The Best Locations to Raise a Child

Choosing the right location for children to grow up in can make all the difference in their formative years. 

To help you make the right decision for your family, CIA Landlords have researched the best locations in England to raise a child. We ranked locations around the country based on various important factors, including the number and quality of schools available, average rent prices, and the average cost of preschools. 

If you’re considering a fresh start with your family or simply planning ahead for the future, our findings will guide you towards the perfect city for your children to thrive. We’ll also highlight which areas to avoid, so you can make an informed decision and create the best possible environment for you and your child.

Warrington is the best place in England to raise a child

Our ranking revealed Warrington is the best place to raise a child in England, thanks to an impressive number of high quality schools and very affordable costs. 

Despite only having a population of 211,227 – 19% of whom are children under 16 – Warrington boasts 88 schools, with a fantastic ratio of one school per 461 children. Even more impressive is the fact that 98% of these schools are classed as either good or outstanding, meaning children are guaranteed an excellent education here. 

As for costs, a 3-bed flat outside of Warrington’s centre will set you back just £800 per month on average, making it one of the most affordable locations for renting. Families with younger children also don’t need to spend too much for their little ones’ early learning here, as the average monthly cost for preschool is £910 per child. While this may seem like a lot of money, it’s actually a very reasonable price compared to many other places we looked at. 

Sunderland ranks as the second best place in England to raise a child, with cheaper average rent and preschool costs than Warrington (both £700 per month) but a slightly lower percentage of good or outstanding schools available (91%). However, Sunderland does also boast the lowest school to children ratio, with only 440 children per school.

Sunderland is followed by Kingston upon Hull in third, where families can enjoy the lowest rental costs of all locations we analysed at just £627.50 per month on average. There are, however, fewer schools available with only one per 572 children, and slightly less of them (90%) are classed as good or outstanding.

The top 10 best locations in England to raise a child

Rank Location Number of children per city % of population under 16 Number of schools Ratio of school to children (1 school for every x number of kids) % of good & outstanding schools Average class size Average price of rent for a 3-bed outside of city centre Average price of preschool for 1 child (per month)
1 Warrington 40,582 19.2% 88 461 98% 30 £800.00 £910.00
2 Sunderland 51,042 18.6% 116 440 91% 28 £700.00 £700.00
3 Kingston upon Hull 56,015 21.0% 98 572 90% 29 £627.50 £906.67
4 Walsall 64,646 22.7% 122 530 88% 32 £800.00 £1,050.00
5 Stoke-on-Trent 55,457 21.5% 91 609 85% 32 £723.33 £700.00
6 Wolverhampton 58,732 22.2% 110 534 88% 30 £1,000.00 £1,100.00
7 Bradford 132,488 24.2% 209 634 83% 31 £825.00 n/a
8 Blackpool 26,220 18.6% 44 596 86% 29 £696.67 £666.67
9 Wigan 64,341 19.5% 129 499 91% 23 n/a £1,200.00
10 Milton Keynes 65,980 22.9% 114 579 89% 29 £1,357.14 £1,152.73


Portsmouth and London rank as the worst spots in England for raising a child

Portsmouth ranks as the worst place in England to raise a child, primarily due to scoring very poorly across education metrics.

There are just 61 schools in Portsmouth, which works out as 644 children per school. This also means very large class sizes, with an average of 44 students per class – higher than any other city we looked at. Additionally, only 80% of schools in this city are rated good or outstanding, which means one in five are struggling to meet expected educational standards. 

Costs are also on the higher side in Portsmouth, with rent averaging £1,362.50 per month and monthly preschool costs averaging £1,000. However, these costs are still far cheaper than in the second worst city on the list, London, where both rent (£2,458.87 per month) and preschool (£1,553.41 per month) are much more expensive than anywhere else in the country. 

London does fare better when it comes to education, however, with 94% of its schools rated as good or outstanding.

