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Full List and Introduction: Best 10 Cities to Live in the UK

As we’ve entered 2024, we thought it would be a good time to update our list of the best cities to live in the UK. After some lively discussions, we’ve come up with a handful of options that we think could be useful for those considering a move or a change of scenery within the UK. So, here are our top picks for the best cities to live in the UK!


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


Average Rental Price:


Average Property Price:


Crime Rate:

95 per 1,000 people (125% of National Crime Rate)

The Best Cities to Live in the UK – 2024 Edition
things to do in the uk

We were torn between choices, but in the end, we still decided to put London at the number one spot on our list of best cities to live in the UK. London is a dream city for many people, since it offers a delightful mix of everything you could ever wish for when experiencing the UK. It’s a place where you can truly be yourself, and the city radiates inclusivity, celebrating diversity and individuality like no other.

What’s more, London is the grandest city in the United Kingdom, with a booming economy and a reputation as one of the world’s financial powerhouses. Job opportunities abound, especially in sectors like finance, media, retail, and IT. Incomes in Greater London are sky-high compared to other cities in the UK, making it an attractive destination for young professionals seeking better career prospects.

Now, let’s address the not-so-glamorous side. Brace yourself for the notorious London living costs and housing prices that seem to soar higher each year. Sure, the job market is buzzing, but salaries often struggle to keep pace with the city’s demands.

However, despite its flaws, we simply couldn’t resist giving London that top spot. It’s still a city of absolute marvels that will leave you wide-eyed and yearning for more.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate: 

128.9 per 1,000 people (170% of National Crime Rate)

Nestled in the North West of England, Manchester stands as one of the core cities in the country, serving as a thriving regional centre. In 2014, the UK launched a growth plan, aiming to boost economic development in the northern region to rival London’s success. Manchester, in particular, has been at the forefront of this growth, attracting new industries and becoming a hub for IT and media companies. Renowned international corporations like Adidas and Google have also chosen to establish their regional headquarters or branch offices in Manchester, transforming the city into a youthful, innovative, and dynamic urban landscape.

For sports and music enthusiasts alike, Manchester needs no introduction. It offers a rich taste of football culture and a vibrant music scene, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.

Compared to the bustling capital, Manchester boasts a friendlier atmosphere and more affordable living. Rent prices in Manchester are approximately 50% lower than in London, making it an attractive choice for families seeking to immigrate or young individuals looking for job opportunities within the UK.

Education-wise, the city takes pride in the esteemed University of Manchester, one of the UK’s Red Brick universities. Additionally, Manchester is home to numerous public and private primary and secondary schools with exceptional progression rates. In fact, as of 2024 cycle, a remarkable 57 schools in Manchester achieved the highest Ofsted Outstanding rating, making it particularly appealing for immigrant families with children.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

60.7 per 1,000 people (80% of National Crime Rate)

The Best Cities to Live in the UK – 2024 Edition
university of edinburgh

Located in the heart of Scotland, Edinburgh boasts a population of nearly 530,000 and enjoys a steadily growing economy. It is the economic hub of Scotland and stands as the largest financial centre in the United Kingdom outside of London. With its rich political history and vibrant culture, Edinburgh also thrives on tourism. So it offers ample employment opportunities while maintaining a reasonable city size, population density, and a pleasant natural environment, making it an ideal destination for many.

When it comes to education, the University of Edinburgh stands as one of the oldest universities in the UK, with a remarkable history spanning nearly 438 years. For primary and secondary education, the Royal High School of Edinburgh, established back in 1128, proudly claims its place as one of Scotland’s oldest schools. Additionally, the city is home to nearly 100 primary and secondary schools, ensuring a wide range of educational choices for residents.

However, it’s important to note that Edinburgh’s climate may pose challenges for some. Winters can be long, cold, and lacking in sunshine. This is definitely a factor to consider before making the decision to settle in Edinburgh.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

37 per 1,000 people (49% of National Crime Rate)

University of Bristol

The lively harbor city of Bristol is a popular and vibrant place to call home in southern England. It stands out as the major metropolitan area in the southwest, with a population of over 467,000 residents.

