- Perth is a picturesque city in central Scotland, and is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’. It received its status as a city in 2012, and once focused on the production of leather, linen and whisky, but Perth is now much more of a centre for retail and service industries, and the hope is that its bid for City of Culture Status will help to revitalise its deep-rooted creative community. Millions are being invested in refurbishing its historic theatre and creating new attractions, and the bid focuses on Perth’s history and heritage, its stunning location, which teems with natural beauty, and its role as a hub of creativity.
- Coventry in the West Midlands is the ninth largest city in England and famous for being one of the cities that suffered the most in the bombings of World War II, losing its 14th century cathedral and then building Coventry Cathedral next to its ruins. Coventry is the city which gave birth to a number of inventions and innovations, including the jet engine, and is currently the proud centre of the motor industry. The bid for UK City of Culture is intended to ‘transform the profile and perceptions of Coventry’ as a place to visit, and to highlight the city’s hidden assets.
- Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire with a long history that goes back to Roman times. The city had applied to be the 2017 UK City of Culture, but was beaten by Hull, and it is now having a go at winning the designation for 2021. Famous for its warships and as the birthplace of Charles Dickens, Portsmouth is also known for its commitment to theatrical arts. The bid for 2021 will further raise the profile of the city and strengthen its reputation amongst tourists as one of the highlights of the UK.
- Swansea in Wales is another contender for the 2021 UK City of Culture which also ran for the 2017 designation. It is the second largest city in Wales, and is rightly proud of the fact that it was the birthplace of Dylan Thomas. The bid for the 2021 designation will focus on highlighting Swansea as a home of creativity, culture and digital innovation.
- Other cities being offered by bookmakers for the 2021 UK City of Culture are Paisley, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent, Hereford, St Davids, Warrington and Wells.
As previous competitions for the City of Culture designation have demonstrated, picking the ultimate winner is never a straightforward task, so it is difficult to side with any one city with a high measure of confidence. We are inclined to think that the chances of Portsmouth and Swansea could reasonably be discounted due to the fact that both ran for the 2017 designation and lost out to Hull, but the powers that be may think differently, and the fact that both cities are in the front four in the betting means that the bookies clearly think that they have a decent shot of making it second time lucky.
Of the market leaders, we are hard-pressed to choose between Perth and Coventry, as both would be deserving and popular choices. Coventry is perhaps better known as a hub of innovation than of culture, and for that reason – as well as the facts that Perth is the youngest city of the two, and is set in one of the most visually stunning parts of the country – we will cautiously side with the favourite to win.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip – Perth to be 2021 UK City of Cuture – 5/2
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.