Where to live in the UK: best towns & cities revealed

Relocating to or within the UK will be, to an extent driven by where the employment is. But with such exceptional transport connections and so many wonderful locations, it’s quite possible to live some distance from a workplace and still manage the daily commute.

Handily the Royal Mail, The Sunday Times and totallymoney.com have just launched reports on where’s best to live.

The Royal Mail, whose study was produced in collaboration with Centre for Economics and Business Research, chose to focus on UK cities, looking at nine quality of life categories, including housing affordability, earnings, education, economical significance and green spaces. Interestingly, the research also took into account employment rates to assess job opportunities, plus the Royal Mail’s number crunchers collated data on start-ups and patents to consider the strength of business communities.

Taking the number one spot was Edinburgh in Scotland – a major employment hot spot in the renewable energy, financial services and tech sectors. Voted second was London – kept off the top due to its lack of affordable housing, although it beat Edinburgh in the business, earnings and employment categories. Bristol came third – a city where aerospace, defense, media, tourism, IT and financial service industries are thriving. Taking the last 7 places in the Royal Mail’s top 10, in order, were Newcastle-Gateshead, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Sheffield, Liverpool, Belfast and Birmingham. 

The Royal Mail’s research was hotly followed by The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live 2018. The assessment criteria was slightly different to the Royal Mail’s, with the newspaper examining jobs, schools, broadband speed, culture, community spirit and local shops, married with the judge’s own ‘on-the-ground’ experience of the areas.

The results illustrated that satellite towns and villages within commuter-friendly distances of cities often offer the perfect work-life balance, with York named as the best place to live in 2018 by The Sunday Times. Also making the list, but not exhaustive, were Lymington, Deal, Shrewsbury, Warwick, Frome, Falmouth, Marlborough, Stroud, Skipton, Durham, Chadlington, Buxton, Lincoln, Chlemsford, Norwich, Saffron Walden, Mumbles, Monmouth, Dundee and Melrose.

The Sunday Times report also shed light on the individual neighbourhoods in London where there’s the perfect mix, with Bermondsey in South East London assuming number one position. The other nine spots were taken by Clapton, Fulham, Furzedown, Herne Hill, King’s Cross, Notting Hill, Richmond, Wanstead and Tufnell Park.

Over at totallymoney.com, the statisticians analysed average house price, length of commute time into London by train, the cost of a season ticket, and the town’s overall life satisfaction to rank 116 places as viable commuter hotspots. Purfleet in Essex was crowned the best commuter town, followed by Waltham Cross and Cheshunt, both in Hertfordhsire.

Alex Hancock at Klippa Relocation comments that surveys like the two above can form a useful part of the relocation research process: “Many man hours of data analysis and research go in to these reports and when they are married with professional property advice, can form a good picture of where relocating professional may settle and thrive. While major cities are an obvious choice, the cost of living and accommodation can squeeze budgets.”

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