Judges deciding which area should be awarded the title of City of Culture 2025 will visit Southampton in less than 24 hours.

The 10-person panel, headed up by Sir Phil Redmond CBE, will make their way to the city on Friday to see all it has to offer. 

Southampton is in the running for the accolade alongside Bradford, County Durham and Wrexham County Borough. 

The winner of the contest will be revealed by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries later this month.

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What can we expect from the visit?

On Friday judges will be given a tour of the city by boat, bus, car and on foot, meeting local community groups, creatives, artists and businesses who are supporting the bid.

They will enjoy lunch prepared by Southampton’s MasterChef winner and SO25 UK City of Culture Chair, Shelina Permaloo.

Her menu promises to reflect the city’s diverse cultural influences and communities and celebrate the flavours of the city.

Although the actual itinery cannot be confirmed ahead of the visit, the panel will most likely be shown the city's most famous landmarks.

Where else have the judges been?

County Durham, in the North East, was the first place visited by the judges earlier this week.

Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral are two key landmarks they explored during their trip on Monday.

The next day it was Bradford’s turn. The panel visited the National Science and Media Museum, an area called Little Germany and a former silk factory.

The bid team at Wrexham County Borough, the only Welsh finalist, had the chance to show the judges around on Wednesday – Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse stadium and the Old Hippodrome site taking centre stage during the tour.

Who is backing Southampton's bid?

Dozens of people, ranging from celebraties and footballers to community leaders, are supporting Southampton's bid to become City of Culture.

Among them is Southampton native Craig David who described the city as "bursting with culture".

Singer and politician, Baroness Floella Benjamin, English cricketer, Charlotte Edwards CBE, British sculptor, Bill Woodrow and fashion designer, Jenny Packham are also on the star-studded list of ambassadors.

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