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Home > Savings insights > What are the best places to live and work in the UK?

What are the best places to live and work in the UK?

Updated December 2022

Discover the UK's best places to live and work based on quality-of-life factors including value for money and work opportunities.

Our index ranks Britain’s towns and cities with over 200,000 residents on a range of factors including average salary, rent, property prices, commuting costs and overall quality of life.

This year's City Liveability Index revealed that Liverpudlians are most likely to be positive about their hometown across a range of social and economic factors.

Which cities were ranked the overall best UK cities to live and work in?

According to our research the best places to live and work are:

Location Rank

[accordion clicktoclose="true" openfirst="true"] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Liverpool 1"]
The birthplace of The Beatles, Liverpool has a population of 552,300. Living costs fall below the average income, leaving a reasonable disposable income, and residents are generally satisfied with their jobs, incomes and day-to-day lives.
  • Average salary (per year)£28,000
  • Average property price £153,100
  • Average rent (per year) £12,252

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 1/10
  • Emotional connection 2/10
  • Worth it 1/10
  • Concerns 4/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Edinburgh 2"]
The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is home to over 482,000 residents. Famous for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.
  • Average salary (per year)£32,000
  • Average property price £264,300
  • Average rent (per year) £28,608

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 2/10
  • Emotional connection 1/10
  • Worth it 7/10
  • Concerns 5/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Plymouth 3"]
Plymouth is a waterfront city with a population of 261,400. Boasting a rich maritime history and a vibrant city centre, residents report great satisfaction in terms of value for money when it comes to their overall quality of life.
  • Average salary (per year)£27,000
  • Average property price £228,773
  • Average rent (per year) £9,444

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 7/10
  • Emotional connection 9/10
  • Worth it 2/10
  • Concerns 7/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Southampton 4"]
A major port city, Southampton, is known for being the starting place of the maiden and final voyage of the Titanic. Southampton has a population of 253,700.
  • Average salary (per year)£31,000
  • Average property price £290,122
  • Average rent (per year)£16,860

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 5/10
  • Emotional connection 6/10
  • Worth it 4/10
  • Concerns 9/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Newcastle 5"]
A city on the north bank of the River Tyne with a population of 282,400. An affordable place to live with famously roaring nightlife, Newcastle residents report great emotional connection to the city, especially in terms of overall happiness, and good career prospects.
  • Average salary (per year)£28,800
  • Average property price £201,412
  • Average rent (per year) £14,364

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 3/10
  • Emotional connection 3/10
  • Worth it 6/10
  • Concerns 1/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Leeds 6"]
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.
  • Average salary (per year)£30,000
  • Average property price £249,991
  • Average rent (per year) £15,312

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 6/10
  • Emotional connection 4/10
  • Worth it 3/10
  • Concerns 2/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Nottingham 7"]
Known for the legend of Robin Hood, Nottingham has a population of 315,900. Perhaps contradictory to popular belief, local residents are actually some of the least concerned about local safety and they are also satisfied with their commutes, incomes and cost of living.
  • Average salary (per year)£29,000
  • Average property price £236,595
  • Average rent (per year) £17,040

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 9/10
  • Emotional connection 7/10
  • Worth it 9/10
  • Concerns 10/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Cardiff 8"]
With a population of 447,300, Cardiff is the largest city in Wales and its capital. Residents are generally happy, pleased with their pace of life, and are some of the least concerned about childcare and property value out of all the cities on this list.
  • Average salary (per year)£29,000
  • Average property price £291,019
  • Average rent (per year) £17,448

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 8/10
  • Emotional connection 5/10
  • Worth it 8/10
  • Concerns 6/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Bristol 9"]
Bristol has a population of 617,300 and is known for its vibrant music and culture scene. Residents are overall quite happy with where they live, especially when it comes to commuting time, and consider Bristol to be great value for money.
  • Average salary (per year)£33,000
  • Average property price £381,021
  • Average rent (per year) £20,208

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 4/10
  • Emotional connection 10/10
  • Worth it 5/10
  • Concerns 2/10
[/accordion-item] [accordion-item class="detailed-accordion" title="Brighton 10"]
A seaside resort on the south coast, Brighton is famous for its quirky shopping areas and large cultural, music and arts scene. It has a population of 273,400.
  • Average salary (per year)£30,000
  • Average property price £492,554
  • Average rent (per year) £21,876

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career 10/10
  • Emotional connection 8/10
  • Worth it 10/10
  • Concerns 8/10

Sources:

[/accordion-item] [/accordion]

What are the safest cities in the UK?

When considering statistics for overall crime, ambulance response times and road safety, these are currently the safest cities to live in the UK.

  1. Plymouth
  2. Brighton
  3. London
  4. Leicester
  5. Stoke-on-Trent
  6. Bristol
  7. Portsmouth
  8. Liverpool
  9. Oxford
  10. York

Which UK cities report the best value-for-money?

Respondents to our survey classified their city according to what they consider to be good value for money. These are the cities that came out on top.

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

Which are the happiest UK cities to live in?

According to our survey, these are the cities that ranked highest when it came to the overall happiness of their residents.

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Brighton
  3. Liverpool
  4. Nottingham
  5. Norwich
  6. Newcastle
  7. London
  8. Birmingham
  9. Leeds
  10. Plymouth

How do people feel about their city?

Liverpool scored well on pace of life, career prospects, opportunities and cost of living. This could explain how it bagged the top spot this year, up from 4th place in the 2021 Index. According to our research, overall level of satisfaction among residents was high with three-quarters (75%) happy with their life in Liverpool.

As well as topping this year’s City Liveability Index, Liverpool was also recently selected to host the Eurovision song contest in 2023, bringing in extra tourism – and cause for celebration – to the city.

Edinburgh came a close second behind Liverpool. The Scottish capital was commended for its good pace of life and easy commute. Plymouth rounded out the top three, receiving high rankings for level of civic pride and value for money as citizens say the benefits of living there outweigh the costs.

Cost-of-living

According to our survey, money is on the mind of most people across the UK – three-quarters (73%) of adults are unsatisfied with the cost of living in their area, up from 44% in August 2021. Meanwhile, more than half (52%) of women are unsatisfied with their income and 37% with the job and career opportunities in their city.

This means that over the next few years, the UK could see a rise in “internal migration'', as 35% of our respondents say they are likely to move to a different part of the country at some point in the future. The cost-of-living crisis is a driving factor in this decision – 26% of UK adults say they are worried that they will need to relocate to help manage their expenses. This number goes up to 37% when it comes to people living in London.

Brits are most likely to consider moving to York (7%), Brighton (6%) or London (6%), but the capital is something of a ‘Marmite’ location, ranking high in the lists of both the most and least desirable places to relocate to.

Property prices

Meanwhile, our research also tells us that 35% of Brits are concerned about property prices in their local area – whether they’re planning to move or not. Only two-thirds (65%) of UK adults know about the help available via lifetime ISA savings accounts, which pay a government bonus of up to £1,000 a year to help boost savings towards a mortgage deposit when buying a first home.

Only 16% of under-35s already have one set up and 45% of respondents in this age group said they knew nothing about lifetime ISAs.

With our first-time buyers campaign, we aim to make more people aware of lifetime ISAs and how much they can help someone save for their first home.

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Lifetime ISA

Use a Lifetime ISA to save for your first home. You can invest up to £4,000 per year and receive a 25% government bonus on top - that's up to £1,000 every year.

Explore Lifetime ISA

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