Candidates for UK’s City of Culture (and how the whole project got mired in stupidity)


Food and drink (8/10)

Although Wolverhampton, Manchester and Glasgow want to quibble, Bradford – with its large Anglo-Pakistani, Anglo-Bangladeshi and Anglo-Indian population – is generally recognized as Britain’s curry capital. Visit Bradford lists some of the best options, including the city’s cornerstone, The Kashmir ( More at

Sporting prowess (8/10)

You can’t make a big deal out of Bradford as a major cricketing metropolis, despite its regional location – Yorkshire County Cricket Club is firmly based in Leeds. Bradford AFC ( adds a lot to the mix, with a history that dates back to 1903, but has haunted the bottom half of the football league for much of that time. So hooray for rugby league titans Bradford Bulls (, who, despite a steep decline since 2014, have been three-time world champions this millennium.

Total score: 60/70

County Durham

Where is it? (6/10)

Up England. Above Yorkshire, but below Tyne and Wear, below Northumberland, below Scotland. Below is Norway too, but you get the idea.

Is it really a city? Well no, it’s a ceremonial county. The clue is in the name. But it does contain a very pretty town (Durham), as well as the towns of Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Hartlepool – as well as everyone’s favorite new place to test their post-Covid eyesight before a long family trip, Barnard Castle.

Notable heritage (10/10)

Many, many and many. The Bishop of Auckland originated in the 11th century and is closely linked to the time when the Bishops of Durham were as much princes as priests. Durham itself dates to 995 AD, and a glorious founding tale about a group of monks, a holy coffin that suddenly couldn’t be moved, and a decision to build a church on a hill where a lost cow was found. What’s more medieval than that?


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