Where is Britain's best quality of life?


Where's the best place to live in the UK? Where would you wake up with a smile on your face ready to embrace the wonders of the day? How about the buzzing metropolis of Reading? Or if that doesn't float your boat, then how about the diverse riches of Southampton, the balmy shores of Edinburgh, or the attractions of Aberdeen?

A new report has placed these cities top of the pile. But why? And do you agree?


The best

The study by PwC and thinktank Demos looked at a range of things when working out the best British cities to live in. They considered transport, work-life balance, inequality and health - as well as income levels and house prices.

It was the broader considerations that ruled out wealthy cities like London which are a nightmare to get around, contain huge gulfs between the richest and poorest, and take a lottery win in order to buy a small semi-detached home.

Instead Reading and Bracknell took the top spot. The city scored well for employment and transport links - as well as affordable housing. Aberdeen came second. The city has undoubtedly benefited enormously from the oil boom, which has meant high levels of employment and pay, without crazy house prices.

Edinburgh was next, which certainly boasts plenty of attractions and booming businesses, as well as simple transport links. House price falls in the area have made it more affordable too.

In fourth place was Southampton, with good transport links, higher levels of employment, and reasonable house prices. Fifth was Cambridge, where good links, and reasonably affordable housing relatively near the centre make for a good work-life balance.

The best places to live in the UK
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Where is Britain's best quality of life?

View of the Avon Gorge in Bristol.

The City's Quality of Living Index score was the highest at 0.725 

The Edinburgh skyline, looking from Carlton Hill.

The city's Quality of Living Index score was 0.697.

Cardiff placed third with a Quality of Living Index score of 0.659.
A view of Liverpool in Merseyside. The city scored 0.629 in the Quality of Living Index.

The Arthington Viaduct in Leeds.

The city scored 0.587 in the Quality of Living Index.

BBC Media City at Salford Quays and reflected in Manchester ship canal.

Manchester scored 0.585 in the Quality of Living Index.

Beautiful London architecture featuring the Houses of Parliament and Westminster bridge.

London had a Quality of Living Index score of 0.569.

Belfast had a Quality of Living Index score of 0.558.

The illuminated figurehead on the prow of a Victorian tall ship docked on the River Clyde in Glasgow at dusk.

Glasgow had a Quality of Living Index score of 0.549.

A merry-go-round and German themed Christmas market entices shoppers into Birmingham.

The city had a Quality of Living Index score of 0.544.

A view of Sheffield Cathedral.

Sheffield had a Quality of Living Index score of 0.519.

A general view of Bradford. The city had  Quality of Living Index score of 0.513.


Down the bottom of the list Middlesbrough and Stockton were in last place, followed by Wakefield and Castleford. London was third from the bottom , Newcastle and Durham fourth and Swansea was in fifth place.

Outside the specific issues of London, job prospects had a major influence in pushing a number of these cities down the rankings.

However, before we set too much store by this study, its worth remembering that uSwitch named Solihull as having the highest standard of living in the UK last week.

In October it was the turn of Bristol - followed by Edinburgh, Cardiff, Liverpool and Leeds. Moneysupermarket also said it used a combination of factors to calculate quality of life - but came up with very different answers. And earlier this year we revealed the ten happiest places in the UK - lead by Harrogate, Stockport and Ipswich.

It seems therefore that if your local area has scored badly on this sort of thing you only have to grin and bear it for a couple of weeks until someone comes up with a new list and a new winner.

But what do you think? Is this list right? Are Reading, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Southampton your favourite places in the UK?

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Where is Britain's best quality of life?
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