best place to live in the UK

The 10 Best Places to Live in the UK

Written by Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
23rd June 2016 (Last updated on Wednesday 17th October 2018)

When you're thinking of moving somewhere, several factors are going to determine your decision. Of course, regions differ amongst themselves, but there are ways to determine the best places to live.

The quality of life in an area can be based on several factors, including employment levels, disposable income, housing and life expectancy.

Along with this, you want to enjoy where you live and have a social life outside of work, so employment levels need to be balanced with the hours worked per week. This week, will list the 10 best regions to live in in the UK based on a uSwitch study in 2015.

1. Edinburgh

We have previously written about moving to Edinburgh and it turns out that a study in 2015 found it is the best region in the UK.

Not only is Edinburgh rich in history and culture, but it also has a fantastic quality of life.

In terms of employment, 74% of people are employed, with 51% working between 35-45 hours per week, meaning there is a good work/life balance.

People living in Edinburgh also have higher salaries with an average of £25,000 per year, with disposable income of £20,000.

Living in Edinburgh also means you will spend less on food per week, with the national average being £54.80. Fuel bills, car insurance and petrol prices are also far below the UK average.

Edinburgh isn't just a great place for nightlife and young people, either. It was recently voted Best City in the UK for over 50s. The life expectancy is 79 for men, and 82 for women.

2. Solihull

Located in the West Midlands of England and just outside of Birmingham, Solihull is the second best region to live in the UK, after Edinburgh:

74%, of the population is employed, with 45% working full time for 35-45 hours per week, meaning it has a very good work and life balance.

In terms of living costs, the average household weekly food shop is at £53.90, while fuel bills are at a low average of £1,232.88. Also below the national average are the house prices, at £220,000.

The average life expectancy is also high, at 85 for women, and 80 for men.

3. Hertfordshire

Although it comes up third for overall quality of life, Hertfordshire has the best employment rates in the UK, with 78% of its population employed. 43% of those who are employed work 35-45 hours per week, once again indicating a positive work and life balance.

Hertfordshire also has the highest average disposable income, at £21,889.

However, when it comes to house prices, the average home in Hertfordshire is priced higher, at £293,344.50. Living costs such as weekly food bills are also higher, but this is usually a result of the higher disposable income.

Life expectancy is also high, at 81 for men and 84 for women.

4. Northumberland

Northumberland has a very high rate of employment of 73%, which is 1% higher than the number one city to live in, Edinburgh. However, the region also has the lowest gross weekly income of all the 10 regions listed, but also has an average disposable income of £17,600.

Housing is more affordable than the previous three regions, with the average house costing £147,064.

Furthermore, Northumberland enjoys lower insurance premiums as well as food bills and petrol prices. So in spite of the lower income, residents of the area enjoy a good quality of life as they get value for money with lower costs.

The life expectancy is 79 for men and 82 for women.

5. South Lanarkshire

This Scottish region has jumped 55 places since the last study on regions in 2013, and is definitely a place to keep in mind if you want to move somewhere new.

Employment rates are a high 73%, and 48% of the working population work between 35-45 hours per week, meaning there is a healthy work and life balance.

Although disposable income is lower than the previous regions at £16,183, house prices are also very low, with the average house costing £107,000.

Living costs are similar to Edinburgh's; the household food bill is usually £54.80 per week, and home and car insurance is £239.20 and £343.20, respectively. These costs are below the UK average.

Convenience is another important factor that influences how much you enjoy an area. South Lanarkshire provides useful services like 93% mobile phone coverage as well as good broadband speeds, so you can stay connected 24/7.

Life expectancy is lower than some of the regions in this list, at 77 for men, and 81 for women.

6. Berkshire

Many people expect the South East of England to make up most of the list, due to the perception that it is wealthier with higher incomes and better services. In reality, Berkshire was the only region to make the top 10 on this list.