The 10 worst locations in England to raise a child

Rank Location Number of children per city % of population under 16 Number of schools School to children ratio (1 school for every x number of kids) % of good & outstanding schools Average class size Average price of rent for a 3-bed outside of city centre Average price of preschool for 1 child (per month)
1 Portsmouth 39,280 18.99% 61 644 80% 44 £1,362.50 £1,000.00
2 London 1,791,699 20.37% 2,491 719 94% 30 £2,458.87 £1,553.41
3 Dudley 64,602 19.96% 107 604 78% 32 n/a £1,033.33
4 Bristol 87,087 18.49% 153 569 84% 32 £1,380.95 £1,197.14
5 Southend-on-Sea 36,006 19.94% 52 692 88% 33 £1,466.67 £1,158.00
6 Reading 34,515 19.93% 60 575 87% 32 £1,412.72 £1,337.50
7 Luton 55,626 24.74% 70 795 89% 30 £1,533.33 £1,494.44
8 Southampton 46,848 18.95% 76 616 84% 30 £1,121.43 £1,100.00
9 Swindon 48,862 20.91% 88 555 81% 30 £1,025.00 £1,266.67
10 Leicester 81,991 22.40% 113 726 83% 34 £900.00 £875.00


Preschool costs almost £300 more per month than rent in Kingston upon Hull

Finding affordable housing can be a challenge. But in some locations around the country, families face an even greater challenge in the form of early education costs.

Our research found that full-time private preschool costs on average £279.17 more per month than rent in Kingston upon Hull, which is the biggest price disparity we found. Walsall is next, with preschool costing £250 more per month than rent, followed by Swindon where it costs on average £241.67 more per month. 

While all 3 to 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 free hours of early education annually, this works out as only 15 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year. For parents who need more support, or seek higher quality education for their children, they will have to grapple with the difficult decision of balancing their child’s education against the cost of housing.

Locations where preschool is more expensive than rent

Rank Location Average price of rent for a 3-bed outside the city centre Average price of preschool for 1 child (per month) Cost difference between rent and preschool
1 Kingston upon Hull £627.50 £906.67 £279.17
2 Walsall £800.00 £1,050.00 £250.00
3 Swindon £1,025.00 £1,266.67 £241.67
4 Newcastle upon Tyne £822.22 £975.00 £152.78
5 Derby £867.50 £1,000.00 £132.50
6 Warrington £800.00 £910.00 £110.00
7 Wolverhampton £1,000.00 £1,100.00 £100.00
8 Birmingham £1,120.83 £1,204.21 £83.38
9 Nottingham £915.00 £990.00 £75.00
10 Liverpool £884.62 £936.25 £51.63


Renting to families with children 

Renting out property to families with children comes with a specific set of challenges and rules for landlords to be aware of. To guarantee a smooth rental experience for both you and your tenants, here are some important things to keep in mind.

  • Check local housing laws: Familiarise yourself with regulations regarding renting to families with children. Though refusing tenants based on familial status isn’t technically illegal in the UK, it could be considered discrimination under the Equality Act.
  • Be transparent with rental policies: This includes providing information about any restrictions, rules, or regulations related to children, such as limits on the number of occupants or noise restrictions.
  • Document property conditions: Prior to move-in, thoroughly document the condition of the property through written and visual records. This helps protect both parties and avoids disputes over damages that may arise during the tenancy (which may or may not be covered by general landlord insurance). 
  • Create a child-friendly environment: Ensure that the rental property is safe and child-friendly. This might mean taking measures such as securing cabinets, covering electrical outlets, and ensuring the absence of hazardous materials or structures that could pose a risk to children.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment for families with children not only benefits tenants, but can also attract responsible, long-term renters and contribute to a positive rental experience for both parties.

Methodology & Sources

We created an index to determine the best locations in England to raise a child, based on the top 30 most populated cities (not including London boroughs).

The metrics considered for each location were:

Each location was awarded an overall index score based on these metrics, then ranked from highest to lowest score.

