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Where are the UK’s most family-friendly cities?

Research reveals the best and worst places for raising a family

If you’re looking to move to a city with great schools, a low crime rate and plenty of jobs, then Bath is the place to be. 

That’s according to new Moneysupermarket research, in which the picturesque Somerset city came out top of the 35 locations analysed.

Here, we take a look at the report’s best and worst cities to live in, before offering some advice on finding the right place to live.

  • If you’re thinking of buying a home and want help finding and applying for a mortgage, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 2942 849.

Bath named as most family-friendly city

Moneysupermarket analysed 35 cities based on quality of life indicators, such as schools, crime, green space, housing and wages – and Bath beat last year’s winner Newcastle to the top spot.

Bath was commended for the quality of its schools and number of employment opportunities – the highest in the UK, with 13.76 jobs per 100 people.

Wolverhampton finished in third place due to improvements in its schools, while Manchester leaped 12 places to finish fourth, primarily due to its reduced crime rates.

Five most family-friendly cities

Town ‘Outstanding’ schools Parks Average salary Average house price Job opportunities* Burglary hotspots**
Bath 31 10 £29,806 £342,000 13,839 9
Newcastle 108 22 £32,572 £161,000 8,230 8
Wolverhampton 74 7 £30,408 £141,000 22,223 18
Manchester 196 25 £33,684 £173,000 31,410 21
Swansea 23 107 £33,188 £141,000 2,778 5

Source: Moneysupermarket ‘Best Family Cities’ tool. *Job opportunities on Indeed.co.uk. **Based on Moneysupermarket’s contents insurance claims data.

High house prices see London finish last

With eye-watering house prices, high crime rates and fierce competition for school places, London ranked in last place of the 35 cities analysed by Moneysupermarket.

And despite being named as the UK City of Culture in 2017, Hull came second to last, with its lack of job opportunities bringing it down.

Perhaps surprisingly, Bristol didn’t fare too well either – with a decline in job opportunities and expensive housing cited as reasons for its poor placing.

Five least family-friendly cities

Town ‘Outstanding’ schools Nearby parks Average salary Average house price Job opportunities* Burglary hotspots**
London 555 1,649 £40,978 £484,000 126,098 19
Hull 26 5 £29,232 £110,000 3,169 17
Bristol 54 26 £32,880 £275,000 15,239 15
Leicester 51 13 £30,576 £162,000 18,750 21
Brighton 23 14 £32,258 £361,000 11,433 14

Source: Moneysupermarket ‘Best Family Cities’ tool. *Job opportunities on Indeed.co.uk. **Based on Moneysupermarket’s contents insurance claims data.

How to find the best place to live

When you’re choosing an area to move to, it pays to do your research.

After all, up-and-coming areas don’t stay under the radar for long, and if you’re too late to the ‘next big thing’ you might end up buying a home at the very peak of the market.

Here are some tips on getting ahead of the game when finding somewhere new to live:

  • Look for thriving nearby towns: popular places often go hand in hand with higher house prices – but the next town along could be on its way up.
  • New developments: high-quality new-build homes can sometimes increase the value of surrounding properties, provided the infrastructure exists to support the new inhabitants. Supply and demand is important, though, as too many new properties can have an adverse effect on house prices.
  • Local demographics: consider who lives in the area and the types of properties that are most in demand. This will help you work out whether an area is going to work for your family in the long term.
  • Planning permissions: check what’s happening with your local authority. A new school or supermarket could boost the value of homes, but a chemical plant will likely have the opposite effect.
  • Regeneration and transport plans: town centre regeneration can attract wider investment and jobs, which is good news for property prices. New transport links – as long as they don’t add noise or pollution – might have a similar effect.
  • Gentrification: it’s not all about smashed avocado and quinoa, but upmarket cafes, shops and restaurants are a sign that an area is on the up. If they’ve been there a while already, you might be late to the game.
  • Good schools: popular school catchment areas have always attracted premium prices, so keep a look out for schools that have improved their Ofsted ratings.

To learn more about researching an area before deciding whether to buy there, check out our full guide on finding the best places to live.


Want to compare areas?

We’ve developed a tool that allows you to research and compare different areas before choosing where to buy.

As well as data on housing, primary and secondary schools and council tax, our tool includes life expectancy, happiness scores and information about the different household types in each local authority.

Advice on your mortgage options

Whether you need an early indication of how much you might be able to borrow or are ready to find a mortgage deal, you can get impartial, expert advice from a broker by filling in the form below for a free call back or dial 0800 2942 849.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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