Should You Invest in the Dragons Den Thermostat?

We are going to investigate the thermostat that secured an investment from Dragons Den Touker Suleyman and help you decide whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

The cost of living crisis and rising energy bills are a serious struggle for landlords across the country. Ensuring your rental property is energy efficient will help both you and your tenants save money on bills. 

There can, however, be difficulties in managing your property’s thermostat in rental properties. For example, you might be wasting money heating an empty property whilst your tenants struggle to figure out how to use their often complex thermostats.

What is the Time:O:Stat?

Designed by HMO landlord, Anthony Cherry, the Time:O:Stat was designed to help landlords save money on energy bills. Tenants could still have the heating on whenever they liked but the Time:O:Stat would prevent unnecessary heating when the property was vacant.  

Anthony Cherry came onto Dragons Den with the Time:O:Stat seeking investment to help launch his new models. He managed to secure an investment of £80,000 from business tycoon Touker Suleyman.    

How does the Time:O:Stat Work?

The core feature of the Time:O:Stat is to restrict the heating when the property is unoccupied. It restricts the heating to two-hour cycles, so your tenants still have control of the heating but it is restricted to 2 hours at a time. 

There are also an array of features that landlords can set up before installation to customise the thermostats to each tenant accordingly.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Time:O:Stat?

Since leaving the den with his investment, Anthony Cherry and his product have received multiple complaints deeming his invention as ‘evil’ by tenants. 

However, since the product’s launch, it has built a loyal customer base of over 10,000 HMO and student landlords and won an award at the HMO Awards for best HMO service supplier in 2022.

Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of the products.

Pros for landlords:

  • Reduced energy bills: by limiting heating when the property is vacant, the Time:O:Stat will help landlords save money on rising energy costs.
  • Range of features: the thermostat comes with a range of features from window sensors to a countdown heater timer.
  • Simple to use and install: equipped with simple controls, the thermostat is easy to use and can be set up by an electrician in under 30 minutes.

Cons for landlords:

  • Initial investment: there is an initial upfront cost to purchase and install the thermostats across your properties.
  • Less control: compared to some traditional thermostats, you can’t remotely access the thermostat settings.
  • Not suitable for all properties: this thermostat won’t suit all property rental types as some tenants will prefer to have complete control over the heating of their homes.

Who might the Dragons Den Thermostat suit?

So, having seen both the pros and cons of the Time:O:Stat, it’s time to decide whether it is the right investment for you. Especially in the cost of living crisis we are currently facing, this thermostat could suit HMO or student rentals who typically have more frequent vacant periods and tenants with varying heating needs who would like to save some money on their energy bills.

Some landlords have sung praises of the thermostat, claiming the money they have saved on energy bills since installing the thermostat is significant. Here is a review from Northampton Student Houses.

“Very easy to install and has saved us around 50% on our HMO heating bills. Tenants are happy as they can put the heating on when they need it and I am happy as I know the heating is not running when they are not at home.”

  • Northampton Student Houses

Ultimately, if you are thinking of investing in the Time:O:Stat, communication with your tenants is key. You will want to maintain a good relationship with your tenants. Therefore it is important to reach a temperature both you and your tenant are comfortable with.

What are the drawbacks to the Dragons Den Thermostat?

Although the thermostat might suit some landlords, there are various issues you will need to consider before making this decision. 

Firstly, your tenant might not be happy about the lack of control over the heating. A core feature of the thermostat is limiting heating when the property is vacant. Does your tenant prefer complete control over the heating? If so, you might face some difficulties in making this change. It is important to communicate clearly with your tenant about any changes to their thermostat. This ensures your tenants are happy with these changes before they are made.

Do you have a HMO with tenants that have varying temperature preferences? Implementing this thermostat could lead to disagreements and frustration from your tenants.

Another feature of the thermostat is the boost function which has a limited duration of two hours. Tenants might become irritated by having to constantly put the heating on every two hours, especially in the winter.

