The Healthiest Cities in the UK
Keeping fit and healthy isn’t always easy – from staying motivated, to maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly, there’s a lot to stay on top of. But what bearing does the city we call home have on supporting a healthy lifestyle?
To find out which city offers the best environment for healthy living, and where residents are the most motivated, we’ve ranked the UK’s 44 most-populated locations. We looked at the quality of green spaces, the number of healthy restaurants and outdoor activities, and the number of online searches for gym memberships.
Which UK city is the best for living a healthy lifestyle?
Edinburgh comes out on top, with 105 healthy restaurants. Its residents also search online for gym memberships the most - 5,710 times per month in the last year alone to be exact.
When it comes to spending time outdoors, Edinburgh’s green spaces and parks earn a score of 82.20 out of 100 for quality, giving them a ‘very high’ rating. There are also 60 outdoor activities you can do in the Scottish capital to keep fit, including walking tours and white water rafting.
London leads the way for healthy eateries with the most (743) healthy restaurants to choose from. The capital also boasts the highest number of outdoor activities (82), including abseiling, fishing and bike tours.
Cambridge’s green spaces and parks are of a ‘very high’ standard, with a near-perfect score of 90.52. And residents are searching keenly for gym memberships, with 20 searches per 1,000 people, the second-highest amount among all cities, along with Bristol.
4. Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove has the second-best quality green spaces and parks (85.23) of the top five healthiest cities. But despite its high score, the city offers just 15 outdoor activities. However, it’s home to one of the most famous beaches in the UK – perfect for seaside walks or outdoor runs.
There are just seven searches for gym memberships per 1,000 of the population (2,000 in total), but Brighton & Hove has the third-highest number of healthy restaurants – 67 – in the top ten locations.
5. Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne ranks joint-fifth, based on monthly online searches for gym memberships, averaging 4,670 over the past 12 months. That’s s equivalent to 17 searches per 1,000 of the city’s population.
Parks and green spaces in the north-eastern city score 79 out of 100 for quality, but there are only five outdoor activities for its residents to choose from.
Bristol shares fifth place with Newcastle upon Tyne. The city’s green spaces and parks earn a respectable score of 73.39 for quality, and the level of interest in gym memberships is the same as Cambridge’s, at 20 per 1,000 people.
In sixth place is Norwich, where there are 46 outdoor activities to choose from. But the city’s green spaces and parks score a modest 64.06 for quality – the lowest of any city in our top ten.
Swansea ranks in seventh place thanks to the quality of its green parks and spaces. With a score of 91.67, Wales’s second-largest city has the best parks and green spaces of every city in the top ten and there are 40 outdoor activities to explore.
Liverpool’s parks and green spaces score 79.81. Over the past year, Liverpudlians have made 7,040 online searches per month for gym memberships - that’s 15 searches per 1,000 of the population.
However, there are only five outdoor activities listed on Tripadvisor to help people keep fit outdoors, which is fairly low compared to some of the other locations. When it comes to a healthy diet, Liverpool has 58 healthy restaurants to support clean-eating efforts.
Oxford’s beautiful green spaces and parks score 88.24. But interest in gym memberships is comparatively low, with just 1,660 monthly searches over the past year – the third lowest in the top ten after Swansea (1,120) and Exeter (940).
Exeter and Oxford share ninth place with Exeter’s parks and green spaces, scoring 81.25. However, the city has just 15 healthy restaurants and residents only made 940 monthly searches inquiring about gym memberships in the past 12 months.
Sharing 10th place with Glasgow, Sheffield’s parks and green spaces score 86.84 for quality. The city also has 33 healthy restaurants and 37 outdoor activities to enjoy, while its residents have made 4,700 searches each month for gym membership-related terms in the past year.
Glasgow’s green spaces and parks are considered to be of ‘very high’ quality, scoring 81.63 out of a possible 100. But there are only 50 healthy restaurants for Glaswegians to choose from, less than half as many as there are in Edinburgh (105), the only other Scottish city in making it into the top ten.
|Rank||City||Population||Quality of green spaces/parks||Number of online searches for gym memberships (monthly)||Number of healthy restaurants||Number of outdoor activities|
|4||Brighton & Hove||273,369||85.23||2000||67||15|
|5||Newcastle upon Tyne||280,177||79.00||4670||43||5|
How does your city measure up against the rest of the top ten?
Sources and Methodology:
To find the healthiest cities in the UK, a weighted ranking system was used based on the quality of green spaces/parks, number of Google searches for gym memberships from October 2021 to October 2022, number of healthy restaurants, and the number of outdoor activities.
- To measure the level of interest in gym memberships, we used Google keyword planner to find out the amount of times terms including ‘gym membership’, ‘gyms near me’, ‘gym membership near me’, ‘24 hour gym near me’, and ‘24 hour gym’. Searches for these terms were then combined to give a total. Search volume for Brighton was used for Brighton & Hove.
Every factor was looked at for the top 50 most populous cities in the UK, Westminster was removed as it is part of Greater London. Derry, Colchester, Lancaster, Winchester, Gloucester and Wakefield were also removed due to missing data on green spaces/parks.
To calculate the overall healthiest cities ranking, each factor was scored out of 10 before taking an average for each city.