Top cities in the UK to live in

Moving to a new city is a big decision. Can you afford it? What opportunities does it present? These five major UK cities all offer opportunities and attractions to anyone looking to move to them.


Wales’ capital city suits suit a range of budgets. Rightmove, for instance, says renters here pay 60% less than in London. And, according to, consumer prices including rent are 39.9% lower. 

The main employment sectors in Cardiff include retail, finance, media and tourism. There are companies located here including Admiral Insurance PLC, who have their headquarters in Cardiff, BT and BBC Wales.

The Principality Stadium hosts international rugby and football and concerts by the world’s biggest music stars. Across the River Taff is Riverside Food Market. Here, local farmers sell Welsh meats and cheeses, while local chefs, bakers and makers sell their wares.


According to chartered surveyors Stokemont, Bristol is the most expensive UK city to live in outside of London. The capital has an estimated cost of living for a single person of just over £3,075 every month. In Bristol, it’s £1,913 a month, although wages are lower.

Bristol is now the UK’s third largest business hub with over 55,000 businesses. The southwest city is strong in the fields of information and communications. 

If you do look for new build homes in Bristol, attractions include the awe-inspiring Brunel-designed Clifton Suspension Bridge. And the city’s lively, Banksy-inspired public art scene is celebrated at Europe’s biggest street art and graffiti festival, Upfest. 


According to Numbeo data, the cost of living in Leeds is 60% lower than in London. And there are high paying jobs in the West Yorkshire city – it’s the strongest outside London for financial and professional services. 

There are great places to hang out. The 700 acres of Roundhay Park comprise one of Europe’s largest city parks, while The Leeds Festival in August hosts the best bands and singers. And the city centre’s covered Victorian shopping arcades and markets are rightly lauded.


The Scottish capital is the third most expensive place to live in the UK if you’re single. But if you are looking to buy rather than rent then Edinburgh moves out of the top three. The price per square metre to buy a flat in Edinburgh city centre, at £4,664.57, is cheaper than Birmingham, Sheffield, London and Bristol.

Edinburgh offers high-end jobs in fields such as Life Science research, Fin-Tech and renewable energy sources. Its research clusters make it a global leader in new technologies.

It’s a city with a host of world-famous attractions. There’s Edinburgh Castle and the outdoor splendours of Arthur’s Seat. But when you go to Scotland you want a dram – and the eight floors of Johnnie Walker Prices Street celebrate the national drink, whisky.

Belfast estimates the cost of living in Belfast is 37% lower than in London. The Northern Irish city has seen a renaissance after the Good Friday agreement in 1998. It‘s home to thriving high-growth sectors such as digital innovation, cyber security and FinTech. There is also a £1 billion programme of investment in digital innovation, infrastructure and visitor attractions.

Belfast was home to Titanic and celebrates this in its Titanic Quarter. The area is one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects and offers a place to live, work and play – while being home to the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction. 

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