While Time:O:Stat might be the right choice for you, there are alternatives on the market including the Nest Smart Thermostat and the Inspire Smart Thermostat which also claim to save landlords money on their energy bills.

Make Sure You Are Covered

It is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of investing in the Time:O:Stat. From saving money on energy bills to potentially causing discontent for your tenants. It is a decision that needs to be considered. It must suit both your business needs as well as your tenant’s needs.

Here at CIA Landlords, we pride ourselves on identifying the most suitable product to suit your needs and competitive prices to ensure you get the best insurance rates from the UK’s leading insurance providers.

Whether you decide to invest in the Time:O:Stat or not, we provide HMO Landlord Insurance and Student Landlord Insurance that will give you the peace of mind you need.

The ultimate guide to the new rental reform for landlords 

Are you in the know about the latest changes from the rental reform?  The UK government has announced a number of reforms to the rental market, which is set to come into effect from, well…now. 

These reforms are designed to make renting fairer and more secure for tenants. In addition, they have been drawn up to improve the quality of rented homes and to prevent any inadequate living conditions 

Before we jump in, let’s get a look at the larger picture of how many this new rental reform will affect.

How many landlords are there in the UK?

Surprisingly, there are some 383,600 landlords across the nation. Considering that there are this many landlords, it makes you realise just how many properties are under the management of landlords. 

How many landlords own more than one property in the UK?

43% of landlords own one rental property in the UK. Looking more closely at the 43%, this suggested that 20% of tenancies are represented by this majority.

So how many landlords own more than one rental property? 39% of landlords own between two and four rental properties representing 31% of tenancies and 18% of landlords own five or more. This upper bracket of landlords ultimately represents 48% of UK tenancies. 

Bearing in mind, the amount of autonomy UK landlords have over tenants’ habitable space, finance and tenancy agreement length, the government have rightly placed a firm foot in the door to bring tenants’ well-being into the frame more. 

Image of landlord finance documents.

What changes should landlords expect from the rental reform?

Getting ahead of any changes will be imperative to your understanding of how the rental reform will affect you this year and beyond. In fact, you may have already started to feel the impact of these changes and had to make adjustments yourself. 

We’ve pinpointed a few highlights that we think landlords, like yourself, would deem essential action points.

Ban on Section 21 evictions 

One such reform is the ban on Section 21 evictions, which previously allowed landlords to evict tenants without a reason. Instead, landlords are now required to provide a minimum of three months’ notice before evicting a tenant. 

New ombudsman service 

Additionally, a new ombudsman service has been established to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Pets allowed 

Unless your property is deemed ‘unsuitable or unsafe’ for a pet, you won’t be able to refuse your tenant’s pet ownership. You will still be able to find a breach in their tenancy agreement if the pet is a danger to neighbours, causing destruction or violating noise levels.  

Image of dog and cat under the bed covers.

What does the abolishment of section 21 mean for landlords?

Section 21 has been the main antagonist in many tenants’ stories of housing nightmares. With landlords being able to enforce this section previously, many tenants have been left high and dry with little or no explanation as to why. 

What’s the problem with section 21 of the Housing Act 1988? 

Section 21 is a provision that grants private landlords the power to repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants without having to prove fault on the part of the tenant. 

This is why it is commonly referred to as the ‘no-fault’ ground for eviction. However, private tenants, their representatives, and other professionals in the sector argue that this ability of landlords to end a tenancy at short notice has a negative impact on tenants’ well-being. 

Research has shown that tenants are often hesitant to assert their rights to secure repairs or challenge rent increases due to the ease with which landlords can evict them. 

Respondents to a 2018 consultation on overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector reported feeling unable to plan for the future due to housing insecurity, which has knock-on effects on children’s education and residents’ mental health.

How does the new rental reform affect Section 21 evictions?

Section 21 evictions are currently the most common way for landlords to evict tenants. However, the government has announced that they will be banned from 2023. This means that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without a reason.

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant after 2023, they will need to have a valid reason for doing so. This could include rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, or if the tenant has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement.

