A total of 26 towns will compete for the right to become a city as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the government has said.
Bournemouth, Coleraine, Perth and Wrexham are among those on the list.
Twelve existing cities have also applied for the right to appoint a lord mayor.
City status is rarely granted and in the last contest - held in 2002 for the Queen's Golden Jubilee - Preston, Newry and Newport were among the winners.
Events to mark The Queen's 60 years on the throne will take place in the first weekend of June 2012, with an extra bank holiday being created.
The 26 towns applying for city status are: Bolton, Bournemouth, Chelmsford, Colchester, Coleraine, Corby, Craigavon, Croydon, Doncaster, Dorchester, Dudley, Dumfries, Gateshead, Goole, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Perth, Reading, Southend, St Asaph, St Austell, Stockport, Tower Hamlets and Wrexham.
The 12 cities applying for a lord mayoralty are: Armagh, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Lancaster, Newport, Peterborough, Salford, Southampton, St Albans, Sunderland, and Wakefield.
In a written statement, Cabinet Office Minister Mark Harper said: "This is a magnificent response to the competition and it is clear an impressive amount of effort has gone into all the applications that have been submitted.
"The process of assessing the entries will begin shortly. Careful consideration will be given to all applications, after which ministers will formally provide their advice to Her Majesty, as such honours are awarded under royal prerogative."
Mr Harper said the winners would be announced in early 2012.