Best Cities in the UK for Expats to Live In

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In recent years people from many countries, especially India, are relocating in the United Kingdom – whether is it for studies or in search of a better future for the family.

With easing of travel restrictions over recent months, one particular update comes as a major relief for Indian travellers to the UK. From Monday, 11th October, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers from India to the UK will not need to go into quarantine on arrival. Travellers can use a vaccine certificate to prove the vaccination status. This should show complete details of the vaccine taken – Covishield or any other UK-approved vaccine.

The United Kingdom is an island nation made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are many developed as well as currently fast growing cities that offer a varied cross-section of life in the UK to expatriates there. Every city in the United Kingdom has something unique to offer – whether it’s their history, culture, work opportunities, cost of living, housing, transportation, education or just the identity of the city and the friendly community. It is important to find a city that best suits you and your family’s needs. Deciding which city to live and study in or work in can be a difficult task. Here’s our view on what’s great about some of the cities that expats would love to live in the UK.

Aberdeen

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Aberdeen

Aberdeen is a city in North East Scotland. It is the third most populous city in Scotland. The coastal areas have spectacular scenery and good rock-climbing. With the oil industry flourishing here, Aberdeen is known as the offshore oil capital of Europe. The seaport is the largest in the area and Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world. Aberdeen is a leading business hub and the only city in Scotland designated as one of the eight ‘super cities’ spearheading the UK’s economy. These economic factors make Aberdeen one of best cities to live in the UK for people who are new to the country.

Birmingham

 best cities in the UK for expats to live in- Birmingham

Birmingham is located in The Midlands and is geographically the center of England. It is a multicultural modern metropolis with a booming ex-pat community. What makes Birmingham an attractive place for expats to live in is it’s a flourishing city economy with affordable price tags. Birmingham is a fast growing financial services hub. Job opportunities and wages here are normally within the same level as in London. The cost of living, however, is lower here. Birmingham matches London for leisure activities and its nightlife. Further development and opportunities are on the cards as the city prepares to host the Commonwealth Games in July to August 2022.

Bristol

 best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Bristol

Bristol is located in the southeast of the United Kingdom. In recent times, Bristol has become an important city for start-up companies. It is an ideal place for both employees and employers as the education levels here are at a national high. Bristol has been awarded the European Green Capital Award in 2015 and is one of UK’s most eco-friendly cities. Besides being a popular tourist destination, in recent years Bristol was named the best city in Britain in which to live in. Bristol is blessed with beautiful urban areas and expats living here can enjoy plenty of open spaces and fresh air.

Cambridge

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Cambridge

Cambridge lies along the River Cam, just an hour’s train journey north of London. It is known as a university city and the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, is located here. Cambridge is in the centre of technology giants and software industries in the Silicon Fen region. Many bioscience industries such as AstraZeneca –which currently manufactures the COVID-19 vaccine, are located there. The city of Cambridge is also one of the greenest cities in the UK with many of the centre’s roads pedestrianised. It has many areas of high-density housing. It is for these reasons expats have long rated Cambridge at the top of the list for places to live in the UK.

Edinburgh

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Edinburgh

Edinburgh, is the capital of Scotland which is the UK’s northern country. Edinburgh has a cool, temperate, maritime climate with rich and diverse sightseeing spots and popular tourist and weekend family holiday destinations. This city is Scotland’s cultural heartland, with many famous international cultural festivals covering music, theatre, comedy and art being held here. What makes Edinburgh one of the best cities in the UK for expat families is the fact that the crime rate is relevantly low compared to the rest of the country. Besides that, it has a high level of educational opportunities and expats find its public transport system reliable and convenient.

Glasgow

best cities in the UK for expats to live in– Glasgow

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. It has a combination of picturesque Scottish landscapes and inner-city living. Employment in the public sector and higher education are at record highs in Glasgow. Industries dealing in chemicals, textiles and engineering, shipbuilding and marine engineering are well established here. Most Glasgow locals warmly welcome and receive newly arrived expats and encourage them integrating with the local culture. This strongly appeals to most expat families. The cost of living here has remained relatively low and cheaper than the rest of the United Kingdom. This is inspite of the increase in its popularity. This makes Glasgow not only one Scotland’s most popular places to live in, but in the whole of the UK.

Leeds

 best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Leeds

Leeds is the largest city of West Yorkshire county – geographically, population-wise and economically. It is situated amongst the county’s breath-taking countrysides and landscapes. The region’s authorities are strong in promoting development in various fields including transport and business-led local enterprise partnership. With three universities, Leeds is a hub for higher education and expat families can also find a variety of distinctive urban and rural community housing.

Job opportunities for expats are a plenty in Leeds as the city is the UK’s second largest financial and legal centre, also having a large conference industry. Leeds is a shopper’s paradise with some of the most extensive retailing, second only to London. This provides the city with another way to fuel its booming economy. These are all big plus factors for expat families choosing to move to the UK.

Leicester

Best cities in the UK for expats to live in– Leicester

Leicester is located in the East Midlands of England and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It experiences a maritime climate with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Leicester is centrally located at the intersection of major railway lines as well as motorways and trunk routes. Having such good transport links, Leeds established itself as a distribution centre for the country. The city’s south-western area also attracts new service and manufacturing businesses. These factors offer expats in UK many business and work opportunities. An interesting historical fact is that Leicester is believed to be the birthplace of the modern standard English language.

Liverpool

 best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Liverpool

Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. Its friendliness and atmosphere is renowned nationwide. It is also arguably one of the UK’s most internationally famous cities.

