Wondering where the best places to live in the UK are? The UK may be small, but no two cities here are the same.
It’s not only the contrasting landscapes, but each region’s character is diverse. In the UK, you’ll find everything from cosmopolitan cities with high rises to tiny enchanting English villages surrounded by green countryside.
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Of course, the bright lights of London call the hearts of numerous expats, but you’ll find many of the best places to live in the UK elsewhere.
So if you’re wondering where to live in the UK, read on.
London has been the most desirable place to live and work for foreign expats for centuries due to its abundant job opportunities, high wages, and vibrant, fast-paced life. So if you want to work your way up in a big company, London is where you should base yourself.
Here, there are the headquarters of all the major banks like HSBC, along with significant law firms, brokers, and technology companies. In fact, the job market is so diverse that you can find almost any type of job in the city center.
If you lack skills or experience, you’ll still find employment in the hospitality industry easily. However, the wages may not be high enough to match the high cost of living.
For example, rent in London is the highest in the UK. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost as much as £1,800.
Because of this, many expats choose to live in the outer boroughs or surrounding suburbs. Here, rent is cheaper but still expensive, on average £1,300.
Living far from the city center will also drastically increase your commute time. The city is so huge that it takes over 1 hour to get from one side to the other.
Still, aside from the price and commuting, you’ll surely enjoy an exciting lifestyle in the capital city. Each area has a unique ambiance, so whatever your style, you’ll find what you are looking for.
Plus, the underground transport system (known as the tube) is quick, regular, and efficient at getting you around.
The seaside town of Brighton on the southern coast of England is easily one of the best places to live in the UK. It is favored for its beachfront location, young bohemian vibe, and the large LGBT community.
While the beach is not much to shout about, the pier has a busy, eclectic vibe, bustling day and night during the summer. The North Laines are the real gem of the town, though, full of hipster cafes, vegan restaurants, and quirky boutiques.
The close distance to the capital city is another reason why Brighton is one of the best cities to live in the UK. It is just one hour by train from Brighton to London; thus, many people living in Brighton work between both cities.
As you would expect, Brighton’s popularity has resulted in high rents and living costs, almost on par with the capital city. General monthly living costs excluding rent will come in at about £750.
However, rent is 23% lower than in London, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center usually costing between £1,000 and £1,200.
With that being said, if you live out of the city center, you’ll find much more affordable housing, and as the town is relatively small, it doesn’t take too long to commute in.
In terms of jobs, you’ll find many creative positions like graphic designers as well as opportunities in holistic therapies like yoga teachers. What’s more, there are many startup companies in technology and software.
Scotland’s capital is one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, steeped in history and culture. There is so much beauty, from the vibrant Old Town to the regal Georgian New Town and the iconic Edinburgh Castle that sits atop a hill overlooking the city center.
However, this Scottish city’s magnificence is not the only thing that makes it one of the most popular places to live in the UK for expats. It’s considerably cheaper than many of the big cities in England, the schools and universities are top quality, and the crime rates are lower than in other parts of the country.
Edinburgh is also a cultural hub, hosting many huge festivals each year, such as Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh fringe. Several art galleries, picturesque parks, and lovely beaches are also nearby.
Edinburgh may not have as many job opportunities as London. Still, it’s certainly not hard for foreigners to find work here.
Healthcare, software and digital technology, renewable energy, engineering, and sales are just some thriving industries.
Rent can be as much as 50% cheaper than in London, with one-bedroom apartments ranging from £600 to £900. General living costs are around 20% lower too.
The southeastern city of Bristol has become one of the most desirable places to live in the UK in recent years. The port city has a strong history in maritime trading and shipbuilding, but today, it’s one of the trendiest places to live.
Entrepreneurs have flocked to Bristol; thus, startups are abundant. The wellness industry is also thriving with many holistic therapy job opportunities.
There is also a thriving alternative art scene and top-quality education establishments.
The popularity of Bristol’s universities gives this city a young and fun-loving atmosphere and a vibrant night scene. Bristol is also one of the most eco-friendly cities in the United Kingdom, so it is a top choice among those looking to live a sustainable life.
Although Bristol is far from the capital, living costs are noticeably cheaper than London and nearby cities like Brighton. For example, rent costs can be as much as 40% lower in Bristol, and consumer prices almost 20% lower.
It is common knowledge that the north of England is considerably cheaper than the south. Manchester is probably the most well-known city in the north thanks to the world-famous football team Manchester United.
Manchester is enormous, full of shops, restaurants, and things to do. The nightlife is also one of the best in the country.
There is an ideal blend of old and new, thanks to the combination of historical buildings and modern highrises. Another reason Manchester is one of the best cities to live in the UK is its thriving economy and promising job prospects.
Manufacturing is by far the most prominent industry here. Still, there are job opportunities in other sectors like media and healthcare.
Each part of the city has a unique character; for example, the Northern Quarter is a hipster hangout. Still, the housing market all over the city is pretty good, and rent prices are a staggering 50% lower than in London.
Thus, Manchester may be your best bet if you move to the UK and want to keep your living costs down.
Belfast is another of the best places to live in the United Kingdom because of its traditional British atmosphere and culture. Northern Ireland’s capital is also a welcoming, safe, and affordable place to live and work.
Belfast is most known for being the birthplace of the RMS Titanic. Still, the city has many ancient buildings and historical sites among the lively Irish pubs, hip bistros, and craft coffee shops in the Cathedral Quarter.
Thus, Belfast is a top choice for those looking to relocate to the UK to enjoy both traditional and modern British culture.
Job opportunities are plentiful in this thriving city, especially in manufacturing, engineering, health, and financial services. Plus, by opting for Belfast over London you could save up to 60% on rent as a city center 1-bedroom apartment can be found for less than £800.
Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In The UK
The United Kingdom is one of Europe’s most beautiful and culture-rich countries. The above six places to live in the UK boast their own character.
Yet, they all feature beautiful historic architecture and, of course, that classic British charm.
Heading to the UK soon? Read the following guides: