Despite the scary stories you often hear on the news, the UK is considered a very safe country. However, some places are definitely safer than others.

If you’re thinking about relocating, then feeling secure in your neighbourhood is one of the most important things to consider. As, no matter how beautiful a town may be, if you don’t feel safe walking around, you won’t be able to enjoy it in the same way.

So, if you’re looking for a safe new place to settle – or you’re just thinking about a move that may improve the quality of your life – we’ve got some suggestions.

Based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and comparing each destination’s crime rate to the UK national average of 79.52 per 1,000 people, here are the 10 safest places to live in the UK.

1. The Orkney Islands, Scotland

The Orkney Islands, Scotland

If you’re really looking to get away from it all and to relocate somewhere both remote and idyllic, where crime is incredibly rare, you might want to think about heading to the Orkney Islands.

Tucked away on the coast of Scotland, surrounded by the Norwegian and North seas, this rugged archipelago of over 70 islands is wonderfully peaceful.

Only 20 of the 70 islands are actually inhabited, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the crime rate is so low. And it is very, very low: with a crime rate of 16.41 per 1,000 people, your chances of being a victim of crime are vastly lower than anywhere else in the UK – and months can go by without a single crime being reported.

On top of that, the locals – known as Orcadians – are warm and hospitable, and there’s a vibrant community. So, while these islands are isolated, that doesn’t mean they’re lonely. Plus, the Orkney Islands are known for their incredible wildlife (such as puffins, seals, dolphins, and whales), cultural heritage (including a unique dialect of the Scots language and a rich tradition of music, dance, and storytelling), and prehistoric sites.

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2. East Renfrewshire, Scotland

East Renfrewshire, Scotland

If you like the idea of living in a small, rural community on the UK mainland, where there’s a strong sense of community, spectacular scenery, and a very low crime rate, then the Scottish district of East Renfrewshire might be the ideal destination for you.

Sharing borders with Glasgow, East Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, and North Ayrshire, you’re ideally placed to explore other parts of Scotland. Although, with so much beautiful countryside around you, from moors to rolling hills and woodland – not to mention many charming towns and villages – there’s plenty to do on your own doorstep too.

East Renfrewshire has a very low crime rate of 22.61 per 1,000 people, which is 46% lower than the Scottish average. The overall crime statistics also show that crime is 72% less likely to occur here than the average UK rate.

Ultimately, given its low crime rate, excellent housing, wide range of artistic and leisure activities, friendly community, and lovely landscape, East Renfrewshire is a great place to live.

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3. North Yorkshire, England

North Yorkshire, England

North Yorkshire might seem like a more surprising entry on this list – because not only is it the largest non-metropolitan county in England, but it’s also the English county with the lowest crime rate.

According to the Office for National Statistics crime report, North Yorkshire had a crime rate of 49.9 per 1,000 people – the lowest in the country and way below the national average of 79.52.

North Yorkshire is made up of 3,480 square miles of land, and national parks cover 40% of the county. The vast expanses of countryside may explain why the crime rate is so low, although the excellent work of the North Yorkshire police force has also been praised.

But North Yorkshire has much more than just safety going for it. The beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors is outstanding, so if you enjoy hiking in gorgeous landscapes, and enjoying a sense of peace and solitude, you’re in the right place. Plus, houses cost much less here than in many other places in the UK (typically below £250,000), so you get far more property for your money.

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4. Wiltshire, England

Wiltshire, England

Another lovely and safe place to live is Wiltshire, in the South West of England.

This rural county is famous for its bucolic beauty, and around half of Wiltshire is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from the Cotswolds to Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs. And that’s without mentioning prehistoric Stonehenge and Avenuebury stone circles!

Aside from its gently rolling greenery, there are many great places to live here, and house prices (average £385,756) are cheaper than nearby Bristol or Bath. There are 21 different towns in Wiltshire; the largest is Swindon, followed by Salisbury, and if you prefer more rural locations, there are countless pretty villages to choose from.

In terms of safety, Wiltshire is very respectable. In 2021, it was ranked as the second safest place to live in the UK, with just 50.7 crimes per 1,000 people, which means it has around 33% less crime than the UK average. It also is the lowest-ranked county in the UK for criminal damage and arson, and is the second-lowest-ranked county for residential burglary.

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5. Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland

Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, or are interested in relocating there, you might want to consider a move to Mid Ulster. It’s Northern Ireland’s safest district and one of the safest places to live in the UK.

Mid Ulster has plenty more going for it too, as its breathtaking landscape offers residents a wonderful sense of calm and quiet. You can take tranquil walks through emerald-green valleys, around gleaming lakes, and up craggy peaks, and enjoy exploring the Sperrin Mountains and Clogher Valley.

The area is also known for its unique cultural heritage and history. For example, you can visit Bronze Age settlements, impressive stone circles, and ancient strongholds, as well as many historic houses and elegant gardens.

And of course, the crime rate – or lack of it! – is a huge plus. Mid Ulster’s crime rate sits around 32 per 1,000 population, which is much less than the UK average.

Recent research also shows that Mid Ulster has the fewest burglaries in Northern Ireland, and the third-fewest in the UK – so you can feel confident that your home is likely to be secure in this lovely part of the world.

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6. Surrey, England

Surrey, England

If you’d prefer to live in the South East of England, Surrey is an excellent choice.

This well-heeled county is a popular choice for people looking to take advantage of the excitement of city life while still living in a quiet, peaceful area. It takes just 30 minutes to get to London from Surrey by train, which is a major perk.

Surrey also has many lovely towns and villages, and a strong sense of community. It’s known for its annual county show and many different festivals throughout the year – such as The Surrey Hills International Music Festival and Pub in the Park – all of which are designed to celebrate the county and help residents bond as they appreciate their local area.

According to research, Surrey is the safest place to live in the Southeast, and the fourth safest place to live in the UK.

With a crime rate of 55 per 1,000 people, this home county is far less likely to experience crime than the average UK county. However, when compared to other safe counties, like North Yorkshire, it has a higher rate of drug offences and theft – but a lower rate of violence.

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7. Devon and Cornwall, England

Devon and Cornwall, England

While Devon and Cornwall are two separate counties, they have a joint police force – so crime stats encompass both Southwestern regions.

Together, Devon and Cornwall are ranked as the third safest places in the UK, with a crime rate of 51, which is 28% lower than the national average.

Devon has a lower crime rate than Cornwall, but both counties are below the national average, with low rates of burglaries, vandalism, and violent crime. While its rates of non-residential burglary, drug offences, and criminal damage and arson are slightly higher, they’re still well under the national average.

Adding to Devon or Cornwall’s appeal is the fact that they’re two of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. They boast gorgeous beaches, beautiful national parks, and quaint fishing villages – and they’re very popular retirement destinations too.

If you’re looking to enjoy a slower pace of life, and the natural beauty around you, either Devon or Cornwall could be ideal.

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8. Gloucestershire, England

Gloucestershire, England

Gloucestershire is another rural county in the South West of England that’s considered one of the safest places to live.

While Gloucester is the only city in the county – famous for its grand cathedral and elegant homes – other towns include Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury, and Dursley, not to mention a whole range of picturesque villages.

Gloucestershire has a crime rate of 58.3 per 1,000 people, which is well below the national average – although interestingly, compared to the other 10 safest places to live, it has the highest crime rate for robbery, and the second-highest for residential burglary and theft. But, all things considered, the overall crime rate is still significantly lower than the rest of the UK.

Despite the higher crime rate for certain offences, there are many perks to living in this county. For example, if you don’t fancy living in a more urban area, there are many gorgeous small towns and villages, many of which have pretty Cotswold stone houses. There are also many great local pubs, quaint tea rooms, and quirky shops to browse.

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9. Powys, Wales

Powys, Wales

The county of Powys is Wales’ largest country, and it covers much of Mid Wales, including parts of North and South Wales, and gorgeous national parks like the Brecon Beacons.

Known for its rolling green valleys, glorious mountains, and starry night skies, it’s a popular travel destination in the UK – and despite its large size, it’s still got a good reputation when it comes to safety.

What’s interesting about Powys crime is that it’s governed by the Dyfed-Powys Police. This is a territorial police force, just like Devon and Cornwall, that covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, and Powys. While Dyfed-Powys covers four areas in one, it still has the ninth-lowest crime rate in the UK – and is the only Welsh region to make the list.

Dyfed-Powys has a crime rate of 61.5 per 1,000 people, which is significantly below the national average. In terms of robbery and shoplifting, it actually has the lowest rates in the whole of the UK, but the fact it has more drug offences than average gives it a slightly higher ranking.

Still, this large and sparsely populated county is a great place to live, especially if you’re seeking solitude.

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10. Cumbria, England

Cumbria, England

Cumbria was pipped to the post by Powys for ninth position by a tiny 0.4%! But this non-metropolitan county, located in the North West of England and bordering on Scotland, also has a low crime rate compared to the national average. There are 61.9 crimes per 1,000 people, compared to the UK average of 79.52.

Cumbria’s crime statistics are rather interesting. While it’s undeniably a safe county in terms of statistics, it actually has higher rates of criminal damage and arson than the UK average – although only by 0.5%.

Violence against people is also higher than in any of the other destinations on this list. However, that’s not to say Cumbria isn’t a safe place to live overall – and it has a lot else going for it too.

This rural county is known for its spectacular scenery, including the breathtaking Lake District. Around one-third of the Yorkshire Dales National Park falls within Cumbria too, so if you’re looking to move somewhere with plenty of green space, you’ll find that here.

Plus, you’re only a two-hour drive from major cities like Manchester, Liverpool, York and Leeds, so you can still take advantage of city life should you wish to.

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Final thoughts…

As this article shows, the safest places to live in the UK are as diverse as they are geographically dispersed.

From the remote Orkney Islands to affluent Surrey, and rural mid-Ulster to popular Devon and Cornwall, there are safe places to live all throughout the country – no matter where on our island you want to lay your hat.

While crime statistics do vary, and also fluctuate year by year, the places featured on this list have been selected not only for their consistently low crime rates, but also the quality of life they provide – whether it’s access to lots of green space, enjoyable leisure activities, or strong community spirit. So whichever destination catches your eye, you can feel reassured that a good quality of life awaits there too.

For more inspiration for where to live, why not check out the moving home section of our website?

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