Reasons landlords are able to evict tenants without the use of Section 21

  • Nonpayment of rent. 
  • Lease violations: If the tenant violates significant terms of the lease, such as subletting without permission, causing damage to the property, or engaging in illegal activities, the landlord may have the right to evict.
  • Expired agreement: If the lease agreement has reached its specified end date, and the tenant has not renewed or entered into a new lease, the landlord can initiate eviction procedures.
  • Illegal activities: If the rental property is used for illegal purposes, such as drug dealing or other criminal activities, the landlord may have grounds for eviction.
  • Nuisance or disturbance: If their behaviour creates a nuisance or significantly disturbs other tenants or neighbours, the landlord may have the right to evict them.
  • Failure to maintain the property: Neglecting the property’s maintenance responsibilities and causing significant damage or deterioration, the landlord may have grounds for eviction.
  • Conversion of property use: If the tenant uses the rental property for a purpose other than what was agreed upon in the lease (e.g., turning a residential property into a commercial space), the landlord may be able to evict.

Notice periods

The government has also announced that landlords will be required to give tenants a minimum of three months’ notice before evicting them. This is an increase from the current two months notice period.

The three-month notice period will apply to all tenancies, regardless of when they were started.

Image of house keys.

What do landlords need to do in response to the Renters Reform Bill? 

Action is better than reaction in the face of the new renter’s reform bill. Landlords, take a look at these three points for starters and see how you will need to adjust your practices accordingly. 

Before you start you feel like the new rental reform is targeted at demonising landlords, just remember that with better conditions and relationships with your tenants, you’re set to establish more quality and consistent tenancy agreements that leave you feeling secure and your tenants happy. 

 Some of the key measures in the Renters’ Reform Bill include:

  • A ban on landlords using rent increases to make up for the cost of improvements.
  • A requirement for landlords to provide a minimum of energy efficiency rating of E for all rented homes.
  • A requirement for landlords to provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to tenants.

Check with your local council as to when these measures are being introduced. Each local council will have more authority over requirements and disputes between landlords and tenants. 

What do landlords need to do to protect themselves against rental reform changes?

We want you to feel secure with the new practices in place. Landlords need to be aware of the changes that are coming to the rental market, and they need to take steps to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules.

Some of the things that landlords can do to prepare for the new rental reform include:

  • Review their tenancy agreements to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules.
  • Start to build relationships with their tenants so that they can work together to resolve any problems that may arise.
  • Get familiar with the new ombudsman service so that they know how to access it if they need to.

The new rental reform is likely to have a significant impact on landlords, but it is important that they understand their rights and responsibilities under the new system. 

By taking steps to prepare for the changes, landlords can ensure that they continue to provide good-quality homes for their tenants.

What does the new rental reform say about pets?

The new rental reform in England will make it easier for tenants to keep pets in rented homes. Under the new rules, landlords will be required to consider a tenant’s request to keep a pet, and they will only be able to refuse the request if they have a good reason.

Some of the reasons that a landlord may be able to refuse a request for a pet include:

  • The pet is a dangerous breed.
  • The pet is too large for the property.
  • The property is not suitable for pets, for example, if it is a listed building.
  • The tenant has a history of letting their pet cause damage to the property.

If a landlord refuses a request for a pet, they will need to provide the tenant with a written explanation of their reasons. The tenant will then be able to challenge the decision by making a complaint to the ombudsman.

The new rules are expected to come into effect in 2023.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about pets and the new rental reform:

  • Landlords will still be able to charge tenants a pet deposit, but the deposit will be capped at £250.
  • Landlords will be able to require tenants to take out pet insurance, but they cannot charge tenants an additional fee for doing so.
  • Tenants will be responsible for any damage caused by their pets, but landlords will be required to keep the property in a good state of repair.

The new rental reform is a positive step for tenants who want to keep pets. It will make it easier for tenants to find homes that allow pets, and it will give tenants more rights if their landlords refuse their requests for pets.

If you’re concerned about the pet in question, make sure you involve your local council from the get-go. As stated before, your local ombudsman will be able to offer advice and guidance if you feel the pet in question is not compliant with the list above. 