Best major UK cities for bookworms

In spite of the rise of the internet and many of us being almost glued to tablets, smartphones, and laptops for work and leisure purposes, reading remains a pretty popular pastime. A recent study in 2020 found that Britain’s keenest readers tend to be older, with 34% of over 55s saying they read at least once a day, compared to 7% of the Gen Z 18 to 24-year-olds. 

When you are a true bookworm, you will want to have the opportunity to live near local libraries with amazing book collections, be able to pop into a bookstore and glaze through what you might like to buy, or even join a friendly social group where you can meet others to chat about books. 

Some places are considerably more exciting for bookworms to live in than others. To help you eager bookworms out, we at CIA Landlords have created this guide to compare the best major UK cities for bookworms. 

Image of a woman reading a book on the sofa.

London is the best UK city for bookworms, closely followed by Glasgow!

Rankings Best major UK cities for bookworms
1 London
2 Glasgow
3 Manchester
4 Belfast
5 Brighton
6 Sheffield
7 Birmingham
8 Leeds
9 Liverpool
10 Newcastle


Not only is London an amazing city full of bars, restaurants, parks, art galleries, world-famous sports stadia, and stunning tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament for you to enjoy, but it is also a great place to live for book enthusiasts. 

London came out in poll position in our research into the best major UK cities for bookworms. How? Well, it came out on top as the city with the highest number of Waterstones stores, with 10 in total. Our research also revealed that the capital has 122 thriving book clubs where you can discuss books with people from all different backgrounds in relaxing comfortable settings, what a joy. 

London boasts stunning libraries in unforgettable buildings such as the British Library, the National Art Library in the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Senate House Library.  

Glasgow has an excellent university and its streets are full of keen book lovers, in our research, it finished as the second best major UK city for bookworms. It has an amazing total of seven Waterstones stores, for instance. So, you will never be far from an enthusiastic book addict in this Scottish city, and it is a top place to live for devoted bookworms.

Liverpool and Newcastle finished in 9th and 10th place respectively, with Liverpool having only 34 public libraries and Newcastle 32. 

Belfast has the most public libraries for its population size

Rankings Number of city residents for each public library
1 Belfast 17,044 (37 public libraries)
2 Sheffield 20,0861 (35 public libraries)
3 Glasgow 23,900 (70 public libraries)
4 Newcastle 25,596 (32 public libraries)
5 Liverpool 26,520 (34 public libaries)
6 London 29,686 (325 public libraries)
7 Brighton 30,345 (20 public libraries)
8 Manchester 34,125 (80 public libraries)
9 Birmingham 41,381 (63 public libraries)
10 Leeds 43,953 (43 public libraries)


Belfast is a vibrant modern city with plenty to do and see that is brimming with culture, art, and history, whether you are just visiting or living there. The Titanic Museum and City Hall are truly sights to behold.

Our research revealed that Belfast has the most public libraries for its population – a real benefit for any bookworms living in Belfast.

Image of Belfast scenery.

Sheffield residents enjoy the second most public libraries

The major UK city with the second highest number of public libraries per its population size is Sheffield, the steel city. In the Sheffield Central Library, you can also pay a visit to the Graves Museum on the third floor and soak in its brilliant art deco collection.

Sheffield also benefits from having two flagship Waterstones stores, one is slap-bang in the city centre and the other in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre. 

London has 10 Waterstones stores 

Rankings Number of Waterstones stores
1 London 10
2 Glasgow 7
3 Manchester 3
4 Birmingham 3
5 Sheffield 2
6 Belfast 2
7 Brighton 2
8 Leeds 1
9 Liverpool 1
10 Newcastle 1


The bustling capital home to over nine million people came out on top in our research when we looked into which UK major cities had the highest number of Waterstones stores, with 10 in total! The Piccadilly Waterstones store in central London is Europe’s largest bookshop, boasting over eight miles of bookshelves. 

Brighton, Leeds, and Liverpool are great cities and each of them is home to one Waterstones store. 

