Being single in a big city is a complex experience, which can be both exhilarating and lonely, depending on your outlook and circumstances. It also goes without saying that it's financially tougher out there on your own. Whether you are happily single by choice, or actively looking for love (again), a good place to live should be a good balance between fun things to do on your own and opportunities to meet people and feel like you're a part of a community. Living in a nice house of flat is also a major factor (yes, single people also like domestic comforts).
We present you with our pick of the best places to live in the UK if you are single, taking into account the quality of social life, the percentage of singletons, and the living cost to salary ratios. So, if you're not attached to any particular place, these are great options to consider.
Looking to rent in your city of choice? Consult our beginner's guide to renting.
Manchester: affordability and a great singles scene
Manchester has a long and proud history of a diverse and rich social life – think everything from night clubs to art galleries, and an amazing LGBT community. And – Manchester has a young and dynamic population, with new influxes of students and young professionals every year, and over half (55 per cent) of its residents single. The hip Northern Quarter is a particularly welcome hang-out spot for singletons, with easy-going cafes and restaurants that aren't just full of couples. Add to all of this Manchester's affordability for renters – a one-bed flat in city centre will set you off an average of £720 per month – and it emerges as a top contender for single living.
London: great career opportunities and tons of action
One of the best things about the UK's capital is that it's a city that welcomes everyone, and anyone can find their own niche in its vast offering of lifestyles, jobs, and hobbies. It is true that London rents are punishing – a whopping average £1,650 per month for a one-bed in central areas – but there's some good news in terms of salaries (£34,000 per annum on average) and opportunities for career progression.
Want to go out for dinner on your own? No one will bat an eyelid. Want to be with other people? The world's your oyster, with all sorts of activities, from volunteering to group knitting to social dancing waiting for you to try them out. London hasn't got as many single people as other cities on our list (just over 30 per cent), but they tend to be easier to connect with via the many groups and hobbies London has to offer. Plus, it's one of the best places to live in the UK for sunshine!
Cambridge: small but plenty of chances to socialise
Cambridge may be small, but it has a great social scene, with lots of restaurants and historic pubs. And thanks to Cambridge University, there is never a shortage of interesting people to chat to (contrary to popular belief, the university types don't sit in the library all day, but love socialising) over a pint or cuppa. There is also a good number of local singles groups (opens in new tab) that meet regularly. Besides, Cambridge is a very pretty place to live, even if it's not the cheapest, with an average rent of £945 per month for a one-bed flat.
Glasgow: laid-back city but very active on dating apps
Glasgow is one of the coolest places to live in the UK regardless of your relationship status, but it is particularly welcoming toward singletons – almost half of Glaswegians (49 per cent) are single. And not only are they single, but they date, and by some estimates are more active on dating apps than people in any other UK city. Which is not to say that you have to do the dating thing if you don't feel up for it. The beautiful West End area of Glasgow has plenty of cafes, bars, and galleries that are laid-back and perfect for spending afternoons reading or people watching. Salaries in Glasgow may not be very high (£26,000 on average), but with a very forgiving average of £600 per month for a one-bed, is perfectly affordable for a single person.
Already eyeing up properties in one of these cities? Don't commit until you've read our advice on what to ask a landlord before renting.