However, the region boasts the best employment rates in the UK, with 77% of the population employed. At the same time, this could also be because it is one of the commuter towns along with Bracknell, so many of the residents may work in London, not Berkshire.

Again, 45% of those who are employed work between 35-45 hours a week, but 28% still work more than 45 hours which suggests many do not have a great work and life balance.

Although Berkshire residents have the highest incomes at £616.58 per week, with disposable income at an average of £20,373, Berkshire also has much higher costs. The average house costs £282,908, and the region is home to some well-known expensive areas like Ascot and Windsor. The bills are higher too – the weekly food bill is approximately £63.20 per week, while fuel is £1,224 and insurance premiums at £556.40.

7. Darlington

Located in the North East of England, Darlington is another highly rated region.

The region as high employment rates at 72%, with 46% of people working 35-45 hours per week. However, 23% work over 45 hours per week, indicating that residents have a poorer work-life balance.

In generls, costs in Darlington are much lower than the other regions on this list. It has the lowest weekly gross income of the 10 best regions on the list, at £480.20. The region also has the lowest disposable income for households at an average of £14,911.

Regarding house prices, Darlington is the second lowest after South Lanarkshire, with the average price at £125,000. Food, petrol prices, and insurance premiums are all also lower than the rest of the regions. Overall, Darlington has lower incomes, but this is offset by the lower prices.

However, in terms of convenience, there is 98% signal coverage for phones and good broadband speeds.

8. North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire excels regarding the balance between employment hours and home life. 71% of the population are employed, and 54% work full time hours of 35-45 hours per week. This is the highest percentage in our list of regions, and makes it the least likely area to work more hours than are healthy.

Income in North Lanarkshire is lower than other regions, but remains at a good £489.40 per week, with disposable income at £14,974 per household. However, this is offset by low prices, so residents of the region get value for their money.

The average house costs £91,000, which is comparatively very low considering other regions in this list.

Living costs such as weekly food bills, petrol prices and insurance rates are also lower than most regions, and Darlington enjoys 97% of signal coverage and good broadband speeds.

Life expectancy is lower than other regions too, however it's important to keep in mind Scotland generally has lower life expectancy than the rest of the UK. Male life expectancy is 75, while for females it's 79.

9. York

York has jumped six places since the last study in 2013. Interestingly, Yorkshire generally contains both the best and worst regions, however York has been named the 9th best place to live for quality of life.

The region has a good employment rate of 73%, with 43% of people working full time hours of between 35-45 hours per week.

Both income and disposable income are well-regarded compared to nearby regions, but are still lower compared to the rest of the places in this list. The weekly income averages £485.10, with disposable income of £15,751.

Seeing as York is an urban area with good employment rates, the housing prices are relatively low, with the average home selling for £194,000.

Lower costs also apply to food bills, petrol prices and fuel bills, however insurance premiums tend to be higher in York.

York has a relatively low mortality rate, with 954 per 100,000 and good life expectancy statistics for women at 83 years, and men at 79 years.

10. Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire

Another Scottish region to be in the top 10 places to live, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire, is a place with several reasons to live there.

Employment rates are very good, at 72%. 46% of people work the full time hours of 35-45 hours, with only 21% working over ‘normal' hours, indicating a healthy work/life balance.

Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire's income is high, with the average weekly gross income at just under £500 in the average household, with £17,685 in disposable income. However, basic living costs are lower in this region especially regarding food bills, petrol prices and fuel.

The life expectancy in Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire is not as high as other regions, but as we previously mentioned, Scotland's life expectancy is generally lower than the rest of the UK. Men are 77 years, and women 81 years.

If you're thinking of moving somewhere new, any of these 10 regions are considered the best places to live. Of course, if you are moving somewhere, you will want to know if you can afford it, and enjoy yourself. The quality of life in these areas is determined by measuring factors such as employment, income, housing, and life expectancy. Once you have decided where you want to move to, can help you save £500 on your removals.

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