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The Best UK Cities for Freelancers

If you’re considering a career change making the move to freelancing can be daunting, but over 1.4 million Brits are currently doing it. The lifestyle of a freelancer has numerous perks, allowing flexibility and the chance to work from home every day removing the cost of a commute. However, with so much freedom it’s hard to know where to set up shop.

To lay out the pros and cons if you’re looking to make a change, we have created a ranking of the best cities in the UK to make your home as a freelancer. In addition we spoke to current freelancers to uncover how they feel about their choice of working style, their favourite perks of this lifestyle and their biggest concerns.

So, which UK city makes the best home for freelancers?

While working independently as a freelancer has become increasingly popular in recent years, it may be difficult to know where to start when weighting up the pros and cons. The lifestyle affords many perks including the flexibility and the chance to work from home every day, but is location still important?  

We’ve put together a regional guide for any prospective freelancers to help with the change in work style so you can get the most out of the gig economy.

The most popular freelance careers

Understanding which of your skills are in demand is important when considering freelancing. We’ve uncovered the most popular sectors for freelancing based on regional data – see below to find out which job sectors show potential for growth and which have significant demand already.

The most popular freelance careers

Where is the best city to freelance?

With so much freedom it’s hard to know where to set up shop when considering a freelance career. To help you make your decision, we have created a ranking of the best cities in the UK to make your home as a freelancer.

If you’re a freelancer looking to move for work opportunities or want to compare your city with others we’ve analysed the top 

cities below.  

So, which UK city makes the best home for freelancers? 



The vibrant northwestern city of Manchester offers plenty of opportunities for freelancers, with the highest number of freelancers advertising outside of the capital city and a wealth of startups in the area. Reasonable housing costs and plenty of WiFi hotspots make the city an ideal home for freelancers.

Manchester key statistics

Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove

The most populous seaside resort in the UK, Brighton & Hove is a lively coastal city with plenty to offer for freelancers. The city has one of the highest numbers of startups in the UK per capita and boasts excellent life satisfaction levels.

Brighton & Hove key statistics



The Scottish capital has proved to be an ideal location for freelancers to set up shop with plenty of start-ups in the city. The city also offers a high hourly rate and more than enough Wifi hotspots to go round.

Edinburgh key statistics



If quality of life is the most important factor on your list, Northern Ireland’s capital is the city to head to. Belfast topped the charts for life satifaction and also fares impressively in terms of Wifi hotspots per capita, not to mention the low cost of renting and purchasing a property.

Belfast key statistics



The capital city has a multitude of opportunities for freelancers, with over 6000 advertising online. London boasts a high average hourly rate and plenty of start-ups to get involved in, with the numbers continuing to grow.

London key statistics

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Key benefits




Leeds is a bustling metropolitan city ideal for freelancers. 

The city offers plenty of startups to work with alongside a high hourly rate and lower property prices than southern cities.

28,905 startups

£30 hourly rate 

£160,000 property cost





Scotland’s largest city offers a high average hourly rate for freelancers, accompanied by low property and renting costs making the city a great location for those looking to save. 

The city also offers a high level of startups and WiFi hotspots.

20,235 startups

£25 hourly rate 

£173,647 property cost

£598 cost of rent (PCM)

82,238 BT WiFi hotspots 




With the highest average hourly rate of any UK city, Bristol offers a great opportunity for freelancers. The city also has a high life satisfaction level overall for its residents.

£37.50 hourly rate 

7.43/10 life satisfaction




Nottingham offers a good average hourly rate and reasonable property and rental prices. With plenty of WiFi hotspots, there’s lots of opportunities for freelancers to work away from home.

£25 hourly rate 

£175,000 property cost

46,472 BT WiFi hotspots



Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle a bustling northern city, it also offers freelancers an exciting metropolitan lifestyle without the costs of the capital. The city also boats some of the lowest average property and renting costs within the UK cities studied.

£130,000 property cost

£789 cost of rent (PCM)




Leicester offers the opportunity to get involved with a number of startups. The city also provides a substantial number of WiFi hotspots per capita, ideal for freelancers.

11,860 startups

49,532 BT WiFi hotspots 




Offering a particularly high average hourly rate outside of the capital, Plymouth has plenty to give to a freelancer. Alongside reasonable housing prices, the city has a high life satifastion rating indicating the quality of life available.

£29 hourly rate 

£175,000 property cost

7.57/10 life satisfaction




Freelancing here is ideal for those looking for lower property and rental costs and the chance to tap into not only the many startups within the Bradford area but also in surrounding cities.

£120,000 property cost

£451 cost of rent (PCM)

16,345 startups




The Welsh capital has a high average hourly rate and life satisfaction score which is enough to entice many to the city. Cardiff also offers an impressive number of WiFi areas for those looking to connect on the go.

£25 hourly rate 

7.53/10 life satisfaction

52,821 BT WiFi hotspots




This picturesque city is a good choice for freelancers looking for a more relaxed city vibe. With average rental and property costs and a high life satisfaction score, it’s easy to see why freelancers would choose to move here.

£802 cost of rent (PCM) 

£215,000 property cost

7.52/10 life satisfaction

What do freelancers think?

We spoke to freelancers across the UK to find out how they got into freelancing, what they like best about it as well as what their biggest challenges are compared to a more conventional work style.

Find out below what freelancers said about their career choice.

What do freelancers think?

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