The word ‘friendly’ might not instantly come to mind when you think of some of the busiest cities in the world, but with all those people comes a lot of good. We asked our social audience of 1.5 million people “where you would find the friendliest cities in the UK?”
From how easy the city is to navigate or strangers helping you find your way when that pesky roaming data doesn’t work to making new best friends in a local bar, these are the cities across the globe where you’ll be made to feel the most welcome.
Brexit might be giving Britain a bad rep, but the top cities are more than making up for it with their warmth and helpful attitude…
The friendliest cities in the UK in 2019
Belfast residents are getting a pretty bad placement here, officially crowned the unfriendliest city in the UK. We’re guessing the low scores came from people smack bang in the middle of the potential border line…
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Don’t make eye contact with anyone on the tube here, say ‘sorry’ a hundred times and you’ll fit right in. London can seem stand-offish on first impressions, say our readers, but locals can be polite – at times!
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While the main areas in Bradford have their charm, visitors noted that wandering off the beaten track is ill advised for non-locals.
Locals working in the tourism industry are welcoming to visitors, while those who aren’t will simply leave you to it. Overall, locals won’t go too far out of their way to help a stranger.
Bristol might consistently rank highly when it comes to environmentally-friendly cities, but when it comes to people it’s a different story. Bristol’s cultural hub and its tourist-friendly initiatives are helping the city big time, but overall its reputation has some catching up to do.
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Norwich locals aren’t exactly rude, per se, but the overall indifference towards strangers can take its toll. Ignoring people isn’t exactly a trait that will put it among the friendliest cities in the UK.
Sheffield has fiercely proud locals who love where they’re from. However, that proudness can often be mistaken for arrogance towards outsiders. It also takes a long time be accepted as true local in Sheffield, not just a blow-in.
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This historical industrial city likes to think of itself as friendly, but our readers disagree. While locals aren’t rude, it’s more of a “polite but unfriendly” vibe. Sorry, Leeds.
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Gloucester might be small but that doesn’t exactly translate as neighbourly. Is it Gloucester’s (possibly misjudged) reputation as boring what makes our readers think of it as unfriendly? Unfortunately it’s ranked as one of the least friendly cities in the UK.
There’s no mistaking Sunderland for having overt friendliness, but locals are generally mellow enough. It’s not the sort of place where strangers will strike up a conversation when waiting in line, but people will help you out. It’s more of a friendly indifference towards others.
Coventry residents are polite, reserved and generally nice, but outright friendly? Not so much. They have somewhat of a reputation for being aloof, but people will hold the door open for you and say hello.
It’s not the most culturally vibrant city, but local open mic nights and community events are helping to bring people together. People might not instantly become your best buddy here, but the younger generation are especially warm to strangers.
Cardiff is a friendly place if – and emphasis on if – you’re local. While that’s all well and good for Welsh residents and their good neighbourly vibes, it can mean that visitors might feel like they don’t quite fit in and are unwelcome.
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There’s plenty of historical landmarks in Lancaster, so while it might be somewhat isolated, tourism plays a huge part of the economy here. Residents are eager to welcome outsiders, but it might take a while to really have a feel for the town.
You won’t be invited into someone’s home for tea, but they’re nice. There’s light-hearted banter between the various suburbs, with a positive attitude towards tourists and other visitors.`
Cambridge is a popular spot on many tourist itineraries and has the potential to be a consistent winner for city breaks. Its tourism industry means that locals are quite eager to welcome visitors, with a community vibe.
Stoke-on-Trent is a city that has plenty of things to do and see, yet still feels like a cosy small town. Residents here are genuinely warm and friendly, with a great hospitality scene. It’s no wonder it’s been voted one of the friendliest cities in the UK.
The so-called “Cathedral City” is a city full of history and charm, but the people in Armagh are also what makes it stand out as one of the must-visit cities in Northern Ireland. Locals have a great sense of humour and you’ll be greeted warmly wherever you go.
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The growing diversity in Chester is adding even more of a welcoming and friendly atmosphere to the state. While some people might see it as quite traditional and wary of strangers, it’s not the case.
The UK’s most central city, Derby locals here are good-mannered, eager to help and friendly to both other locals and visitors alike. People will say ‘hi’ just about anywhere: the supermarket or even when stopped at a red light.
This historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site’s low-crime rate and general friendliness of locals make it a popular city to move to, and our readers seem to agree.
People from Dundee are famously friendly, so you’re sure to be made to feel right at home here. Dundee is a wonderfully vibrant and social place to be, and is also rated one of the most up-and-coming LGBTQ+ friendly major cities in the country.
Worcester locals are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you’re likely to meet on your travels across the UK. There’s a chilled out pace of life here that lends itself to a warm atmosphere.
Visiting South Wales? You’ll be fairly impressed with Newport. The port city is a Welsh gem where people have good manners, a tight-knit sense of community and a fun attitude.
Just pipping Newport to the post and flying the flag for Wales is Swansea, the second-largest city in Wales. People here are incredibly warm and the hospitality here is unbeatable. You’ll ask for directions and end up being personally shown there.
