10 COOLEST Places to Live in UK (Updated 2022)
The UK, however, can get a little bit expensive. What you can see and do in the local area depends a lot on where you choose to base yourself, too.
We here at Nomads Nation have made a list of the best places to live in the UK so that you can find somewhere that suits you (and your budget) on your British adventure.
Let’s see what towns and cities await you in these sceptered isles…
Staying Safe in the UK
The UK is a pretty safe country. There’s not a lot to worry about.
However in some of the larger towns and cities, primarily London, there may be some level of petty crime and pickpocketing that could affect you.
In town centres across the country, on weekends mainly, you should be careful of rowdy behaviour. Pubs tend to stop serving drinks between 11pm and 12am, whilst clubs close around 2 or 3am. People drink pretty heavily and it’s not necessarily unsafe, but there is the possibility of ending up in a disagreement.
Like everywhere in the world, staying safe in the United Kingdom consists of being aware of your surroundings and using your common sense to get around.
“London is the proud, multicultural, never-boring capital of the UK with everything a nomad could need for a good life.“
Monthly cost of living in London
cost of rent in London
What can we say about London? Wow. It’s a huge, sprawling city on a global scale – with a population to match.
Eat sushi one night, go for a pub lunch the next day, hit up a fish and chip shop, wander a local market, stroll through one of the city’s many (and large) green spaces… There’s SO much to get up to in the British capital. For loads of start-ups and liberal living, head to East London.
The area of Dalston is very cool, known for its bars and cafes, whilst Bethnal Green features a multicultural background, historic pie-and-mash shops and all the trendy eateries you can imagine. For something more affordable in the east, head to Walthamstow.
Pros of London
Amazing food scene
Exciting mix of cultures
Unlimited amount of things to do
Cons of London
MEGA expensive to rent
A ton of tourists in the centre
Traffic can be bad
One of the best things about London are its variety of free museums and galleries, meaning you get to soak up culture at any time.
There’s the Tate Modern, the Portrait Gallery, the V&A Museum, the Science Museum, and – of course – the very stately Natural History Museum.
You can spend your days in London dipping in and out of the cool coffeeshops that the city has to offer, hopping between the different coworking spaces; nights are all about the many, many events held daily, from gigs by internationally renowned artists and club nights, to shows and musicals in the West End.
Digital Nomad Tip
Take your pick: London’s loaded with coworking. There’s a Google Campus (free-of-charge, but very popular), The Cube – a community-minded cool space not far from Liverpool Street Station, and LABS Camden, a sleek, funky place to work.
“Set on the south coast of England, Portsmouth is a surprising small city by the sea with tons of history and a lively student scene.“
Monthly cost of living in Portsmouth
cost of rent in Portsmouth
Portsmouth packs a whole lot of history into a relatively compact city. Set on Portsea Island, the city is home to a historic cathedral, medieval sea defences, and row upon row of heritage houses where – once upon a time – there was a pub on almost every corner!
Thinking that Portsmouth sounds good to you? Then you might want to consider living in Southsea.
Still affordable but decidedly more upmarket feeling than much of the rest of town, this neighbourhood has good transport connections, trendy bars and good shopping. Alternatively charming Old Portsmouth feels a bit like a fishing village
Pros of Portsmouth
Cool up and coming areas
Great railway connections
Loads of good shopping to do
Cons of Portsmouth
Some sketchy neighbourhoods
Nightlife can be a bit intimidating
Not much in the way of coworking spaces
But it’s not all about the historic side to Portsmouth that makes it an interesting place to be: the newer parts of this city make it pretty cool, too.
Head to Gunwharf Quays for an amazing array of designer shops and shiny restaurants to try out. Southsea has seen regeneration and hosts a ton of hipster-friendly establishments.
Another good thing is the transport links; you’ll be able to catch a fairly inexpensive ferry (or hovercraft) ride over to the Isle of Wight for the day, if you feel like it; alternatively the train to London takes just around an hour. Great!
Digital Nomad Tip
Situated on Hampshire Terrace, Innovation Space is a decent coworking spot in Portsmouth. A good place to meet other people in a focused office space – and meet your own deadlines, too.
“A liberal city on England’s south coast, Brighton is the place to go for LGBT culture, veganism and beachside living.“
Monthly cost of living in Brighton
cost of rent in Brighton
Open-minded Brighton is the capital for LGBT communities in the United Kingdom, with plenty of LGBT-friendly establishments dotting the city.
