Nottingham rated best place to live and work in the UK

Posted in: Corporate

  • City Liveability Index reveals the best locations to live and work based on quality-of-life factors like cost of living, childcare, happiness and the ability to work from home1
  • Nottingham tops the table due to value of housing, pace of life, an easy commute – and high levels of happiness among its residents
  • Edinburgh, Leeds, and Liverpool feature in the top five, while more expensive areas in the South and Midlands failed to make the top 102
  • The pandemic is driving “internal migration”, with 2.8m under-35s planning to relocate within the next two years

Nottingham has been rated the best place to live and work in the UK.

This is according to a new City Liveability Index from financial services provider OneFamily, with research revealing that Nottingham topped the tables for value for money in housing, pace of life and ease of commute. The overall level of satisfaction among inhabitants was also extremely high, with over 92% of residents agreeing they’re happy living in Nottingham.

Leeds came second, scoring well for value for money and local pride, while Edinburgh rounded out the top three places to live in the UK in 2021, with residents appreciating local job prospects and commute. See table 1 below for top 10.

Quality of life in different UK locations has become increasingly relevant since Covid. Two in five (41%) under-35s reported that they would now be more likely to relocate to a different part of the UK due to the impact of the pandemic. With almost half of this number (18%) looking to move within two years, this could mean as many as 2.8m young people relocating by 20233.

This seismic shift is likely to see an increase in Lifetime ISA usage and adoption as young people move to take advantage of the 25% Government bonus on savings to put towards a deposit. A quarter (24%) of under 35s know about the savings product but don’t have one yet, while a further 15% already have one set up.

Changing needs post-pandemic also influenced the rankings. Those in Newcastle are most concerned about returning to work, while south coast cities Southampton and Brighton & Hove top the charts for the ability to work flexibly from home. This may be relevant to the quarter of under-35s (24%) who say the growing ability to work remotely has made them more likely to take the plunge and move to a new city.

The Index ranks 15 of the UK’s most populous towns and cities with over 200,000 residents and is based on a range of factors including job and income, emotional connection to their hometown, and the biggest concerns among residents – which encompasses factors like childcare costs, safety and work-life balance. In the previous index, published five years ago, Sunderland topped the list while Leeds still featured in the top three.

Paul Bridgwater, Head of Investments at OneFamily, said: “The last two years have led to a seismic cultural shift – the way we expect to live and work has changed forever. For those who can work remotely, living close to employment may now be less of a necessity, while green spaces, being near to family or having a vibrant city culture may be factors that are of increased importance.  Alongside this, young people will be seeking value in the housing market and may consider looking off the beaten track when buying their first home.

“After choosing the right location comes saving for a deposit. Putting more money away, and reducing the loan to value ratio, opens up more competitive mortgages. It also means lower mortgage payments and more income left over to make the most of the local area. Lifetime ISAs can be a big help in gathering the biggest possible deposit, offering a 25% Government bonus on top of savings each year. If the full annual allowance of £4,000 is saved, the house-buyer could receive a further £1,000 on top.”

For further information about OneFamily’s Lifetime ISAs please visit

City Liveability Index top 10

  1. Nottingham
  2. Leeds
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Liverpool
  5. Glasgow
  6. Cardiff
  7. Belfast
  8. Sheffield
  9. Bristol
  10. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all research conducted by Opinium, on behalf of OneFamily, between 10/08/21 – 13/08/21, among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults.

1 The City Liveability Index consists of average ratings given for a range of quality-of-life factors across UK towns and cities. These factors are:

[i] JOB AND CAREER: career satisfaction, income, general pace of life, cost of living, time taken to commute, cost of commute, ability to work from home

[ii] EMOTIONAL CONNECTION: happiness with town/city, optimism, pride in town/city

[iii] WORTH: value for money on offer, agreement that the benefit of living there outweighs the costs

[iv] CONCERNS: level of concern regarding money, future career prospects, childcare costs, the return-to-work post-Covid, work-life balance, the local economy, local property market, safety

Ratings out of 10 within each category were averaged out for each town, with concerns being subtracted from that total based on the proportion of residents who rated themselves 8-10 (high) in level of concern for each factor within their locale.

2 The fifteen cities included in the City Liveability Index were: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Southampton. Respondents were asked to choose their nearest city from a shortlist of 36 options, with the top 15 featuring in the final rankings.

3 According to ONS data, there are 15,531,689 people aged 18-35 in the UK. With 18% of under-35s saying they are more likely to move city or town due to the pandemic, and intend to do so within two years, this equates to 2,821,067 people or 2.8m.