The most attractive city to live in the UK has been revealed

Posted by
Susan Devaney

A new survey has revealed the best cities to lives in the UK. And London didn’t come out on top…

Our little island has a lot to offer in terms of great cities to live. But with so many to pick from it can be rather difficult to opt for one to settle down in and call home.

Thankfully, the Royal Mail have made life easier for us all by conducting a study to find out exactly which city tops them all. By ranking 12 cities across nine categories, the researchers considered access to education, green space and healthcare, cultural services and housing costs.

And Edinburgh came out on top.

“It is great news that Edinburgh is, yet again, receiving recognition as the UK’s top city to live and work in,” said Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey.

“The facts demonstrating the city’s attributes are plentiful and our own statistics in Edinburgh by Numbers show that Edinburgh is a vibrant capital city with a diverse economy, an increasing population with strong investment potential.”

Peruse our gallery below to find out which other places made the cut – and get some inspiration for your next big move, too…

12. Birmingham

Scene in the famous Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Jewellery Quarter is an area of Birmingham, England. Situated in the south of the Hockley area of the city centre. The Jewellery Quarter is Europe's largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade, which produces 40% of all the jewellery made in the UK. It is also home to the world's largest Assay Office, which hallmarks around 12 million items a year. Historically the Jewellery Quarter has been the birthplace of many pioneering advancements in industrial technology. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

As the UK’s third largest contributor to the country’s GDP, the city offers affordable office space in a highly populated place.   

11. Belfast   

BELFAST, ME - AUGUST 6: Belfast's Harbor Walk is a mile-long trail along the city's waterfront and is popular because it affords great views of the Belfast Harbor, like this scene of the schooner Timberwind returning from a sunset cruise on Thursday, August 6, 2015. (Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, scored well in terms of space and housing – with the average house price costing around the equivalent of five years’ wages.

10. Liverpool      

The Historic Philharmonic Pub And Dining Rooms On The Corner Of Hope And Hardman Streets In Liverpool, England, Britain, Uk. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Liverpool has a lot to offer when it comes to housing and office space affordability, as houses average at 4.5 times the average annual income.

9. Sheffield     

A woman sits on a bench over looking the city at Meersbrook Park on 25 June 2017 in Sheffield, United Kingdom (photo by Tessa Bunney/In Pictures via Getty Images)

With 32% green urban or natural land, Sheffield has the third highest level of access to green space out of all twelve cities. 

8. Cardiff

*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY *** PENTYRCH, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 01: Scenic view of a man walking with his dog during dawn on the first day of the meteorological autumn on September 1, 2017 in Pentyrch, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Mark Hawkins / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 (Photo credit should read Mark Hawkins / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

The Welsh capital came out strong in terms of on access to education, earnings, and affordability of office space.

7. Leeds

The city has the third highest average weekly wage at £526 and does well in terms of job opportunities, with an employment rate of 73.3%.

6. Glasgow

Glasgow comes in first for it’s abundance of green space. Ranking third for rich cultural services, the city has 7.1 theatres and 60.2 libraries per million people. Access to education in Glasgow is also strong. 

5. Manchester 

Manchester has the second best access to green space out of the twelve cities at 32%. However, it falls short in terms of earnings with the average weekly pay being £500, compared to £697 in London and £578 in Edinburgh.

4. Newcastle-Gateshead

Newcastle and Gateshead rank top for cultural services, with 10.7 theatres and 68.6 libraries per million people.

3. Bristol 

Bristol is the top ranking UK city for job opportunities. It also has 56.6 start-ups per 10,000 people and average earnings of £525 per week. 

2. London

London offers a lot in terms of earnings (average £697 per week) and employment levels (73.7%). It also has good access to education and strong levels of business activity compared with other locations, whilst housing affordability and office costs are the highest in the UK.

1. Edinburgh 

The Scottish capital offers great access to education and job opportunities, business community, earnings and access to green space (forming 28% of the city).

Time for a change? 

Images: Getty / Unsplash 


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.