Keeping a clear trail of communication and evidence which can be taken during your six-month visits can be of great help when presenting your case to your local council. You must be able to prove that you’ve been reasonable with your requests as well as set deadlines that a tenant is able to meet. 

Image of colourfully painted houses.

How can landlords prepare for the new rental reform?

Now is a good time to begin preparing as many of these changes are in place. Here are some tips on how landlords can prepare for the new rental reform:

  • Review your tenancy agreements. Make sure that your tenancy agreements are compliant with the new rules. This may involve updating your agreements to include new clauses, such as the requirement to consider tenants’ requests for pets.
  • Get familiar with the new ombudsman service. The new ombudsman service will be a valuable resource for landlords and tenants who need to resolve disputes. Make sure that you understand how to access the service and what it can do for you.
  • Start to build relationships with your tenants. Good communication and a positive relationship with your tenants can help to resolve any problems that may arise. Get to know your tenants and their needs, and be responsive to their concerns.
  • Make sure your properties are in good condition. The new rental reform will place a greater emphasis on landlords’ responsibilities to maintain their properties in a good state of repair. Make sure that your properties are up to standard and that any repairs are carried out promptly.

Extra steps you should take to keep in the know about The Renters Reform Bill

Even though these new steps are currently in action, that doesn’t mean they aren’t subject to change or adjustment. 

Keeping ahead of any further changes will hold you in good stead. 

  • Get professional advice. If you are unsure about how to comply with the new rules, it is a good idea to get professional advice from a solicitor or property manager.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest changes. The new rental reform is still being developed, so it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest changes. You can do this by subscribing to newsletters or following relevant news sources.
  • Be proactive. Don’t wait until the new rules come into effect to start preparing. The sooner you start, the more time you will have to make any necessary changes.

What should a landlord change in the tenancy agreement to comply with the new rental reform?

Get your tenancy agreement up to speed with the new rental reform. Remember, you always have your local council to ask if you’re unsure of the changes you need to make. 

  • Remove Section 21 evictions. Section 21 evictions are currently the most common way for landlords to evict tenants. However, the government has announced that they will be banned from 2023. This means that landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without a reason.

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant after 2023, they will need to have a valid reason for doing so. This could include rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, or if the tenant has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement.

  • Increase the notice period. The government has also announced that landlords will be required to give tenants a minimum of three months’ notice before evicting them. This is an increase from the current two months’ notice period.

The three-month notice period will apply to all tenancies, regardless of when they were started.

  • Remove rent review clauses. Rent review clauses are clauses in tenancy agreements that allow landlords to increase rent at regular intervals. The government has announced that they will be banned from 2023. This means that landlords will no longer be able to increase rent automatically.

Landlords will still be able to increase rent, but they will need to negotiate with their tenants.

  • Include a pet clause. The new rental reform will make it easier for tenants to keep pets in rented homes. Under the new rules, landlords will be required to consider a tenant’s request to keep a pet, and they will only be able to refuse the request if they have a good reason.

Some of these changes could help to protect landlords, while others could make it more difficult for them to rent out their properties.

Will the new rental reform help protect landlords?

Yes. With tenants receiving support from the new rental reform, so will landlords, as seen in the reforms highlighted below.

One of these reforms is an increase in the minimum notice period that landlords must give tenants before evicting them, from two months to three months. This change is expected to provide landlords with more time to find new tenants and avoid financial losses

Additionally, the rental reform will introduce a right-to-rent scheme, which will require landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants before renting to them. This will help to protect landlords from renting to tenants who are not legally allowed to live in the UK. 

Another significant change is the introduction of a new ombudsman service to help landlords and tenants resolve disputes effectively, avoiding costly and time-consuming legal action. 

Lastly, the rental reform will establish a new Decent Homes Standard, which will set minimum standards for the condition of rented homes. This will help to protect landlords from being held liable for damage caused by tenants and ensure that tenants have access to safe and habitable living conditions.