Liverpool’s economy is one of the largest within the United Kingdom. Employment opportunities for expats in Liverpool can be found in health, finance, banking, insurance and public administration. The City of Liverpool also focuses heavily on education, knowledge and research sectors. The people of Liverpool have a strong sense of self and community due to the culture and history of the city. It is home to the hugely popular musical band of the 60’s – the Beatles, as well one of the most successful top flight Premier League teams in England, Liverpool F.C.

Liverpool has the second highest number of listed buildings and parks, national museums and art galleries in the UK. This makes for many enjoyable family outings for expats families in the United Kingdom.

London

Best cities to live in the UK for expats - London

London stands on the River Thames, the longest river in England. Located in south-east England, London is the UK’s capital and largest city. It is undeniably one of Europe’s biggest cities as well as one of the world’s global cities. London has a temperate oceanic climate. Winters are generally cool, summers generally warm and sometimes hot. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons.

London has five major business districts, with its denser populated or commercial areas having mostly medium and high-rise buildings or skyscrapers. The city of London offers a multitude of career opportunities. It is one of the major financial centres of the world. Technology companies are based in Silicon Roundabout – East London Tech City. London also has media companies, retails centres and the Port of London. Tourism is also one of London’s prime industries. Jobs in aviation are much sought after as London has the busiest city airspace in the world and is a major international air transport hub.

Being is a vibrant and multicultural city, most expat communities prefer to choose London as their home.

Manchester

best cities in the UK for expats to live in- Manchester

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in England that has the country’s fifth-largest population. It has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and cool winters. Manchester has a highly rated cultural scene. It is vibrant and full of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping districts. Two of the world’s most successful and rival football clubs –Manchester United & Manchester City are located here. Nature lovers will enjoy Heaton Park, a municipal park located in the north of the city and of the six designated local nature reserves.

Manchester has a great economy in manufacturing and media. The cost of living in Manchester is affordable and far lower than in the capital London. The city’s strong housing market offers plenty of housing options. For career-oriented expat families, Manchester is definitely an attractive place and one of the best cities in the UK for people who are new to the country.

Oxford

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Oxford

Oxford is a city in northwest of London, England. It is a very green city, with several parks, nature walks and 28 nature reserves. Oxford has an oceanic or maritime temperate climate with rain uniformly distributed throughout the year. Oxford’s economy includes industries of motor manufacturing, research, science, information technology, education, publishing and media. Aviation is another major sector in Oxford with Airways Aviation airline pilot flight training centres, an Aviation Academy and several private jet companies. The helicopters manufacturing division of the Airbus is also located in Oxford Airport. Expats coming to Oxford can find employment and careers in any of these sectors.

Many of Oxford’s universities and colleges are major tourist attractions. The University of Oxford -the oldest English university is located here. For expat families in Oxford city centre there are many shops, several theatres and an ice rink. Literature lovers will relish time spent at the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe – the Norrington Room in Blackwell’s Bookshop. Oxford has the second highest percentage of people cycling to work among UK cities. These factors make Oxford one of the best cities in the UK for expats to live in.

Reading

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Reading

Reading is the largest town in Berkshire, England. It is just 40 miles distance west of London and only 30 minutes by train. The town has a maritime climate featuring mild summers and cool winters.

Reading is a major commercial centre as well as a regional retail and major shopping centre, serving a large area of the Thames Valley. Located in Reading’s business parks are several British company’s headquarters, foreign multinationals UK offices and global pharmaceutical giants, which offer many opportunities for expats. Expats can also have successful careers in information technology and insurance.

The housing is affordable and the University of Reading is located here. Music and Arts loving expats will enjoy one of England’s biggest culture festivals – Reading Festival – that the town hosts annually. Expats who are fitness enthusiasts can compete along with the over 15,000 runners in the annual Reading Half Marathon.

There are street markets and regular farmers’ markets in Reading, which attract a lot of expats. Reading is so popular among expat communities in the UK, that it was once reported it had 150 different spoken languages within its population.

Southampton

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Southampton

Southampton is a city port located on the southern coast of Great Britain that experiences an oceanic climate. Its location is southerly, low-lying and sheltered, ensuring it is among the warmer, sunnier cities in the UK.

The Port of Southampton offers expats families in the UK many job opportunities. It is the home port of some of the world’s largest cruise ships as well as the world’s largest travel leisure company. The Southampton Container Terminals are Britain’s second largest deep sea terminal. The area is well connected by highways and railway lines for cargo and bulk goods transportation.

Southampton has two universities. The only geothermal power station in the UK is located in Southampton. Energy conscious expat families will prefer to live in Southampton as it was ranked as being one of the lowest carbon-emitting cities in the UK.

Expat families can enjoy sailing, water sports, or living along the coast as well as outings at the West Quay South, which hosts annual events at its public plaza and features an ice skating rink during winter. The salt marsh of the River Test makes it ideal for salmon fishing weekends. Southampton is also one of the largest retail destinations in the South of England.

Swindon

best cities in the UK for expats to live in - Swindon

Pic Credits: wikimedia.org

Swindon is a large town located within a landlocked county in South West England. Swindon enjoys the cool winters and warm summers. Swindon is one of the most ethnically diverse towns in the UK and its people are known to be warm and friendly. Swindon has many green spaces and public parks where many annual cultural events are held. The Swindon College is one of the largest further education-higher education colleges in the region.

Expats living in Swindon-UK can find employment in multi-national companies dealing in automobiles, retail and distribution, electronics, insurance and financial services, audio technology, pharmaceutical and medical supplies and engineering consultancy. Swindon is also a centre for mobile telecommunications research and development for international companies. It is a well-developed transport hub being a major railway and motorway junction. It is one of the locations for an innovative transport scheme where people car pool or ride-share.

All these factors make Swindon one of the best cities for expat families in the UK to live in.

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