In the UK, city status is not automatically granted to a community meeting any particular criteria. It can only be obtained by receiving a Royal Charter. However some British cities which predate the historical monarchy have been regarded as cities since "time immemorial".

Until the 1880s, a town was usually granted city status if and only if it had a diocesan cathedral within its limits. Nowdays the government holds competitions for city status, with towns submitting applications to the Lord Chancellor, who makes recomendations to the sovereign. These are usually held to mark special events, such as coronationss or royal jubilees.

Some cities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have the further distinction of having a Lord Mayor (as opposed to a Mayor). In Scotland the equivalent are Lord Provosts.

There are currently 66 cities (including thirty Lord Mayoralties or Lord Provostships) in the UK: 50 cities (23 Lord Mayoralties) in England, 5 cities (2 Lord Mayoralties) in Wales, 6 cities (4 Lord Provostships) in Scotland and 5 cities (1 Lord Mayoralty) in Northern Ireland. Cities with Lord Mayors or Lord Provosts are shown in bold. Those which have been cities since time immemorial have '-' in the since column.

English Cities
Bath1590Bath Abbey3
Birmingham1889Birmingham Cathedral1
Bradford1897Bradford Cathedral1
Brighton & Hove2000none1
Bristol1542Bristol Cathedral1
Canterbury-Christchurch Cathedral 2
Carlisle-Carlisle Cathedral2
Chester-Chester Cathedral2
Chichester-Chichester Cathedral2
Coventry1345Coventry Cathedral1
Derby1977Derby Cathedral1
Durham-Durham Cathedral2
Ely-Ely Cathedral4
Exeter-Exeter Cathedral2
Gloucester-Gloucester Cathedral2
Hereford1189Hereford Cathedral3
Kingston upon Hull1299none1
Leicester1919Leicester Cathedral1
Lichfield1553Lichfield Cathedral2
Lincoln-Lincoln Cathedral2
Liverpool1880Liverpool Cathedral1
London-St Paul's Cathedral1
Manchester1853Manchester Cathedral1
Newcastle upon Tyne1882Newcastle Cathedral1
Norwich1195Norwich Cathedral2
Oxford1542 Christ Church Cathedral2
Peterborough1541Peterborough Cathedral1
Portsmouth1926Portsmouth Cathedral1
Ripon1836Ripon Cathedral4
Rochester1211Rochester Cathedral3
Salisbury-Salisbury Cathedral2
Sheffield1893Sheffield Cathedral1
St Albans1877St Albans Cathedral2
Truro1877Truro Cathedral4
Wakefield1888Wakefield Cathedral1
Wells1205Wells Cathedral4
Westminster1540Westminster Abbey1
Winchester-Winchester Cathedral2
Worcester1189Worcester Cathedral2
York-York Minster1
Welsh Cities
Bangor-Bangor Cathedral3
Cardiff1905Llandaff Cathedral1
Newport2002St. Woolos Cathedral1
St. David's1994St. David's Cathedral3
Scottish Cities
Aberdeen1891Aberdeen Cathedral1
Edinburgh1329Edinburgh Cathedral1
Glasgow1492Glasgow Cathedral1
Northern Irish Cities
Armagh1994Saint Patrick's Cathedral1
Belfast1888Cathedral Church of Saint Anne1
Londonderry1613Saint Columb's Cathedral1
1 - City is a unitary authority
2 - City is a district within an administrative county
3 - City is within a unitary authority and has no city council
4 - City is within a district and has no city council
*Cathedral or Episcopal Seat of the Estabished Church

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