However, it might not all be roses. Let’s be realistic and take a glance at the challenges landlords may face with the new rental reform being put in place. 

What challenges will landlords face as a result of the new rental reform?

Unfortunately, some changes could make it more difficult for landlords to rent out their properties. Take a look at these points below and just keep them in the forefront of your mind and landlord practice as you continue on with your property business.

Abolition of Section 21 evictions will mean that tenants can only really carry out Section 9 evictions. This could make it more difficult for landlords to get rid of tenants who are not paying their rent or who are causing problems.

Look out for increased costs. The new rental reform could lead to increased costs for landlords. This could include the cost of repairs to bring their properties up to the new Decent Homes Standard, the cost of professional fees, and the cost of insurance.

How will insurance help landlords when the new rental reform measures come in?

Our insurance expert Jackie from CIA Landlords stated

“Landlords should always have the correct insurance and the reform will not change this.

When taking our insurance Landlords should always ensure that all the information provided when obtaining a quotation is correct and that the building and contents, if required, are insured for the correct amount. The Building Sum insured can be calculated using the BCIS website. We recommend calling CIA to discuss a quotation to ensure the policy will cover all the individual landlord needs”

Discuss your landlord insurance and landlord contents insurance policy with us today. We’re passionate about finding the right policy for you. Have peace of mind and request a callback today. 

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 European Cities for Fashionistas

Amazing brands, vintage and new clothing, unique stitching patterns, iconic designs, fabrics, and textures, quirky stores, staying on trend, and having a look to die for when you leave the house are factors driving fashionistas’ passion for fashion. Fashion lovers believe fashion is something that helps to truly ignite their creative juices.

Therefore, fashion enthusiasts may want to consider grasping the opportunity to go and live in a fashion-mad city that’s well-catered for them and somewhere they can feel at home. Thankfully, there are many splendorous hip and trendy European cities these days that provide bustling ideal environments for fashionistas to live out their best lives.

Our team of landlord insurance experts at CIA Landlords has carried out research and collected data on different relevant areas to help determine the best European cities for fashionistas. Continue reading to discover more.

Paris is the best European city for those with a passion for fashion

Paris is the birthplace of world-renowned luxury fashion brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton, which are all steeped in high-end fashion history and traditions. Christian Dior managed to generate revenue of a whopping 64.2 billion Euros in 2021, so it’s a Paris-based brand with a rich history that’s still booming and a hit with consumers in the modern day.

Overall, Paris came out on top in our research as the number one European city for anyone with a passion for fashion! Now, let’s discuss a bit more about how it ended up at the top of the table.

Paris came out in first place above the rest of the pack when we looked into which city had the most second-hand clothes shops. Are you a fan of wearing all things vintage and retro? If so, Paris is your go-to European city.

Likewise, if you are looking to improve your skillset and get a good opportunity to work in the fashion sector, you’ll be pleased to learn that our research uncovered Paris to be a great place to study fashion-related courses, with 46 different institutions offering fashion-related courses in the French capital.

Image of Champs-Élysées in Paris.

London and Milan came closely behind in second and third place in the overall rankings

London and Milan are also fashion capitals that any ardent fashionista should be interested in exploring.

The UK capital came in first place when we looked at data on the metric of the average monthly salary one can expect when working in the fashion industry in the city, with a nice average pay packet of £5,930 a month. In addition, we discovered that living in the UK capital city provides you with plenty of options if you are hoping to study fashion-related courses.

On top of all things fashion, London has lovely stunning scenery to explore while you gaze in awe at everyone’s stylish outfits. Why not go for a stroll around Hyde or Regent Park to stretch your legs and subtly take in people wearing the latest fashions? London is a city that oozes style, class and elegance, and it’s not one for fashion lovers to miss out on.

Milano – the fashion capital of the world?

Milan is often known as the fashion capital of the world. In fact, it’s held in such high regard as a city that’s a jewel in the crown of the fashion community that it has two fashion weeks per year instead of one like in other many other fashion-crazy cities. The research we carried out found that Milan is the third best European city for fashionistas, and being that it is home to prestigious brands like Versace and Armani, it’s not a surprise that it scored so highly.