There is certainly a fair amount of liberalism here, with cool music venues, hipster bars, student dives and a very lively nightlife scene that makes it a very fun city to live in.
For a cheaper alternative to Brighton centre itself, Hove is a quieter option; there are still plenty of pubs and restaurants to be found here though.
However to be right in the centre of all the action, you could choose to live in the vicinity of The Lanes – cafes, boutiques, shops, pubs, bars: everything you could ever want.
Pros of Brighton
Amazing beach to chill on
Cons of Brighton
Homeless issue / drug problem
Can definitely get expensive to rent
Might want a big city feel
Days can be spent in Brighton browsing the vintage shops, antique stores and fashion boutiques of The Lanes, tucking into a vegetarian all-day-breakfast, or gazing at the iconic skeleton of West Pier as you sit on its stony beach listening to the waves. The beach is particularly energetic in summer.
The Great Escape is an annual music festival when the pubs, bars and music venues of all kinds in Brighton open up their doors to interesting bands, new artists and other events; simply get a wristband and go from venue to venue, seeing the best of what the UK’s underground music scene has been plotting!
Digital Nomad Tip
A totally fully equipped workspace that’s much more than just a desk to sit at, PLATFR9M boasts plenty of hidey holes to chill out in – plus a punch bag if you need to take the stress out on something!
“The ancient Scottish capital of Edinburgh is a hearty city perfect for nomads who like a hefty helping of local culture.“
Monthly cost of living in Edinburgh
cost of rent in Edinburgh
With the iconic sight of Edinburgh Castle sat atop an extinct volcano looking down on the city, the capital of Scotland has plenty of history on offer.
Most notably this is to be found in the city’s Old Town (or Auld Toun), where the medieval street plans mix with Reformation-era edifices for a higgledy-piggledy place to wander.
Go to Leith if you want somewhere to live in Edinburgh that’s near the centre but still a good place for a party, with an interesting mix of history and modern living on offer; loads of restaurants, bars and independent shops will be at your fingertips if you choose to live in this neighbourhood.
Pros of Edinburgh
Beautiful city to wander
So much history
Great culture to soak up (Fringe Festival)
Cons of Edinburgh
Can get busy with tourists (Fringe Festival)
Cold pretty much all year round
Might want a big city feel
The New Town of Edinburgh, set to the north of the Old Town, isn’t actually that new at all: it dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
The buildings here are beautiful, soaring masterpieces that today hide all sorts of chic eateries and posh hotels, making this part of town a very high-end sort of place to explore.
This city is also famous for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the largest arts festival in the actual world), taking place every August across hundreds of venues with multiple thousands of shows on offer. Definitely one of the United Kingdom’s best events!
Digital Nomad Tip
The Melting Pot is a good place for you to sit with your laptop for a few hours. Light and spacious, it’s got a great location and makes for a great spot for meeting likeminded people and becoming part of the community.
“Home to one of the most famous universities in the world, the old city of Oxford is culture, nightlife and historic buildings.“
Monthly cost of living in Oxford
cost of rent in Oxford
Oxford is famous the world over for its university: Oxford University (obviously). This city, and its university, are steeped in history and for many people going about your day to day business will be like walking around an open-air museum. Seriously charming and historical stuff going on here, guys.
The area of Jericho is a good place to base yourself if you want somewhere to live in Oxford. It’s a historical, conservation area, featuring colourful Georgian and Victorian houses, but it’s still busy at night with plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants to explore. It’s also something of a bohemian, hipster-friendly, student-y area.
Pros of Oxford
Fun student town
Literally so much heritage
Cons of Oxford
A lot of tourists in the centre
Expensive place to live
Driving in and around Oxford is horrific
Made up of 38 different colleges, Oxford University is a dream for Harry Potter fans: Christchurch is where many scenes from the films were shot.
And naturally, you’ve got to get a view of the city’s “dreaming spires” – ideally from a rooftop bar as the sun sets. As you might imagine, where there’s students there’s also a fun nightlife.
For art culture, you can check out Modern Art Oxford, with pieces from Tracey Emin and Yoko Ono, for starters.
