6 UK Cities Best in the World to Live 2024

Man walking on London bridge

London, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds were voted 6 UK cities best in the world to live. They were named in the annual World’s Best Cities Report for 2024 by Resonance. London ranked the highest at number one, not only for the UK but the world. Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow came in at #61 for its student life and affordability. The north west cities of Manchester and Liverpool came in at #72 and #74 just ahead of the UK’s second biggest city Birmingham at #85. Another northern city Leeds made it on the list coming in at #88 due to a strong economy and vibrant nightlife.

Why were these UK cities chosen?

Over 270 cities around the world were analysed using data gathered from social media, user-generated reviews, and recommendations. Only cities with an urban area of over one million were analysed meaning other UK cities were not ranked. To learn more about UK cities, check out our Destinations page.

Data was grouped in to 3 categories

Livability – such as green space, museums, universities and cycle routes

Lovability – includes culture, nightlife, shopping and attractions

Prosperity – involves GDP per capita, start-ups, labour force and educational attainment

London #1

Known as the “capital of capitals” London comes in at number one in the world for the 9th year in a row. The city has pulled in the most foreign direct investment especially in the technology sector and housing market. London still leads the way for entrepreneurs and start-ups due to its skilled workforce and increasing number of tourist approaching 20 million per year, which is the highest in Europe. London has arguably the best transport systems in the world with buses, underground and trains running 24/7 form nearly every street!

Glasgow #61

Music and a pursuit of affordable opportunity make Glasgow and increasingly popular place to migrate to. Universities and colleges in Glasgow are thriving with a student population of around 185,000 from over 140 countries. The University of Glasgow is one of the top 100 universities in the world and is known for its historic buildings, which are said to have inspired the Harry Potter school, Hogwarts. Transportation links in Glasgow are good, with an underground system and 186 train stations in the Greater Glasgow area.

Manchester #72

Nicknamed the “powerhouse of the north” and an economy growing faster than any other big UK city, Manchester has become increasingly popular in the last decade. With a world class University and an increasing skilled workforce, the city attracts around 50% of all young professionals moving to UK cities outside London. Famous for its two football clubs and nightlife, Manchester continues to attract around 60,000 newcomers every year. The city has good transport links with plenty of train stations, buses and a tram/metro system.

Liverpool #74

The former seaport and once a integral part of the British Empire, Liverpool is unique for its culture, historical architecture, accent and music. Ranked number 8 on the report for sights and landmarks the city is full of heritage sites located across the city centre. Liverpool has always been famous for its live music and nightlife with of course The Beatles being its most famous sons. Liverpool has two separate rail networks, one for local stations and another to connect the city to other major towns. There is also ferry connections to Dublin and Belfast.

Birmingham #85

The second largest city in the United Kingdom, Birmingham was the heart of the industrial revolution which began in the UK in the 18th century and spread throughout the world. Nowadays, Birmingham is still a vital manufacturing and engineering centre in the UK economy and the city is third in the UK behind London and Manchester. The city has an important retail sector and hosts the largest Christmas market in the UK. It is the largest city in Europe to not have an underground, but does boast the busiest train station outside London.

Leeds #88

The fourth largest metropolitan area in the UK with over 1.8 million citizens, Leeds is the commercial hub of Yorkshire. The city has topped numerous polls in recent years for its quality of life due to above average salaries and lower costs of living. Major employers in the city include ASDA, Burberry, Yorkshire Bank and Channel 4, ideally located to attract graduates from any of its 5 universities. Leeds is surrounded by the beautiful Yorkshire countryside which attracts tourists and locals alike.

Honourable mentions

Due to Resonance only analysing cities with a metropolitan area of over one million, a few of the UK’s most livable cities did not make it on to the list, but we thought they deserved a mention.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is a historic city famous for its castle that sits on top of a volcano! High salaries, good transportation links and a booming tourist industry, makes Edinburgh the most visited city in the UK after London.

Bristol is a vibrant city located in the south west of England, known for its rich maritime history with one of the countries busiest ports. It was once known for its shipbuilding and pirates! Nowadays, Bristol is known for its student life, creative industries and being the UK’s most green city.

Oxford is synonymous with its university which consistently ranks in the top 3 in the world. The city itself is full of students, graduates and professional people which makes it an ideal position for employers. The city itself also attracts tourists due to its architecture, winding streets and bars.

How to decide which UK city to live in?

When deciding which city you want to live in, you want to pick somewhere you can stay long-term. This allows you settle in to the UK more smoothly and build professional and personal relationships that improves your quality of life. According to the report commuting time, crime and affordable rent are the 3 most important factors. The city you decide to relocate to will entirely depend on your personal circumstances, are you single and looking for nightlife? Bringing a family and looking to buy a home in the suburbs?

If you are a skilled worker and looking for inspiration to live and work in the UK, check out our article on how to get here.

If you are looking to study in the UK to achieve a bachelors degree or a post graduate, and perhaps want to live here after? Check out our article on the main pathways.

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