Quality of Life

The standard of living in the UK is one of the best in the world.

For example, a large poll involving 209,000 participants from 190 countries was conducted in October-December 2020 by Boston Consulting Group, and the results found that the UK is considered the #5 best country for expats to live and work abroad in 2021 and that London is the #1 most desired city where expats would like to live and work overseas.

Another global survey of over 20,000 people around the world published by US News & World Report named the United Kingdom the 6th best country to live overall.

Furthermore, the 2020 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey ranked the United Kingdom as the top country for expat fulfillment, gave it 4th place for career advancement, and rated it #8 for income.

According to the 2020 Legatum Prosperity Index, which evaluated 167 countries worldwide, the United Kingdom is the 13th most prosperous country.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that, “The United Kingdom performs well in most measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. The United Kingdom ranks above the average in personal security, environmental quality, civic engagement, social connections, health status, jobs and earnings, income and wealth, education and skills, and subjective well-being.”

The average life expectancy for people living in the UK (81.5 years) is among the highest in the world.

This is understandable since people living in the UK as legal residents get access to the world-class National Health Service (NHS).

With all that the United Kingdom has to offer its residents, no wonder the 2020 United Nations World Happiness Report listed the UK among the world’s happiest countries!

Best Places to Live in the UK

Although there is generally a high standard of living in the United Kingdom, some locations may offer a better quality of life than others.

According to The Times of London, the best places to live in the UK for 2021 are: Stroud (Southwest); Woodbridge (East); Teddington (London); Stamford (Midlands); Ilkley (North/Northeast); Holywood (Northern Ireland); Altrincham (Northwest); North Berwick (Scotland); Surrey Hills (Southeast); Frome (Southwest); and Usk (Wales).

The Times named Stroud (population 32,670) in Gloucestershire the #1 best place to live in the UK for 2021, partly because it has high-quality schools, excellent transportation links, a beautiful countryside, and the community spirit is strong.

Woodbridge (population 7,749) in Suffolk was named the top spot to live in the United Kingdom’s East Region, not only because of its scenic location along the River Deben, but also due to its colorful, picturesque buildings and winding lanes that seem like something described in a story book.

If you prefer to live in London and enjoy nature, you may want to consider the Teddington area (population 10,300), which is situated next to the River Thames; boasts the 1,000-acre Bushy Park which is a great place for walking, jogging, cycling and spotting deer; plus Teddington’s high street is hard to beat.

In the Midlands region, Stamford (population 20,645) in Lincolnshire is a great place to live in the UK and is known for its cobblestone streets, Tudor-style pubs, and medieval churches.

Situated along the River Wharfe in Yorkshire, northwest of Leeds and just south of Yorkshire Dales National Park, Ilkley (population 14,809)  was named the best place to live in the North and Northeast Region and is known for its stone Victorian houses, Riverside Gardens and the Ilkley Pool & Lido.

The top spot to live in Northern Ireland is Holywood (population 11,257), located in County Down near Belfast, which is famous for its beautiful beach, golf course, friendly locals, art galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes, along with its blues and jazz festivals, plus it received high marks for its schools, high-speed Internet, and transportation.

Southwest of Manchester is Altrincham (population 52,419), which The Times named the best place to live in the Northwest Region, partly because of its schools and clubs for children and excellent transportation links, but it is also known for the historic Altrincham Market, Dunham Massey Hall & Gardens, and art galleries.

North Berwick (population 6,930) is a scenic seaside resort town 30 minutes northeast of Edinburgh in Scotland, which is known for its beaches, golf courses, cozy pubs, Tantallon Castle, Bass Rock and Scottish Seabird Centre, and North Berwick Law which is the grass-covered remains of an extinct volcano which offers amazing views of the area.

Just south of London is Surrey Hills, named the best place to live in the Southeast Region, which is famous for its Area of Outstanding Beauty and is home to several market towns, such as Haslemere, Farnham, Dorking, Guildford, and Godalming, as well as the location where several movies were filmed.

Not far from Bath and Bristol, Frome (population 26,203) was named by The Times as the top spot to live in the Southwest Region, boasting quality schools, shops & boutiques, cafes, and cobblestone streets, Frome is also known for its picturesque Cheap Street (Europe’s most preserved medieval street) and Independent Market.

Usk (population 2,834) is a quaint village located northeast of Cardiff and Newport in Wales, known for its friendly residents, cafes, pubs, art galleries, shops, Usk Castle, and especially for the beautiful flowers  that bloom throughout the village (“Usk in Bloom”).

If you prefer to live in a larger city in the United Kingdom, the Expatica.com website offers a different list of top 10 places to live in the UK for 2021 which include: Birmingham (England); Glasgow (Scotland); Oxford (England); Brighton (England); Cardiff (Wales); Edinburgh (Scotland); Reading (England); Manchester (England); Leeds (England); and Bristol (England).

The OneFamily.com website ranked cities in the United Kingdom with populations over 200,000, based on several factors (e.g., average salary, average price for property, cost of rent or mortgage,  cost of commuting, happiness, and overall satisfaction) and named the following 35 cities as the best places to live in the UK: #1 Sunderland (England); #2 Leeds (England); #3 Aberdeen (Scotland); #4 Milton Keynes (England); #5 Liverpool (England); #6 Derby (England); #7 Swindon (England); #8 Leicester (England); #9 York (England); #10 Nottingham (England); #11 Sheffield (England); #12 Portsmouth (England); #13 Stoke-on-Trent (England); #14 Glasgow (Scotland); #15 Coventry (England); #16 Dudley (England); #17 Reading (England); #18 Edinburgh (Scotland); #19 Southampton (England); #20 Wolverhampton (England); #21 Birmingham (England); #22 Luton (England); #23 London (England); #24 Brighton (England); #25 Bradford (England); #26 Bristol (England); #27 Manchester (England); #28 Newcastle (England); #29 Salford (England); #30 Swansea (Wales); #31 Northampton (England); #32 Plymouth (England); #33 Cardiff (Wales); #34 Hull (England); and #35 Warrington (England).

If you are looking for the safest cities to live in the United Kingdom with a population over 200,000, the OneFamily.com website listed these 10 cities among the safest in the UK: #1 Newcastle (England), #2 Aberdeen (Scotland), #3 Plymouth (England), #4 York (England), #5 Swansea (Wales), #6 Southampton (England), #7 Edinburgh (Scotland), #8 Cardiff (Wales), #9 Brighton & Hove (England), and #10 Glasgow (Scotland).

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