The best UK cities for families

Looking for the ideal place to live? We take a closer look at some of the best cities to move to across the UK…

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Choosing where to live isn’t always an easy decision to make. Your decision may be based on a range of factors and these might change as you get older and start a family.

Factors that may influence you include:

  • House prices
  • Job opportunities
  • Average salary
  • Crime levels
  • Access to green space
  • Schools
  • Ease and cost of commute
  • Childcare costs

You might also consider factors such as how close you are to family members – particularly if you need to rely on them to help with childcare – or even whether you’ll be able to find your favourite retailers or restaurants close by.

Best cities for families

MoneySuperMarket’s annual Family Living Index was created to help current and future parents select the best location to raise a family. It ranks 35 UK cities based on six key factors that impact family life - these are:

  • Local school rankings
  • Access to green space
  • Likelihood of burglary
  • House prices
  • Job opportunities
  • Average salary

Retaining its title from last year, Bath took the number one spot as the UK’s best place to raise a family, thanks to a high number of job opportunities and a high frequency of ‘outstanding’ Ofsted-rated schools per capita.

It was followed by:

2.       Wolverhampton

3.       Newcastle upon Tyne

4.       Sunderland

5.       Manchester

To see the full breakdown of the results, as well as the cities that ranked lowest, why not take a look at our handy tool?

Quality of life vs cost of living

As well as quality of life, you might also want to consider the overall cost of living - which can vary significantly across the country.

Money Nest has crunched the numbers to work out the cheapest cities to live in as measured by average monthly spend and the results are quite different to those mentioned above, though it’s worth noting that most are still in the Midlands or the North.

We’ve also added in a column to show how these cities rank (out of 35) on the MoneySuperMarket Family Living Index:

City

Cost of living (individual)

Cost of living (couple)

MoneySuperMarket Family Living ranking

Kingston upon Hull

£706.81

£1,437.75

28

Belfast

£819.20

£1,523.79

23

Sheffield

£829.00

£1,552.47

29

Derby

£837.96

£1,544.71

10

Leicester

£884.07

£1,651.30

33

Source: Money Nest, Numbeo and Land Registry – plus MoneySuperMarket

Using data from Numbeo, we’ve also looked at how the above five cities compare in terms of salary, transport costs and childcare fees:

 

City

Average monthly salary (after tax)

Monthly pass (local transport)

Preschool monthly costs

Kingston upon Hull

£1,348.33

£43.48

£619.11

Belfast

£1,547.90

£56

£786.60

Sheffield

£1,645.45

£59

£666.67

Derby

£2,187.50

£53.50

£833.33

Leicester

£1,727.36

£58.43

£610

Source: Numbeo

How to find the best city for you

With so many different factors to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start, so you may find it easier to list out all of your requirements in order of importance.

Most of us will probably need to compromise on something when making a decision, but listing out the main priorities should help make the process that bit easier.

Cutting the cost of moving home

Once you’ve weighed up all the factors and chosen the area you want to move to, the next step is finding the right property – take a look at our top tips for viewing properties.

If you’re concerned about how much moving home is going to cost you, the good news is there are steps you can take to help keep costs to a minimum:

1.       Draw up a budget

Make a list of all your moving costs and an estimation of what they will be, so you know what to expect and can start budgeting for them.

The main costs to consider include solicitors’ fees, your mortgage deposit, mortgage fees, stamp duty, estate agent fees (if you’re selling your current home), removal costs and surveys.

2.       Consider a mortgage with no fee

Mortgage fees can vary from zero to around £2,500. You’ll often find that the most competitive mortgage rates come with the highest fees, so it’s a good idea to compare all of your options carefully and do the maths. You may find it’s cheaper to choose a mortgage with a higher interest rate but no fee.

3.       Compare estate fees

If you are selling your home, estate agent fees can vary from around 1% to 3%. However, while you might want to choose the estate agent with the cheapest fee, make sure you are comfortable with how they are planning to market your home and how they will conduct viewings.

You might also want to think about using an online service that charges a fixed fee rather than a percentage of the sale price, such as Yopa or Purple Bricks.

4.       Compare removal firms

When it comes to the big move, you can save money by packing everything up yourself and hiring a van.

Alternatively, you can pay a removal firm to do the hard work for you, but make sure you get at least three quotes so you can compare costs. Removal costs will vary depending on how far you’re moving, how much you’re moving, the size of your property and the day of the week – Fridays and Saturdays tend to be the most expensive, so avoid these days if you can.

5.       Save on your household bills

Once you’ve moved in, it’s a good idea to switch energy supplier. This is because you’ll usually be put on the standard variable tariff of the supplier who already supplies your new house. These tariffs are more expensive so it’s best to switch to a cheaper deal.

If you want broadband in your new home, make sure you compare deals carefully to get the best deal for you.

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