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Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Posted
24 MARCH 2023
4 min read
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The UK’s Top Cities to Make Friends as an Adult


Making new friends as an adult can be tough, with “how to make friends as an adult” being Google’s most-searched “how to” term in 2022. But not only can putting yourself out there can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it can also be difficult to take time out of busy schedules to find and engage with new people. Based on this, we wanted to explore which cities in the UK offer up the most opportunities to make friends.

We analysed the 40 most populated cities in the UK and compared them against a series of factors to determine the top locations to make friends. The ranking considers happiness levels, the average number of friends people have in each location, as well as the number of places where you may meet like-minded people such as museums, workshops, bars, and restaurants.

The UK’s Top Cities to Make Friends

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London ranks as the top UK city to make friends. Boasting the highest number of bars and pubs (1,408), workshops (1,424), museums (124) and restaurants (3,010) out of all cities analysed, there are plenty of places to try to make new friendships.

The rest of the top five is taken up with northern cities as Edinburgh takes second place. The Scottish capital is home to the second-highest number of pubs and bars at 560 and 1,409 restaurants.

In third place, Bradford boasts the second-cheapest pint out of all the cities analysed. Costing just £3, only Wolverhampton (in 12th position) pips Bradford to the post, where you can purchase a pint for £2.75.

Newcastle ranks in fourth place, with people averaging 26 friends – one of the highest-ranking cities for this metric. Bolton takes fifth place, with 350 workshops and 238 restaurants to choose from.

The top cities to make friends outside of London

Due to its size, it’s no surprise that London comes out on top – the capital is bustling with people and has endless activities to try out and an abundance of restaurants to visit. However, a large population doesn’t necessarily correlate with having a lot of friends. We decided to take a deeper look and analyse the number of pubs and bars, workshops, museums, and restaurants per 100,000 citizens, to reveal the locations best for meeting new people when you take population into account.

Rank City Population Happiness score Number of bars & pubs (per 100,000 population) Number of workshops (per 100,000 people) Number of museums (per 100,000 population) Number of restaurants Average cost of a pint Total searches for friendship apps (per 100,000 population)
1 Edinburgh 488,050 7.10 115 27 10 289 £4.78 219
2 Bolton 202,369 7.52 93 173 12 118 £3.10 99
3 Newcastle upon Tyne 281,842 7.49 43 32 5 60 £3.70 326
4 Huddersfield 170,269 N/A 36 196 7 21 £3.20 100
5 Bradford 361,046 7.49 50 43 6 37 £3.00 55

Edinburgh tops the table when it comes to the number of bars and pubs per 100,000 citizens at 115, as well as restaurants at 289.

Bolton takes second place, boasting 173 workshops as well as 12 museums per 100,00 citizens – the highest out of all cities.

In third place, Newcastle has the highest number of monthly searches per 100,000 people for friendship apps (326), with residents reaching for their phones to search for terms such as “bumble bff” and “friender”. This perhaps shows that they’re the most willing to put themselves out there when it comes to meeting new people. 

Huddersfield comes in fourth, with people in the Yorkshire and Humber region having the second-largest amount of friends - at 26 on average. Bradford rounds off the top five with six museums, 37 restaurants and 50 pubs and bars per 100,000 population.

How to make friends as an adult

While stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting new people can feel daunting, having strong friendships and social ties can be more rewarding than you may think. There are many health benefits associated with friendships, from making us happier, reducing feelings of isolation and offering positive influences, to even promoting healthy aging. But what are the best ways to meet new people for those looking to expand their social circle? 

Facebook groups

There is a multitude of different community groups on Facebook. From those who have interests in particular hobbies, or groups of people who have moved from one location to another, joining these groups will put you in touch with people who have shared similar experiences.

Hobbies and classes

Trying a new hobby is a great way to learn new skills and comes with the added benefit of allowing you to meet new people. Having a shared interest means you may already have a common goal, and grabbing a coffee before or after the class may help spark more conversation.

Mutual friends

Ask some of your current friends if they know of anyone in the city you’re based. This can sometimes take away the awkwardness of meeting a complete stranger, as you already know someone in common. 

Methodology

The top 40 largest cities in the UK based on the population were included in the seedlist of cities studied in this analysis. To find the best cities to make friends in the UK, a weighted ranking system was used based on the following metrics:

  • Happiness Score - Data taken from April 2021 to March 2022 was used. 
  • Number of Bars and Pubs - A distance filter of 20 miles was used for London and 10 miles was used for other locations.
  • Number of Museums - A distance filter of 20 miles was used for London and 10 miles was used for other locations.
  • Number of Workshops - A distance filter of 20 miles was used for London and 10 miles was used for other locations.
  • Average Cost of a Pint
  • Search Volume - Average monthly Google search volume was taken for each city based on the search terms “bumble bff”, “friender”, “hey vina” and “meetup”.

Every factor was looked at for 40 cities across the UK. To calculate the overall best location to make friends, each factor was scored out of 10 before taking an average for each location.

Additionally, we conducted a survey of 2,000 UK respondents asking how many friendships they currently have and how long on average they have known each other.