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Which city’s for me?

Profiling the UK’s leading expat destinations

What expats enjoy most about UK cities

More than 8,000 expats based in the UK took part in our latest Expat Explorer survey, sharing their views on what’s great about the city they’ve moved to. The UK’s cities have a lot to offer – from first-rate restaurants and friendly locals to excellent career prospects and a better quality of life.


Edinburgh – a global hotspot for culture and sightseeing

With an eclectic mix of music, theatre, comedy and art, 55% of expats highlight Edinburgh’s vibrant cultural scene as one of its best attributes, placing it 9th in our global rankings. The Scottish capital also takes 3rd spot for sightseeing, beating popular tourist destinations such as Barcelona and New York.

of expats recommend Edinburgh for its rich and diverse sightseeing

Edinburgh is also a practical city, with 35% of expats saying they value its reliable and convenient public transport system. An internationally renowned university and excellent schools place it 4th in our rankings for education, just behind Glasgow.

thai food

Manchester – a better food scene than London

Home to the famous Curry Mile and the third largest Chinatown in Europe, Manchester beats London when it comes to culinary excellence amongst expats. 30% associate the city with great restaurants and high quality food – and they also rate its cultural scene ahead of cities like Barcelona and Prague.

of expats say they feel more fulfilled at work in Manchester

For the majority of expats in Manchester, enjoying life doesn’t put a strain on their finances. Just over half (52%) say the cost of living is affordable, placing it in 6th spot globally.


London – a world leader for career opportunities

When it comes to offering expats fantastic job opportunities, London is ranked 2nd in the world, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking to move up the career ladder. The UK’s capital is also a cultural hotspot, with 62% of expats saying it has a vibrant cultural scene.

of expats in London believe it offers better career progression than at home

Iconic landmarks such as Big Ben and the London Eye are also a hit with expats. 42% are impressed by the city’s sightseeing opportunities, placing it ahead of New York (36%) and Dubai (13%).


Glasgow – a welcoming and friendly community

Expats who move to Glasgow can expect to receive a warm welcome when they arrive. Nearly three quarters (70%) say they’re integrating well with the local people and culture, while more than half (57%) have found it easy to make new friends.

of expats in Glasgow felt at home within a year of moving to the city

As well as enjoying the Glaswegian hospitality, families can also benefit from an education system that 19% of expats say is excellent, just behind Singapore (26%) and Toronto (20%).


Birmingham – great job opportunities and a better quality of life

Ranked 5th in the world for job opportunities, Birmingham is attracting major companies and growing as a financial services hub. Although salaries in the Midlands are considerably lower than in London, 51% of Birmingham expats say the cost of living is affordable, compared to just 1% in the UK’s capital.

of expats in Birmingham say their quality of life is as good or better than it was at home

A city on the up, Birmingham’s leisure facilities are appreciated by 25% of expats, and further improvements are underway as the city prepares to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

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The 2017 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 27,587 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2017. There is a minimum sample of 90 expat respondents required for a city to be included in the rankings.