What’s more, you’ll never be too far away from a shopping centre that you can conveniently pop into when in Milano, since in the data we collected we found that it is home to an impressive 58 of them.

Image of duomo di Milano in Milan.

Carry on reading to discover more in the breakdown of the results we found in our research into the top 20 European cities for fashionistas.

Overall rankings  Best European cities for fashionistas
1 Paris
2 London
3 Milan
4 Madrid
5 Rome
9 Brussels
10 Bucharest
11 Hamburg
12 Stockholm
13 Barcelona
14 Vienna
15 Sofia
16 Dublin
17  Munich
18  Budapest
19 Prague
20 Belgrade

Paris, Berlin, and Madrid are ideal for second-hand clothes shopping

Sustainable clothes shopping is an ingenious way of reducing your carbon footprint. Alongside taking the best choice for protecting the future of the planet, you’ll also be glad that you can get yourself some real corkers when shopping in second-hand clothes stores for your fashion needs and desires.

Everyone loves a fashion throwback. Do you love nothing more than trying on a classic retro garment that harks back to an iconic memorable time period? Well, in that case, you’ll want to find a city that has plenty of second-hand clothing shops. 

As well as getting your hands on excellent vintage clothes for bargain prices, you can also do some good for the world by purchasing second-hand items from charity shops. Providing charity shops with your custom will mean you’re giving them a helping hand during tough economic times!

Our research found Paris to have 118 second-hand clothes shops in total, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Berlin, a city well-known for its bohemian liberal urban scene, is home to 117 second-hand clothes shops, a real retro clothing hub. And Madrid isn’t only a great place to eat tapas and enjoy the Parque del Retiro, it’s a city where eager fashionistas will find 116 second-hand clothes shops. 

Image of the skyline of Berlin.

Sustainable fashion is here to stay

At a time when key brands in the fashion industry around the world are thinking about what they can do to operate more sustainably, it appears that second-hand fashion is going nowhere anytime soon. 

The data found Belgrade, Serbia on the Danube River to have the least amount of second-hand clothes shops.

                                                        Ranking City Number of second-hand clothes shops
1 Paris 118
2 Berlin 117
3 Madrid 116
4 Bucharest 111
5 London 110
6 Brussels 106
7 Rome 105
8 Barcelona 101
9 Warsaw 100
10 Dublin 100
11 Sofia 97
12 Stockholm 88
13 Prague 88
14 Milan 87
15 Budapest 87
16 Copenhagen 82
17 Hamburg 68
18 Munich 58
19 Vienna 46
20 Belgrade 21

Warsaw is the place to go for shopping centres

Shopping centres, or ‘malls’ as they prefer to call them across the pond, are places many people keen on fashion enjoy going for an entertaining leisurely trip out, with there being much more to the experience than simply buying your favourite clothes and leaving. 

Our research found the capital of Poland, Warsaw, to have the most shopping centres, 67 in total. The Polish city also boasts gorgeous architecture including palaces, castles, mansions, and churches from the gothic to the neoclassic era, something else for fashionistas to take in and be in awe of in Warsaw.

Bucharest and Paris also have a fair number of shopping centres to explore

Bucharest has a sufficient amount of shopping centres suitable for fashionistas’ needs, with 63. Average temperatures can climb up to 35C during the summer months, so you certainly need to remember your relaxing summer outfits when preparing yourself for Bucharest.

Paris has 60 shopping centres, including the Galerie Lafayette with its stunning 43 metres high art nouveau Coupole ceiling made from glass and steel. The most reputable international luxury fashion brands have stores in the majestic Galerie Lafayette shopping centre.