This city in the heart of Essex is a surprisingly beautiful place to visit. If you’re friendly, then everyone you meet in Chelmsford will be friendly to you. Stick to that golden rule and you’ll see that it is one of the friendliest cities in the UK.
Right from the moment travellers arrive, Inverness exudes a welcoming atmosphere that continues everywhere in the city itself. It’s beautiful and is a safe city for travellers. Plus, with friendly locals, it’s simple to make connections with people here.
Chichester in West Sussex is surrounded by beautiful countryside, sandy beaches, fishing villages and incredibly nice residents. The people here are genuinely helpful and will give you directions, tips for local places to eat and more.
People here really are friendly, and not in an annoyingly nosy way. Hereford lives up to its Midlands reputation for warm hospitality and a genuine openness towards strangers.
As soon as you step foot here, Salisbury exudes a welcoming atmosphere that continues everywhere in the city itself. It’s modern and is a hugely safe city for travellers. In fact, Salisbury is the ‘best place to live in the UK‘, so it’s no wonder people are nice as pie.
Aberdeen is a student-friendly city with a young and vibrant population. It’s popular on the tourist trail, so the tourism industry here is strong, with residents making the country proud with their attitude towards visitors.
One thing that surprises most out-of-towners about Leicester is how friendly the people are here. Locals are polite as can be and will welcome you as one of their own. No wonder it’s voted among the friendliest cities in Europe!
People in Plymouth will tell you their entire life story before you’ve even had the chance to say ‘hello’. They’re nice and tend to actually be interested in what strangers have to say – there’s no fakeness here.
Durham folk are down-to-earth and willing to help, without expecting anything in return. Their openheartedness towards strangers makes the city such a beautiful place to visit. Our readers scored the state highly on its community vibe.
A vibrant city in the West Midlands, this one of the friendliest cities in the UK. People here are always keen to strike up conversation and will look after their own community no matter what. They’re equally nice to visitors, too.
While Edinburgh doesn’t rate as highly as Glasgow, Scots are still holding their own in this easy-to-navigate city. Our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured Scot will help you out.
Check out the most Instagrammable spots in Edinburgh here
In Portsmouth, you’ll quickly find that people are nice no matter what. Whether you’ve been born and raised here or are just passing through, locals will treat you with the same kind attitude. Residents have a particular kind of friendliness that will make you want to move here immediately.
Kingston-upon-Hull (or just ‘ull, as you’ll more likely find yourself calling it) has a charming vibe with a large community of locals and expat residents who make the city welcoming for all. It’s a great place for families too, with lots of kid-centric activities.
Strangers treat other strangers with warmth and respect here, so visiting as a tourist is a great experience. Exeter might be small, but its progressive atmosphere makes it an enjoyable city to visit, with some of the friendliest people in England to boot.
Birmingham is a melting pot of many cultures and the neighbourhoods in each suburb have a community feel. Its multicultural vibe makes it a brilliant city to either visit or live in as a foreigner, as you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
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The city is a melting pot of people from all over the country, which is a highlight. It’s a compact city with great transport, making it extremely visitor-friendly. Nottingham is full of vibrant, forward-looking communities filled with engaged and friendly people.
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Southampton has previously been voted among Britain’s safest cities, and now it can claim the title of one of the friendliest cities in the UK. Our readers scored it highly on first impressions, putting it firmly in the Top 10.
While a lot of people can pass Derry by on their way to see other parts of Northern Ireland, this city is a cultural hub with a rich history. Locals are quite keen to share their traditions and city highlights with newbies, so expect to be shown all the best places.
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Having become somewhat of a must-visit destination in recent years, Brighton is a charming seaside city to visit. Locals are friendly and helpful towards tourists. The city is also super LGBTQ+ inclusive, with one of the best Pride events in Europe.
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One of the best cities to live in the UK for social vibes, Liverpool has a cosmopolitan vibe with a large community of locals and expat residents who make the city welcoming for all. Liverpudlians are generally some of the friendliest people in the world, with our readers certainly agreeing.
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People from Bath are generally some of the friendliest people in the world, with our readers certainly agreeing. It’s popular on the tourist trail, so the tourism industry here is strong, with residents making the country proud with their attitude towards visitors.
One of the friendliest cities in England is Manchester, thanks to its exuberant vibe and a multicultural mix of residents. It’s an easy city to find your way around, with plenty of bars and social spots where you will find yourself chatting to locals.
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York locals go above and beyond to make you feel welcome here. People here greet you with smiles and warmth everywhere, from grocery stores to the street. Our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured local will help you out.
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Consistently voted one of the friendliest cities in the world, Glasgow makes Scotland proud with its attitude towards strangers and tourists. Its warm and welcoming community add a real buzz to the city, making it a popular city break destination.
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And the winner out of all the friendliest cities in the UK? Newcastle takes top spot thanks to its lively locals, engaging social scene and ease of access for first time visitors.
It’s family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. The atmosphere in the Newcastle and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.
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