The surrounding area of Oxford is also pretty delightful, with lots of picture perfect villages and equally scenic countryside (and great pubs!).
Digital Nomad Tip
Workplace is a decent place to meet your deadlines in Oxford – a cute, quirky space that’s open 24-hours per day. They put on a ton of events here, it’s run by a friendly bunch of people and it’s near public transport. Winner.
“Known for its music scene and rough around the edges appeal, Manchester is for the nomad looking for gritty but cool city life.“
Monthly cost of living in Manchester
cost of rent in Manchester
Set in the north of England, Manchester is a former industrial town that’s now a great place to come to soak up a bit of British culture.
Once a hive of industry, with textile factories and busy canals, Manchester is an unpretentious but funky place that people are proud to be from.
When it comes to somewhere to live in Manchester, you might want to consider the Northern Quarter, close to the train station.
Here you will find narrow alleyways full of boutiques and bars, mixed in with cafes and a load of good pubs close by. Affordable Ancoates is a trendy, up-and-coming area with a load of hip hangouts and art studios.
Pros of Manchester
Cons of Manchester
Not that pretty
Some areas aren't good
Weather isn't amazing
Manchester is also the home of two of the world’s most famous football clubs Manchester United, who play at the famed ground Old Trafford, and Manchester City. Football fans should definitely make a beeline for a tour!
The Northern Quarter to street art, craft beer shops, street food stalls, hipster hangouts, and you can get the tram around town to explore the city.
As night falls and the city hots up with activity, the city centre is the place to go. If you’re a foodie, get yourself to Altirncham Market, for a selection of amazing culinary delights and taste sensations.
Digital Nomad Tip
For a coworking space, we would recommend Colony Jactin House. This place is seriously cool, complete with fully stocked kitchen (with tea and coffee), as well as its very roof terrace and pool table.
“With its maritime history, Bristol is a hub of arts and culture – with an awesome nightlife and club scene thrown in for good measure.“
Monthly cost of living in Bristol
cost of rent in Bristol
The exciting city of Bristol is a great spot for nomads looking for an alternative to London. Known for its buzzing music scene, cool atmosphere, student population, Banksy, festivals, markets and even a heritage of being a historically very important English port city, Bristol will enthral any culturally minded nomad.
Horfield is a good place to base yourself if you’re looking to live in Bristol. In this neighbourhood you will find local shops, cute bakeries, a few decent pubs and all just a couple of miles from the city centre itself.
It’s a safe area that’s good for young professionals. For something a bit more buzzy, Henleaze may be a good option for you.
Pros of Bristol
Great food scene
So much history to learn about
Cons of Bristol
Public transport = not good
Visible inequality between rich and poor
One of the bigger landmarks of the city of Bristol is the Cliffton Suspension Bridge, a feat of 19th-century engineering designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that stretches across the Avon Gorge.
However, to learn why this city is so important, head to M Shed, a museum where you can learn all about the history of Bristol.
There is a bursting street food scene going on in this city. You’ll find ethnic food stalls, pop-up bars and markets that will make any foodie go wild. And then there’s the street art: see if you an spot a Banksy anywhere!
Digital Nomad Tip
Raw Space: Coworking and Office Space features a chilled atmosphere, lots of light wood and white-washed walls. It’s super spacious and the people who run it are very welcoming. As a bonus it also has an outdoor terrace.
“Putting Devon and Cornwall on your doorstep, living in Exeter is good for nomads who want laid-back city life a stone’s throw from outdoorsy pursuits.“
Monthly cost of living in Exeter
cost of rent
The small city of Exeter is located in Devon, a county in the West Country of England. This is an ancient settlement that comes with its very own 900-year-old cathedral (boasting an astronomical clock as well as ornately decorated tombs) and a whole lot of other historical buildings.
Though Exeter isn’t a large city, and living in the central area is certainly an option (when compared to the prices of other UK cities), the area of St Leonards is nonetheless a great option.
There’s a good range of pubs, shops and eateries in St Leonards; you’ll feel connected to local life with the city centre just a short bus ride away.
Pros of Exeter
Near the sea
Countryside to explore nearby
Cons of Exeter
You may run out of stuff to do
You'll have to like the countryside (a lot)
Prices can be quite high
As a bonus for curious nomads, Exeter has its own subterranean passageways. They were built in the 14th century and can be explored now (on a tour, at least).
