum started building as soon as the announcement in 2013. The travel companion Rough Guides said Hull became one of the top 10 tourist destinations for 2016.”
An estimated 4.75 million people visited the city in 2013, and this figure increased to 5.3 million in 2017.
Four years earlier in 2013, Londonderry became the UK’s first-ever City of Culture. A year described by locals as the happiest in the city’s history. “It was fantastic. The reputational improvement and visibility of the city are the biggest long-term impacts” said the city’s senior economist, Michael Gallagher.
The UK City of Culture is an opportunity to bring communities together and build local pride. It can help develop new partnerships and attract tourists from far and wide. It would allow us to celebrate local culture and also show the rest of the world what a hidden jewel Wrexham is.
Love Wrexham Magazine unreservedly supports the bid!
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