London, Brighton, and Manchester have the most book club groups

Rankings Number of book club groups (on
1 London 122
2 Brighton 8
3 Manchester 8
4 Leeds 7
5 Glasgow 6
6 Birmingham 3
7 Belfast 2
8 Liverpool 2
9 Newcastle 1
10 Sheffield 0


London has by far the most book clubs on the popular social events website, with 122 book clubs on the platform currently active and running in London. is an online platform organising online and in-person events and gathering with over 50 million members. There are book groups in different neighbourhoods of London for specific genres, such as feminist and queer literature. There are also book groups that have been created for the participation of specific population groups, such as Christians, LGBTQ, and so on. 

Brighton and Manchester came in 2nd and 3rd place for this part of our research, both having eight dedicated book groups. 

Image of a book club group reading together.


Our landlord insurance experts decided to focus their research on the 10 most populated UK cities and analyse different factors to help us assess the best major UK cities for book enthusiasts. 

We gathered data on the number of residents in each city for every single public library by searching ‘public library’ on Google Maps for each city, and then dividing the total population by the number of public libraries. This tells us about the access that local residents in these major cities have to public libraries. 

We then used the Waterstones’s bookshop locator to identify how many Waterstones stores are in each city.

Lastly, we looked at the number of book club groups in each city on the well-known social events organiser platform 

We then analysed the results across all three of these areas to help us come up with a conclusion on the best major UK cities for bookworms.


The Best UK Cities to Rent with Dogs

If you’re a dog owner, you know that finding a pet-friendly rental property can be a challenge. But it’s not just about finding a place that allows dogs; you also want to make sure that the city you live in is a great place for your furry friend.

To help you out, CIA Landlords have compiled a list of the best cities in the UK to rent with a dog based on a range of factors, including the quality of parks and green spaces, the number of rental properties that allow pets, and the number of services such as dog groomers, vets and kennels.

Whether you’re a long-time resident or considering a move to a new city, our research will help you find the perfect place to rent with your four-legged friend – as well as which areas to avoid if you want to provide the best possible quality of life for you and your pet. 

London is the best city in the UK to rent with dogs, with over 2,000 pet-friendly rental properties available

London is crowned the best city in the UK for renters with dogs, boasting the highest number of rental properties that allow pets (2,213 at the time of writing), as well as the greatest number of pet shops (1.3), pet-sitters (0.4) and kennels (0.4) available per 250,000 people. 

London’s abundance of pet-sitters and kennels makes it a particularly attractive option for owners who travel often; with so many options to leave your pet in capable hands, you’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re well taken care of.

The city also received a remarkable rating of 80.4 out of 100 for the quality of its many parks and green spaces, making it an ideal location to explore with your four-legged companion.

Nottingham follows as the second best UK city to rent with dogs, offering the highest number of vets with a count of 17.9 per 250,000 people  – far higher than London’s very low 1.3 per 250,000 people. The quality of Nottingham’s parks and green spaces is also impressive at 70.5, which is still high despite being lower than London. 

In third place is Belfast, which takes the top spot for number of dog groomers at 10 per 250,000 people. The Northern Irish capital is also a great spot for anyone looking to connect with other dog owners, as they make up 40% of the population in this region.

On the downside, Belfast currently has no available properties listed as being pet-friendly – however, that doesn’t mean renting with a pet isn’t possible here. 

Landlords don’t always advertise that they’re willing to consider pets; in fact, research found that only 7% of landlords in England advertise their properties as being pet-friendly. Despite this, some may be open to negotiation for the right tenant, and may even be required to consider tenants with pets in light of new guidelines removing a blanket ban on domestic animals in rented properties. 

