If you’re thinking about relocating, there are many important things to consider about a potential destination. While culture, transport links, architecture, and surroundings are all key, one of the most important factors is often overlooked: the people.

Living somewhere where the locals are warm, welcoming, and hospitable can make a huge difference to how happy and settled you feel – but which places in the UK are the friendliest?

While there’s no single way to determine which places are the friendliest (and, of course, it’ll always be subjective!), there are many ways we can get an idea. By looking at surveys, reports, and reviews, we’ve found 10 of the friendliest places to live. And (in no particular order), here they are.

1. York, England

York, England

With its fascinating history, winding medieval streets, and Gothic cathedrals, York has long been a popular destination with travellers. But, it’s just as popular with residents and has regularly been voted one of the friendliest cities in the UK, and even in the world.

Surveys say locals go out of their way to be friendly and greet strangers with warmth and smiles, whether in shops or on the street. The fact that York also has a low crime rate and is consistently ranked as a great place to raise a family means there’s a sense of safety here too, which is no doubt a reason why locals are so welcoming to out-of-towners.

People who live in York say one of the reasons they love it so much is for its excellent arts scene – with multiple theatres, museums, and galleries – and good connections to Edinburgh and London. But the city also boasts over 350 pubs, so if you want to make new friends, just head to one of these lively destinations.


2. Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland

Scotland’s largest city is often overlooked in favour of Edinburgh. But while you could argue that the capital may be grander and more historic, it’s apparently nowhere near as friendly. In the 2022 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards, Glasgow scooped the top spot for the friendliest city in the UK, and came in fourth in 2023.

Considering that the city’s slogan is ‘People make Glasgow’, perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and to many locals, it isn’t. Travel writer and Glasgow native Steve King wrote that the city is a place where “complete strangers will talk to you as if you’d been at school together” – and, while they’re generally friendly to everyone, they have a particular affinity with the French!

Aside from its friendly residents, Glasgow also boasts world-class attractions, a fabulous culinary scene, vibrant neighbourhoods, and an exceptional variety of museums, galleries, and theatres. You’ll also have plenty of gorgeous green spaces and botanical gardens to explore – in fact, in Gaelic, Glasgow literally translates to ‘Dear Green Place’.

If you’ve always wanted to visit (or move!), perhaps now is the time to experience the famous Glaswegian welcome.

3. Liverpool, England

Liverpool, England

Liverpool is another city that’s regularly voted one of the friendliest places in the UK – a fact that’ll probably come as no surprise to locals and people who have visited.

Liverpudlians are known for being welcoming and friendly, and in 2023, the maritime city took joint second place in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.

Plus, in 2020, Liverpool was voted one of the friendliest cities in the UK in a poll by CV-Library, where it was found to be the place respondents believed they’d make friends most easily. Another survey (there are lots of them!) found that Liverpool was the kindest city in the UK, as it was the place where locals were most likely to perform random acts of kindness.

Of course, Liverpool is also known for being an arts, culture, and music hub, so if you’re into any of these, you’ll find plenty of like-minded people here. Whether it’s visiting The Beatles Story on the Albert Dock, seeing gigs at the iconic Cavern Club, or admiring art at Tate Liverpool, this city is as artistic as it is friendly.

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4. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is another capital that’s become known for the warmth and kindness of its locals – as well as its many spirited wine bars, cocktail clubs, jazz bars, and, of course, Irish pubs. And, it came joint second in last year’s Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for the friendliest UK city.

Though Belfast may still be widely known for being the birthplace of the Titanic and for its turbulent history, its remarkable transformation in recent years has made it known for something else: kindness. According to a study by OnePoll for Babybel, Belfast was the second kindest city in the UK in 2022, a place where friendliness, small acts of kindness, and community spirit are common.

Another poll, called The Friendship Index, found that people in Belfast were more committed than anyone else in the UK to helping friends in need, willing to travel more than 60 miles to help with a flat tire. So, if you’re looking to make lasting friends who’ll go that extra mile – quite literally! – then Belfast could be the ideal home for you.

5. Manchester, England

Manchester, England

Manchester is another Northern English city regularly ranked as one of the friendliest, taking joint second prize in 2023’s Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for the friendliest UK city. And in Time Out’s 2022 survey, Manchester was voted as the second friendliest city in the world.

Time Out also found it to be the second-best city in the world for resilience and third-best for progressiveness. Plus, according to the 20,000 global respondents, Manchester is also ranked as the 13th-best city on the planet, thanks to its community spirit and cultural scene.

According to residents, it isn’t just Manchester’s friendliness that makes it so unique, but its wide landscape of restaurants, bars, and events.

Manchester’s industrial history means it’s a city proud of its heritage but always looking ahead. The fact that it’s also a fairly affordable place to live means that, today, it’s a true melting pot and somewhere that’ll always make you feel at home.


6. Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen is Scotland’s third largest city – but thanks to its upbeat atmosphere and low crime rate, it’s also repeatedly voted as the country’s safest city. It wins this recognition year after year and regularly features on lists of the friendliest places to live in the UK.