Ranking City The number of shopping centres
1 Warsaw 67
2 Bucharest 63
3 Paris 60
4 Copenhagen 59
5 Milan 58
6 Budapest 58
7 Sofia 54
8 Hamburg 53
9 London 52
10 Vienna 47
11 Stockholm 47
12 Berlin 44
13 Rome 42
14 Madrid 37
15 Munich 37
16 Prague 37
17 Brussels 32
18 Dublin 19
19 Barcelona 12
20 Belgrade 7

Madrid is a top city to study fashion-related courses

Perhaps if it’s truly your thing, you would like to take steps to study fashion in more depth. If so, why not take part in sewing workshop sessions, a jewellery course, learn how to apply make-up professionally, or study a fashion design or textile degree at a university in one of these fashion-transfixed European cities? 

Our research found Madrid to be the best European city in terms of the number of institutions that provide fashion-related courses, with a handy 54 providers offering them in the Spanish capital.

The metropolises of Paris and London have 46 and 41 institutions respectively offering fashion-related courses. Therefore, they are cities that also aren’t bad choices if you want to learn all about fashion design and how the modern industry functions today.

Image of the palacio real in Madrid.

Milan has prestigious world-famous fashion courses

If you’re an avid fashionista, why not try to study fashion in Milan, a city that’s a buzzing hotspot for the fashion design industry? The Istituto Marangoni provides courses on contemporary fashion that students from all over the world can apply to take part in. As a whole, Milan is home to 35 institutions providing fashion-related courses.

Ranking City The number of institutions offering fashion-related courses
1 Madrid 54
2 Paris 46
3 London 41
4 Milan 35
5 Rome 33
6 Barcelona 29
7 Warsaw 28
8 Dublin 23
9 Hamburg 20
10 Munich 20
11 Berlin 19
12 Vienna 17
13 Budapest 16
14 Sofia 15
15 Stockholm 15
16 Brussels 14
17 Bucharest 14
18 Copenhagen 13
19 Belgrade 4
20 Prague 2

The highest average monthly salary for working in the fashion industry is in London

If you’re a lifelong impassioned fashionista, then why not take it upon yourself to turn your passion into your profession and work in fashion on a day-to-day basis? You know how the saying goes, you won’t work a day in your life if you can do what you love for a living! 

We looked at the average monthly salary that individuals working in the fashion industry can expect to earn in European cities. It turns out that people in London working in the fashion industry earn on average £5,930 per month or £71,160 per year, considerably more than any elsewhere. But let’s not forget, London is an all-round pretty expensive city to live in nowadays.

Of course, ‘working in fashion’ can cover a broad scope of things. It may mean working full-time as a fashion designer, shop assistant, a ‘buyer’, someone manufacturing and making garments, or selling clothing from a brand you’ve created by yourself.

You can also earn a good living working in fashion in Brussels or Copenhagen

In Brussels, personnel in the fashion sector earn on average the equivalent of £4,721 per month, and in Copenhagen £4,266, both just behind London. So, if London doesn’t take your fancy, our research shows that you could also get decent wages working in fashion in either of those cosmopolitan European cities.

Rankings City  Average monthly salary of people working in the fashion industry (in GBP)
1 London 5,930
2 Brussels 4,721
3 Copenhagen 4,266
4 Paris 3,665
5 Milan 3,480
6 Vienna 3,310
7 Stockholm 3,249
8 Rome 3,141
9 Hamburg 3,115
10 Berlin 3,088
11 Munich 3,061
12 Dublin 2,751
13 Madrid 2,360
14 Barcelona 2,325
15 Prague 1,963
16 Sofia 1,751
17 Warsaw 1,592
18 Belgrade 1,158
19 Bucharest 1,113
20 Budapest 941


The goal of this research was to use various metrics pertinent to helping CIA Landlord Insurance determine the best European cities for fashion enthusiasts (‘fashionistas’). 

Firstly, in order to narrow down and focus our research, we selected the top 20 most populated European cities. 

We then focussed on finding data for each of the 20 most populated European cities across four different areas related to fashion

  • The number of second-hand clothes shops
  • The number of shopping centres 
  • The number of institutions offering fashion-related courses
  • Average monthly salary of people working in the fashion industry (in GBP).