Bristol’s industries have a strong focus on aerospace and engineering, manufacturing impressive things like aircraft, automobiles, and engines. In recent years, the city has expanded its industrial landscape, attracting multinational high-tech companies such as HP and STMicroelectronics. Bristol has also been diversifying its economy, embracing sectors like financial services, tourism, and other services, which means there are plenty of job opportunities to explore.

When it comes to education, Bristol shines with the prestigious University of Bristol. Additionally, the city boasts 46 primary and secondary schools that have achieved the highest Ofsted rating of ‘Outstanding’ in 2024 cycle.

Bristol is also renowned for its safety, making it a reassuring place to live. If you’re seeking a safeer city to live in the UK, then Bristol is definitely one of the best choices.

However, it’s worth noting that house prices in Bristol can be relatively high. Additionally, some have observed a lack of diversity among the residents.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

145 per 1,000 people (191% of National Crime Rate)

what should you prepare before goning to university of birmingham

Birmingham is the largest city outside London. It’s a melting pot of cultures, boasting the third most immigrants in the UK.

Historically known as a major manufacturing centre, Birmingham has been the powerhouse behind industries like automotive, aircraft, machinery, and chemicals. But it’s not stuck in the past! In recent years, the city has undergone an incredible transformation, embracing the service sector, finance, and tourism. Birmingham and Manchester have similar incomes and a slightly lower cost of living. So, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a balanced lifestyle and a high quality of life. That’s what makes them dream destinations for those who want to work hard and play harder.

One thing that sets Birmingham apart is its youthful energy. The Greater Birmingham area boasts the youngest population in Europe, with a whopping 60% of residents under the age of 40.

Situated right in the heart of England, Birmingham is like a transportation ninja. It’s strategically positioned along the main railway line connecting London to Liverpool, making it a hub of travel. Birmingham New Street Station, right smack in the city center, is the beating heart of the UK rail network, providing seamless connections to various cities.

However, Birmingham does have a bit of a setback when it comes to crime rates. They’re higher than in many other UK cities, and that might make some people worry about safety.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

36.4 per 1,000 people (48% of National Crime Rate)

The Best Cities to Live in the UK – 2024 Edition
Best 10 Cities to Live in the UK, nottingham

Nottingham, nestled in the heart of England’s center-east, is not only one of the UK’s six ‘Science Cities’ but also a bustling trading hub.

This city boasts breathtaking scenery and a rich history, setting the stage for a relaxed and tranquil pace of life. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a comfortable and contented existence, as the locals have a high level of satisfaction with their lives.

Nottingham is a melting pot of cultures, even more diverse than Edinburgh and Bristol. The warm and welcoming locals make it a super friendly city for people from all walks of life.

What’s more, Nottingham enjoys excellent transportation connections to other cities across the country. You can easily hop on a train and reach London in just 1.5 hours, Leicester in a mere 30 minutes, and Sheffield in a quick 50 minutes. So, while niche job opportunities might be a tad scarce compared to larger cities, you can easily commute from Nottingham to various parts of the country, opening up a world of possibilities.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

48.9 per 1,000 people (64% of National Crime Rate)

University of Liverpool

Liverpool, a famous port city in the north-west of England, is the fifth largest city in the UK and a fantastic place to live. It’s known for its thriving business scene and has a lot to offer.

When you think of Liverpool, two things come to mind: music and football. The city has a rich musical heritage and is the birthplace of The Beatles. It’s also home to two Premier League football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC. In 2008, Liverpool was named the European Capital of Culture, highlighting its vibrant arts and history. It’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the best cities to visit in the UK.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer and looking for best cities to live in the UK, Liverpool is a great choice. It has a strong sense of community and offers a high quality of life. The best part is that house prices are relatively affordable, so you can get more for your money compared to many other cities, especially in the expensive south of England.

One thing to consider is that Liverpool’s location by the harbor can make it a bit tricky to travel directly to other cities outside the north-west. However, if you prefer to stay closer to Manchester or Chester and don’t want to venture too far, Liverpool is the perfect UK city to call home.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

37.9 per 1,000 people (50% of National Crime Rate)

Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales, known for being a vital port and a hub for industry and services.

