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.


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