Wrexham has made the shortilist of four to be named the UK City of Culture 2025.

Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough have been unveiled as the four areas shortlisted to be UK City of Culture 2025.

The four locations were approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice made to the government by a panel of experts led by Sir Phil Redmond.  

The finalists were whittled down from a record 20 initial bids to eight outstanding longlist applications which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

READ MORE: The events that could be coming to Wrexham as part of the City of Culture bid

The bid has received large backing in Wrexham, from MPs, MS's, Police officers and Wrexham AFC, to name a few. 

There has also been a strong desire to let the bid be shaped by the public and to get their views on how the bid should be presented.

The vast benefits of winning the prestigious title include attracting millions of pounds in additional investment to help boost regeneration, a year in the cultural spotlight with hundreds of events encouraging long-lasting participation in the arts, and growth for local tourism. 

WATCH: Wrexham starts to tell its story to the world with official launch of City of Culture bid

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “The UK City of Culture competition shows the important role that culture can play in levelling up our towns, cities and rural communities - bringing investment, great events, thousands of tourists, and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds. 

“This has been a record year for bids, which is great to see. Congratulations to the four shortlisted places - I wish them all the best of luck.”  

READ MORE: 'We will win': Politician talks up Wrexham City of Culture bid

Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “We have had a great longlist to select from, which made the shortlisting difficult, but I am now looking forward to visiting each of the shortlisted places with the panel to witness culture’s catalytic effect in action.”

Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton said: “This is great news for Wrexham. With our brewing, mining and football heritage, we have a strong feeling of pride and community spirit in our town.

The Leader:

"As the only remaining bid in Wales, this is a unique opportunity to showcase, not only our Welsh culture, but all that Wrexham has to offer. We are now one step closer to being named City of Culture 2025, further putting Wrexham on the map."

The expert advisory panel, chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, will now visit the four shortlisted places before making their final recommendation in May. The winner will be announced this year in Coventry.