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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 2023

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 residents of Norwich 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

Norwich is no stranger to accolades. It was the first city in the UK to be designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2012, took the top spot in the Sunday Times's "Best Places to Live in the UK" list from 2018 to 2020 and was even named one of the best small cities in the world by The Times in 2013.

In our survey, Norwich residents rated their city highly in areas such as quality of day-to-day life, general happiness and value for money.

    • Average salary (per year)£29,000
    • Average property price £292,542
    • Average rent (per month) £1,452

 

  • Position in top 10
  • Job and career9/10
  • Emotional connection2/10
  • Worth it1/10
  • Concerns10/10

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. Woking
  2. City of York
  3. Swansea
  4. Swindon
  5. Exeter
  6. Worthing
  7. Warrington
  8. Chelmsford
  9. Plymouth
  10. Watford

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

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

  1. Sheffield
  2. Manchester
  3. Liverpool
  4. Glasgow
  5. Cardiff
  6. Edinburgh
  7. London
  8. Bristol
  9. Leeds
  10. Norwich

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. Brighton
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Cardiff
  4. Plymouth
  5. Norwich
  6. London
  7. Liverpool
  8. Birmingham
  9. Bristol
  10. Southampton

How do people feel about their city?

Norwich got first place this year, with residents rating the city highly on the quality of day-to-day life, general happiness and value for money. They're proud of where they live, aren't too concerned about their safety and believe it's a city worth living in.

Tied in second place this year, Liverpool and Edinburgh are also home to some of the most proud residents in the country, but Liverpool stood out from the rest of the UK in terms of income satisfaction and cost of living. Those living in Edinburgh, however, are some of the happiest, ranking behind Brighton.

Meanwhile, Bristol ranked highest in career opportunities, while people Cardiff are some of the most emotionally connected to their city.

Cost-of-living and property prices

It should be no surprise that even those who love where they live are worried about the cost of living in their city. Those living in Glasgow, for example, while happy about the career opportunities in the city, are the most concerned about the property market, with around 64% struggling with housing costs.

The same can be said for London and Manchester, both dynamic cities with vibrant economies, but where 58% of residents mentioned the cost of living could eventually drive them out.

Residents of Brighton, the city who ranked first in overall happiness, are some of the most concerned about the general cost of living, most agreeing that the city doesn't provide good value for money.

Overall, 38% of all survey respondents said that they're worried the rising cost of living might force them to move out, as they wouldn't be able to keep up.

The road to homeownership

This is where a lifetime ISA, a product designed to help young people buy their first home, could come in handy. With a 25% government bonus on all investments up to £4,000 per tax year, young people could be getting an extra £1,000 each tax year to put towards a deposit for their first home, helping them get out of renting faster.

There's a catch, though. Until age 60, you can only use a lifetime ISA to buy your first home, otherwise you'll pay a 25% government withdrawal fee on everything you take out.

Sadly, out of everyone who could benefit from the product, many have not even heard of it. Only 11% of survey respondents mentioned having a lifetime ISA in their name, while 9% had already used theirs to buy a first home.

A further 20% mentioned being interested in opening a lifetime ISA account, while 30% said they didn't have enough knowledge of the product and how it worked.

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.

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