The top 10 best UK cities to rent with dogs

Rank City Quality of green spaces & parks (out of 100) # of vets per 250,000 people # of dog groomers per 250,000 people # of pet-sitters per 250,000 people # of kennels per 250,000 people # of pet shops per 250,000 people % of population with dogs (per region) # of dog owners # of properties allowing pets
1 London 80.4 1.3 0.6 0.4 0.4 1.3 9.00% 806,579 2,213
2 Nottingham 70.5 17.9 7.0 0.1 0.2 0.6 31.00% 99,665 19
3 Belfast 70.7 15.5 10.0 0.1 0.1 0.5 40.00% 109,908 0
4 Edinburgh 82.1 10.8 7.0 0.3 0.0 0.8 23.00% 106,948 37
5 Blackpool 66.7 11.5 9.4 0.1 0.2 0.5 27.00% 64,640 6
6 Southampton 77.8 16.2 7.1 0.1 0.1 0.4 25.00% 61,550 22
7 Cardiff 83.0 7.8 5.6 0.1 0.2 0.6 30.00% 134,186 53
8 Derby 77.1 12.9 5.5 0.1 0.1 0.4 31.00% 83,845 13
9 Bristol 73.4 10.1 2.8 0.1 0.1 0.8 28.00% 172,838 33
10 Manchester 53.5 4.4 7.0 0.1 0.2 0.8 27.00% 106,789 115

Bradford and Newport are the UK’s worst cities to rent with dogs

Bradford ranks as the worst city in the UK for renters with dogs, scoring low across the board for dog-friendliness. 

There are a low number of services and facilities for canines available across this northern city, with only 5.8 vets and 0.8 groomers per 250,000 people. The number of kennels on offer is slightly higher at 5 per 250,000, but the number of pet sitters remains low at just 2.5 per 250,000. On top of that, the city’s parks and green spaces receive a low quality score of only 42.9. 

Newport follows as the second worst city, with an even worse quality score of 41.7 for its green spaces but slightly more vets (6.5) and groomers (1.6) available per 250,000 people. At the time of writing, only one property is advertised as allowing pets in Newport – though as discussed above, this doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t more options available. 

Rounding out the bottom five cities are Southend-on-Sea, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland. 

The bottom 10 worst UK cities to rent with dogs

Rank City Quality of green spaces & parks (out of 100) # of vets per 250,000 people # of dog groomers per 250,000 people # of pet-sitters per 250,000 people # of kennels per 250,000 people # of pet shops per 250,000 people % of population with dogs (per region) # of dog owners # of properties allowing pets
1 Bradford 42.9 5.8 0.8 0.1 0.2 0.4 22.00% 65,848 3
2 Newport 41.7 6.5 1.6 0.1 0.1 0.4 30.00% 92,053 1
3 Southend-on-Sea 35.0 10.2 5.9 0.0 0.0 0.4 21.00% 62,015 6
4 Stoke-on-Trent 37.5 4.7 5.4 0.0 0.1 0.5 28.00% 104,377 13
5 Sunderland 62.5 4.5 3.0 0.0 0.1 0.3 33.00% 110,687 4
6 Birmingham 58.6 2.3 1.3 0.2 0.1 0.3 28.00% 275,613 114
7 Luton 62.5 8.7 3.9 0.0 0.1 0.3 21.00% 54,184 6
8 Birkenhead N/A 9.2 1.5 0.1 0.1 0.4 27.00% 87,821 3
9 Swansea 91.7 6.7 1.7 0.0 0.0 0.3 30.00% 90,106 4
10 Reading 78.3 7.1 3.9 0.0 0.1 0.3 25.00% 79,504 18

Renting to tenants with pets

Richard Wayman, Finance Director at CIA Landlords said: “Some landlords have been hesitant to rent their properties to tenants with pets due to the risk of property damage, which may not be covered by general landlord insurance. However, The Renters Reform Bill will now give tenants the right to request a pet in the property, which the landlord is required to consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.

“While these changes may cause some landlords to worry about the potential risks associated with renting to pet owners, they may also offer opportunities to attract a wider pool of tenants and increase rental income. Allowing tenants to have pets may also lead to higher satisfaction rates and longer tenancy durations, giving landlords long-term security.

“However, it’s important that both landlords and tenants evaluate whether the surrounding location is suitable for accommodating pets, particularly dogs and cats.”

Methodology & sources

We created an index to determine the best cities in the UK to own a dog, based on the top 30 most populated cities (not including London boroughs).

The metrics considered for each city were:

Each city was awarded an overall index score based on these metrics, then ranked from highest to lowest score.