Choosing somewhere to live is one of the most exciting aspects of moving abroad, and is a chance to find the destination of your dreams.
There are many different locations suitable for expats in the UK, ranging from busy cities like London, where there is always something going on, to smaller places like Oxford, known for its picturesque landscape and relaxed pace of life.
Job opportunities, the climate and proximity to amenities are all things to consider when making this important decision. We’ve put together a guide of some of the best places to live in the UK for expats to help you make an informed decision.
The capital of England, London, has a population of nearly nine million people and is steeped in history and culture.
There’s plenty to explore in this city, from the theatres of the West End and huge shopping centres such as Westfield, to quality restaurants and world-famous sporting venues like Wembley.
London also has an abundance of green spaces, which includes Regent’s Park, Battersea Park, and Hampstead Heath. It can be refreshing to have multiple options to enjoy the outdoors away from the busyness of city life.
Recognised as an international finance hub, the city of London and Canary Wharf have a lot of job opportunities available for those seeking a role in the finance. sector Other major industries within London are tourism, business, and insurance.
Buying a property here can be very expensive, with the average cost of a flat approximately £436,000. If you’re looking to rent, you could expect to pay on average £538 per week for a one-bedroom property.
Oxford is a great option for expats who want to experience life in the UK. It is a smaller city than London with a population of approximately 467,000 people. It has excellent transport links to the capital, which is approximately an hour away by train.
The city is home to the University of Oxford, a world-leading academic institution, which could be very appealing for those looking for somewhere to study in the UK.
Music and comedy both play an important role in the culture of the city, and you will find lots of entertainment venues to experience. Oxford is also known for its beautiful buildings and stunning scenery, which can be appreciated on a stroll along the riverside or through one of university’s many colleges.
If you’re looking to move abroad for work, there are a range of job opportunities in the area, including in the education, tourism, and publishing sectors.
In the southwest of England situated on the River Avon, Bristol is another one of the best cities for living in the UK. It is perfect for those looking for a quieter pace of life but still wanting to be nearby amenities.
Notable sites include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which was built in the nineteenth century, and the Bristol Harbour, which can be enjoyed on a casual walk in the city.
Neighbourhoods to consider here include Bishopston, a family-friendly location containing the busy retail area of Gloucester Road, and the Harbourside, home to the city docks and great for those who want scenic views of the waterfront.
Bristol might also be appealing to you if you enjoy cycling, with many bike lanes found throughout the city and lovely countryside to explore on a ride in the surrounding areas.
Leeds is home to nearly 800,000 people, and is a large financial and legal centre in the UK. The city centre is relatively small, making it easy to navigate on foot. Here you can find the main shopping destinations of Briggate and the Trinity shopping centre.
Some places to visit in your free time include the Royal Armouries Muesum, the Corn Exchange, and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. You can also dine out at the numerous restaurants and enjoy a variety of cuisines with family and friends.
Areas you can choose to live in include Headingley, which has a large student population and vibrant atmosphere, and Otley, which is situated further out of the city centre in the stunning Yorkshire countryside.
As well as financial and legal services, prominent industries in Leeds include software development and creative and digital.
Found in the north of England, Manchester is the second largest city outside of London with a population of 553,000 people.
It is the perfect place for music lovers, and is the hometown of famous British bands such as Joy Division, Oasis, and the Smiths. There is also a bustling arts scene here, with many museums and entertainment venues to visit.
It is well placed for sports fans too, with Old Trafford Cricket Ground and the stadiums of Manchester City and Manchester United showing sporting matches throughout the year.
In your spare time, you can walk down the city’s numerous canals, visit the Old Trafford Centre for all your shopping needs, and dine out at one of the restaurants in the Ancoats neighbourhood.
Manchester also has many job opportunities for expats, incorporating industries like manufacturing, technology, and advertising.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is known for its medieval and neoclassical architecture, picturesque landscape, and rich history.
The centre is divided between an Old Town and a New Town, and significant sites include the Royal Mile, Arthur’s Seat, and Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh is also famous for its distinct cuisine, which includes haggis, shortbread, and Scottish Bannock (a scone-like bread).
Arts and literature play an important role here, home to cultural festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe every August, which draws many visitors to the city.
If you love being outdoors, then Edinburgh could be the right place for you. It has more than 100 green spaces, a beach a short distance from the centre, and beautiful historical streets to explore.
Located on the southern coast of England, Brighton is a great spot for expats. Recognise for its pebbled beaches, exciting cultural scene, and the prominent Palace pier, this city is an excellent spot for expats.
It has great transport links with London, with many people choosing to commute from here for roles in the capital. For those who want to work in Brighton itself, some of its major sectors are financial services, IT and digital.
There are many neighbourhoods to choose from here:
Seven Dials: a short walk from the station, this area is very well placed for amenities in the city centre. It is a small residential area with a relaxed atmosphere.
Kemptown: Found on the seafront and with beautiful townhouses, this part of Brighton has a vibrant feel to it. It has a range of vintage shops and was traditionally the arts quarter in the city.
Brunswick Town: Situated in Hove, this neighbourhood has plenty of independent restaurants for residents to choose from. The notable Brunswick Square also provides a lush green space to enjoy the outdoors.
The Lanes: Dating back to the sixteenth century, the Lanes is full of winding alleyways and cobbled streets. It’s also a bustling area, with many shops and tea rooms to explore.
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Overseeing your budget overseas can be challenging, from the big expenses involved in getting settled to managing daily living costs.
The busy nature of everyday life can make it difficult to remain healthy, leaving a lack of motivation for activities like exercising and getting an adequate amount of sleep.
Workplace satisfaction is important for retaining employees, with employees wanting to feel looked after by your company.
Making friends in a new country is tough and it can be difficult knowing where to start. But once you have a group of friends you feel comfortable with, you will feel more settled.