Bradford, Stirling, County Durham and Wrexham are among the places in the running for the title of the UK's City of Culture 2025.
The longlist, unveiled by new Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, also includes Cornwall, Southampton, Derby and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.
The winning city, which will succeed Coventry, will be announced in spring next year.
For the first time, each listee will receive £40,000 worth of investment.
They will all work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to finalise their bids before the shortlist is announced early next year.
"Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background," said Ms Dorries in a statement on Friday.
"This year's focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come."
She added: "I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition."
More places than ever before put in bids to become the next UK City of Culture. An initial list of 20 places was whittled down to eight potential winners by an independent advisory panel.
All bidders were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, and how they would use it to recover from the impact of Covid.
As well as Coventry, other previous winners have included Hull and Londonderry.
UK City of Culture 2025 longlist
- Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
- County Durham
- Wrexham County Borough
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