The city offers beautiful scenery, with its charming old buildings and picturesque harborfront being the main attractions. Cardiff is home to the famous Welsh Opera House and the Welsh rugby team. It’s also conveniently located near Glamorgan beaches, the majestic Brecon Beacons, and many historic castles. Additionally, you’ll find exciting independent restaurants, lively bars, and up-and-coming neighborhoods to explore.

One of the great things about Cardiff is its affordability compared to other southern UK cities. Rent prices are almost 35% lower than in London and 22% lower than in Bristol, which is just a short 45-minute train ride away across the River Severn.

This lower cost of living makes Cardiff a popular choice among students, but it also attracts non-students looking for an affordable place to live. Moreover, Cardiff is gaining recognition as one of the UK’s emerging cities for job opportunities, particularly in creative industries, manufacturing, and financial services.

However, it’s worth noting that Cardiff may not be as diverse as some other cities on this list. If a strong sense of community and multiculturalism is important to you, you might find larger cities with a greater emphasis on diversity more appealing.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

122.8 per 1,000 people (162% of National Crime Rate)

Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, is considered to be one of the best cities to live in the UK. It offers a modern vibe, more diversity, and cheaper housing than neighboring Edinburgh.

Glasgow is a typical Scottish city, with its city centre located on the north bank of the River Clyde, famous for its shipyards. The city is home to some of the best art galleries and museums in the UK. You’ll find plenty of affordable restaurants and pubs that blend old and modern styles.

The city has good transport links to other parts of Scotland, northern English cities, and the beautiful Scottish countryside. However, it may take a while to reach other major cities, which could be a downside if you have family or friends elsewhere in the UK.

Glasgow is renowned for being one of the friendliest cities in the world. However, it’s worth noting that certain areas have higher crime rates, so it’s important to do your research before choosing a neighborhood to live in. Additionally, Glasgow has a strong local accent, so be prepared for a unique linguistic experience if you’re not a native of the UK.


Monthly Living Expenses for Singles (Without Rent):


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Crime Rate:

110 per 1,000 people (145% of National Crime Rate)

The Best 10 Cities to Live in the UK

Belfast is the largest seaport in Northern Ireland, located at the mouth of the River Lagan on the northeast coast of the island of Ireland. It has been the capital of Northern Ireland since 1920 and serves as the political, cultural, and industrial center of the region.

Northern Ireland, often called the Green Kingdom, is known for its beautiful natural scenery, fresh air, vast green grasslands, mountains, and picturesque bodies of water. The coastline in the north features bustling harbors and historic castles with centuries of history.

Belfast’s job market has seen significant growth, particularly in emerging sectors like technology, cybersecurity, and financial services. This has created more job opportunities in the city. Moreover, Belfast offers a peaceful lifestyle and fosters friendly relationships, allowing residents to enjoy a good work-life balance.

However, the weather in Belfast can be unpredictable, with frequent rainfall throughout the year. This might not suit those who prefer drier or sunnier climates.

Best Cities to Live in the UK – Full List

We’ve compiled a data table for the best cities to live in the UK. It includes information on cost of living, rents, house prices, crime rates, and more. We hope you find it useful!

City Monthly Living Expenses for Singles
(without rent)
Average Rental Price Average Property Price Crime Rate
(Per 1,000 People)
London £1,090 £2,127 £729,802 95
Manchester £851 £1,148 £294,102 128.9
Edinburgh £901 £1,849 £335,189 60.7
Bristol £818 £1,794 £386,094 37
Birmingham £753 £1,606 £268,102 145
Nottingham £821 £1,385 £252,814 36.4
Liverpool £855 £875 £211,883 48.9
Cardiff £782 £1,406 £288,739 37.9
Glasgow £844 £1,514 £211,231 122.8
Belfast £747 £1,302 £231,648 110

Best Cities to Live in the UK - FAQ

Factors to consider include job opportunities, cost of living, quality of schools and education, public transportation, healthcare facilities, cultural and recreational amenities, safety, and the overall lifestyle and atmosphere of the city.

Cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh typically offer a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. 

Cities like Edinburgh, Bristol, and Cambridge often rank highly in terms of quality of life due to their cultural offerings, educational opportunities, natural surroundings, and overall livability. 

Most major cities in the UK have well-developed public transportation systems, including buses, trains, trams, and underground networks. London has an extensive public transport network, while cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh also offer reliable and convenient transportation options.

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