While being safe doesn’t necessarily equate to being friendly, Aberdeen definitely has the goods to back up its reputation. According to research by Home Views, which polled 28,000 people, Aberdeen was voted the third best place to live in the UK. Its proximity to the sea, grand architecture (it’s not called The Granite City for nothing!), and energy were all cited as reasons – but the locals were too.

Aberdeen’s residents were viewed as welcoming, friendly, polite, and helpful, and their positive attitude towards outsiders makes their hospitality one of the highest in the country.

Not only do locals here have access to a mile-long beach, but they also have a historic town to explore, an excellent food and drink scene, and the chance to find serenity and solitude in the surrounding countryside.

7. Leeds, England

Leeds, England

When it comes to the friendliest UK counties, Yorkshire is definitely a contender, as Leeds is the second city here to regularly be voted one of the country’s friendliest places (Bradford, another Yorkshire town, often appears on these lists too!). It’s also frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the UK in terms of cost of living, happiness, and employment.

Leeds is known for its large student population, which is one of the biggest in Europe – and while many people may not think having 65,000 students enter the city each year is a good thing, locals do. Many believe it adds a unique sense of warmth, energy, diversity, and excitement. Plus, the fact that it’s so beneficial for the economy has a positive knock-on effect for everyone.

But, with almost 800,000 residents, Leeds is also home to people from all walks of life and is considered a hub for creative, hard-working, and positive people.

Leeds is the UK’s second-largest economy after London and has been named the second-best city to start a business in, as well as the UK’s first women-friendly city. When it comes to feeling welcomed, Leeds holds its arms out to everyone.

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8. Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland

Belfast isn’t the only Northern Irish town famed for its friendliness. According to a 2019 survey of global travel site Big 7 Travel’s 1.5 million social media audience, Derry ranked as the eighth most welcoming place in the UK for tourists and expats. The rating was based on attitude towards tourists, the openness of strangers, neighbourly attitudes, and “general friendliness”.

But Derry isn’t only a friendly city – it’s also unusually generous. Based on donations made to the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, Derry was named the second most generous city in the UK. The news wasn’t a surprise to locals, who only seemed shocked their city didn’t scoop first place! As former mayor Brian Tierney said, “Being from Derry is about lending a hand, supporting your wider community, and trying to be that little bit more generous.”

Another big perk Derry has going for it is its affordability and quality of life, which could be a reason why locals are so friendly and generous. While ‘the Walled City’ has all the amenities and attractions of a bustling, riverside metropolis, it also has beautiful beaches and countryside nearby, so locals can get the best of both worlds. No wonder residents are so proud of their city and keen to show it off to others.

9. Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, Wales

Back in 2011, Cardiff was voted the UK’s most sociable city; the place where you’re not only guaranteed a good time when you go out, but where people just tend to go out more in general.

Ten years on, Cardiff remains a highly social place to live. Last year, it came first in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for the friendliest city in the UK, so the Welsh capital clearly hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to warmth and hospitality. As well as being lively, Cardiff also has much more to offer its lucky residents.

If you’re into history, the medieval Cardiff Castle is one of the best in Europe – and there are many more to discover in the surrounding countryside – Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere in Europe. Aside from being one of the friendliest, Cardiff is one of the UK’s greenest cities, so if you’re looking to get outdoors with a new-found hiking or cycling buddy, you’re in the right place!


10. Oxford, England

Oxford, England

Oxford is another university city that’s often celebrated for its friendliness. The Friendship Index poll we’ve already referenced, which asks respondents questions about kindness, encouragement, and looking after others, actually ranked Oxford as the number one friendliest city in the UK.

This beautiful and historic city scored highly across all categories in that poll – but it was also awarded first place in another survey we’ve previously mentioned in this article. In Babybel’s kindest UK city poll – which asked respondents questions about friendliness, good deeds, and community spirit – Oxford scooped the top spot.

It scored especially highly when it came to giving advice, helping one another get jobs, and having opportunities to get involved with the community. Over two-thirds of locals felt the city excelled socially, while more than half believed it to be a charitable and supportive place to live. So, not only is Oxford one of the most beautiful cities in the country, but it’s also one of the kindest!

Final thoughts…

While this article has featured lots of different surveys and polls, most with varying results, the reality is that our perception of which places are the friendliest is entirely subjective and based on our own experiences, which can be wildly different.

However, regardless of how many surveys and polls you look at, it’s also true that the same destinations keep cropping up. So, while cities like Manchester, Aberdeen, and Oxford might be very different, we can feel confident that they’re indeed friendly, welcoming, and warm – whether you’re only visiting or planning to relocate.

To get more ideas and inspiration for your next move, check out our articles; 14 of the best places to retire in the UK and 20 happiest places to live in Great Britain. Or, use the button below to browse UK travel deals.

Do you agree with this list of the country’s friendliest places? Or do you have your own suggestions for the friendliest places to live in the UK? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!