The United Kingdom (U.K.) is a popular choice with many expats from all over the world. As one of the world’s top economies, it has plenty to offer those seeking excellent employment opportunities and a high standard of living. The country’s diverse, tolerant culture makes most newcomers feel welcome even if it can sometimes be hard to break through the famous “British reserve”.
With a rich history and varied landscape encompassing four nations and many regions, the U.K. really does have something to tempt everyone. Whether you’re seeking out urban excitement of rural calm, life in the UK offers plenty of enticing choices.
With the above brief introduction, listed below are 5 really cool places to live in the UK.
Scotland’s largest city has reinvented itself over recent decades. Once an overlooked industrial hub, Glasgow is now one of the UK’s hippest expat destinations. The buzzing city center is crammed with architectural gems showcasing Glasgow’s heritage, while the modern River Clyde area looks to the future. The city’s big student population and friendly locals make Glasgow a great place to live, with excellent dining, shopping, and partying.
Glasgow’s West End neighborhood is popular with students and young professionals alike, while in the center you’ll find a mix of modern and traditional homes. More affordable is the up-and-coming Queen’s Park area, just south of the center. The city’s quirky metro system – nicknamed ‘The Clockwork Orange’ – makes getting around easy. Outside the city, the spectacular Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is only 30km away.
With a diverse population of 761,500, Leeds is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. Residents feel positive about work prospects and the local property market, and generally have a high satisfaction rating across the board.
As the largest city in the Yorkshire region, no list of best places to live in the UK is complete without mentioning Leeds. Once an overlooked former mill town, these days Leeds is a youthful city that mixes Northern grit with glamorous cosmopolitan chic. Excellent shopping and leisure, world-famous universities, and easy access to the nearby Yorkshire Dales make Leeds the perfect place for expats moving to the UK.
Known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Manchester has a population of 520,700 and a proud history in science, politics, music, arts, and sport. It’s placing in the lower rankings as a result of crime being a considerable concern for inhabitants along with the high cost of living.
The self-styled ‘Capital of the North, Manchester is a city with a personality you can’t ignore. Famous for its industrial past, world-beating football teams, and musical heritage, Manchester is every inch the world city.
The city is a non-stop mix of old and new; from its Victorian town hall to the shimmering waterfront developments at nearby Salford Quays. Just outside the city, you’ll find the expansive Peak District National Park.
Standing on the River Thames, London is the UK’s largest city and home to over 8.6 million residents, including HM Queen. The city is one of the world’s top tourist destinations and one of Europe’s biggest business hubs.
London is famous for more than its magnificent ancient buildings, the Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Tower of London, London Eye, Art Galleries, and Big Ben. As the capital city of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, London is well known for influencing other cities of the world since the Middle Ages.
When you walk around London, you see many things from the early history of the world that evokes both curiosity and excitement. You will see a warren of narrow streets, old boats on the river Thames, old tunnels, to name but a few. Some people stand, stare, and start dreaming because London is known as the city of dreams that arouses emotions and joy.
Despite being the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham – or ‘Brum’, as the locals affectionately call it – is not on the radar of many expats moving to the UK. But it should be. Embedded in the city’s industrial heritage, Birmingham is a bustling, multi-cultural mix of museums, shopping, and canal-side dining. As many locals will happily remind you, the city has more kilometers of canals than Venice.
The size of Birmingham means there’s plenty of affordable places for expats to settle down, from the leafy Edgbaston and Harborne to the picturesque neighborhood of Bournville; home of Cadbury chocolate. Canalside living can be found in the center, too. Thanks to its location in the heart of the UK, Birmingham is also within easy access to many rural escapes, including Cannock Chase and the Malvern Hills.
The United Kingdom ranks above the average in personal security, environmental quality, civic engagement, social connections, health status, jobs and earnings, income and wealth, education and skills, and subjective well-being however, it is below average in work-life balance and housing.