When it comes to Welsh culture, many people will think of places like Cardiff as the capital city, St David’s as the place where the patron saint established his cathedral, or even the polysyllabic Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which is certainly not a name for the hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic.

However, the place culture vultures should be looking to right now is Wrexham, which has just been named on the shortlist of candidates to be the UK City of Culture 2025.

It is the one Welsh entry on the shortlist and will be up against Bradford, County Durham and Southampton.

For those whose fascination with Welsh culture might focus on the language, the dress and, of course, hand carved love spoons, some may wonder what the north Wales town has to offer.

To begin with, just as the Durham bid is for the whole county and not just the city, the Wrexham bid covers the whole county borough. This means it includes a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal. Measuring 18 km in length, it is regarded as a 19th century masterpiece of engineering, by Thomas Telford.

Wrexham itself has a great sporting heritage, with its football club being one of the oldest in the world and now living a true Hollywood existence after the takeover by A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny last year.

The club’s Racecourse Ground home is the oldest international football venue still staging the sport, while the town was also where the Welsh Football Association was formed in 1876.

Wrexham’s bid also highlights its mining heritage, the frequent speaking of Welsh and its new aspiration to be the UK’s ‘capital of play’, with the county including some of the Berwyns Range of mountains. The latter includes Cadair Berwyn, at 2,730 ft the highest Welsh peak outside its national parks.

Anyone thinking that Wrexham is far from the centre of Welsh culture might just be about to get a pleasant surprise.

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