You can also head to Exeter Quay, an area of restored warehouses on the River Exe with plenty of places to eat and drink; perfect for a summer’s evening.
Exeter is a great place to base yourself if you’re interested in exploring the surrounding Devon countryside, complete with quaint villages.
It’s even well placed to explore the Cornish peninsula and its rugged coastline, with yet more charming villages and towns to discover.
Digital Nomad Tip
If you’re looking for a place to work in Exeter make a beeline for Generator Hub Townhouse. With amazing views of the city below, this is a cosy place to sit, get work done and meet other likeminded professionals; tea and coffee provided.
“The Northern Irish capital of Belfast means nomads will have access to everything the Emerald Isle offers.“
Monthly cost of living in Belfast
cost of rent
Basing yourself in Belfast will mean that you don’t just get everything that Northern Island has to offer; we’re talking the Giant’s Causeway and all of the other amazing natural attractions along the coast, some of which have made their way onto the small screen (heard of Game of Thrones?).
There’s also the neighbouring Republic of Ireland to see. For a good place to live, Stranmillis might be for you. This is a student area that comes packed with all the amenities you might need for living in Belfast: gym, nightlife, shops, you name it.
Botanic Avenue and the surrounding area would also be a nice place to base yourself in Belfast, especially if you like good nights out and cheaper rent.
Pros of Belfast
Huge amount of great food
Tons of museums
Cons of Belfast
More expensive than rest of Mexico
High pollution levels
Some areas have high crime rates
Another claim to fame for Belfast is being the city where the Titanic set sail and made its fateful voyage; you’ll find various monuments in the city, including the Titanic Belfast Museum. In fact, the city has its fair share of history.
The cobbled streets of the Cathedral Quarter will lead you into the doorways of pubs packed with friendly locals.
Alternatively, grab a coffee in Victoria Park and feed the ducks for something very wholesome to be doing with your day. The Grand Opera House (1895) is a great venue for a variety of musical performances.
Digital Nomad Tip
Ormeau Baths is a sleek, stylish space for you to get some work done: functional and friendly. Alternatively, hit up The Foundry Belfast, a cool, comfortable place that’s affordable and has superfast wi-fi.
“The warm and welcoming Welsh capital of Cardiff is an interesting modern city for nomads looking for a friendly, alternative option.“
Monthly cost of living in Cardiff
cost of rent in Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital of Wales and is the perfect place to soak up that quintessential Welsh atmosphere of friendly and easygoing that makes this country such an endearing place.
The city is often surprising to people, who fall in love with it – sometimes from the moment you step inside the Millennium Stadium to watch a rugby match.
Cardiff Bay, close to the city centre, is a great place to base yourself, complete with restaurants and bars in Mermaid Quay; there’s a particularly great atmosphere here on sunny afternoons.
The neighbourhood of Canton is a great option, too – here you’ll find an artsy vibe with a whole lot of good food options for a pretty fun place live.
Pros of Cardiff
Very affordable for a British city
Easy to meet people
Lots of nature on the doorstep
Cons of Cardiff
Pretty small city
Often overlooked for cultural events
Traffic can get pretty annoying
For shopping opportunities, this city certainly doesn’t want for that. There are some beautifully maintained Victorian-era shopping arcades, the perfect places to shop, grab a bite to eat, or simply sit with a coffee and watch the world go by. Otherwise there’s plenty of city parks for a weekend picnic or an afternoon stroll.
Cardiff also has its very own castle, an 11th-century building that makes for an interesting place to learn about this once unconquered land.
Digital Nomad Tip
For somewhere to work in Cardiff, head to Indycube Cardiff; it’s just 5 minutes from the centre of town and is a chilled place to work. Otherwise there is Tramshed Tech is super cool, set in a red brick building and has a community-minded owner.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to live in all of the United Kingdom
So there you have it people; the UK’s top destinations for digital nomads.
There are a surprising amount of amazing places to base yourself in the United Kingdom, from cities close to the countryside, to coastal bastions of culture, there’s so much to choose from here.
You might want to go for the liberal living of Brighton, the history of beautiful Edinburgh, or maybe you’ve always wanted to live in London (we don’t blame you), maybe you want to try out a few; whichever you choose, you are in for a special time.
Now all you have to do is soak up everything the UK has to offer!
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