We obtained data for the first three areas by searching the terms ‘second-hand clothes shop’, ‘shopping centre’, and ‘fashion course’ in ‘nearby’ in Google Maps for each of the 20 cities. This also meant we had to translate these terms into each language. For example, for ‘shopping centre’ in France, we searched the term ‘centre commercial’ in Google Maps and tallied up the number of shopping centres in the city.

To get the average monthly salary of people working in the fashion industry in each city, we used a salary finder tool and looked at average working wages in the ‘fashion and apparel’ section for each city. Since the salaries were only provided in the national currencies used in each of those cities, we had to use a currency converter tool to be able to present the information in British Pounds.

Find out which sources we used for our research below.


We used the following sources during our research process: 

The Best Commuter Towns in England for Young Families

England is a pretty small place, yet the industrial revolution led to exciting busy cities full of work springing up all over the place. As a result, today English cities such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds, to name just a few, are thriving working hubs. But not everyone likes to live and work in a bustling city environment. Many people prefer to live somewhere that’s a bit more rural and instead, commute into urban areas from commuter towns. Where you want to live can change when you become a parent and have young ones to raise and take care of.  

In addition, renting and buying homes in urban areas in England has become increasingly pricey over the past decade, and this trend has especially been felt by people living in London. In recent years, some people have therefore taken the decision to move out of cities and into commuter towns in England. 

Additional advantages of deciding to move to commuter towns besides more affordable housing also include less noise, more greenery, lower air pollution levels, lower crime rates, generally quieter locations, and more. All these factors contribute to making living in a commuter town an attractive option for young families in England who are seeking a feasible alternative to bringing up their kids in a city. 

The environment that your children grow up in is extremely important and something that will shape and mould them. Fortunately, there are vibrant commuter towns in England that offer an impressively high quality of life for young families. 

We at CIA Landlord Insurance have carried out research that draws on key statistics to try and gauge a solid data-based assessment of the best commuter towns in England for young families.

Image of mother on laptop with child at kitchen table at home.

The best commuter town in England for young families is… Maidstone!

Rankings Best commuter towns in England for young families 
1 Maidstone
2 Warrington
3 Telford
4 Basingstoke
5 Watford
6 Reading
7 Swindon
8 Luton
9 Solihull
10 Crawley
11 Blackburn
12 Chelmsford
13 High Wycombe
14 Huddersfield
15 Rotherham
16 Birkenhead
17 Northampton
18 Basildon
19 Slough
20 Gillingham

Firstly, uprooting and moving to a commuter town when you’ve previously lived in a city or even a village is a big life change for a young family to go through and a decision that mustn’t be taken lightly. 

Therefore, young families need to carry out a lot of research into the quality of life commuter towns could potentially offer them. Are the public transport links good for travelling into cities for work? Are there good local nurseries and schools locally? Parks and green spaces for the kids to let off some steam?

Our research into the top 20 commuter towns in England by population unveiled Maidstone, Kent as the best commuter town in England for young families. This picturesque commuter town with the River Medway running through its centre is handily just a 53-minute direct train journey away from London Bridge Station in central London. London Bridge Station is just a stone’s throw from ‘the city’ banking district, so this train link will be highly convenient if you happen to work on that side of London.

Maidstone is a top choice for active families

Are you an active family who loves spending quality time together doing fun physical escapades in the great outdoors? Perhaps you enjoy leading a sustainable lifestyle as a family and are concerned about the future of our planet? Well, in that case, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Maidstone came out with a near-perfect air quality index score of three, with zero being the least air-polluted a location can be.

As well as the acres of fields available for your little ones to run about in and explore in and around Maidstone, our research showed that there is also no shortage of parks, recreational fields, playgrounds, and nature reserves. The town has a total of eight legally protected green spaces – protected by Fields in Trust ‘deeds of protection’

So, if you want to live outside London and raise your young kids somewhere a bit different with considerably less pollution, crowding, expense, and more outdoor green spaces, all while having easy access to London, then Maidstone is a fabulous choice!

Image of river Medway in Maidstone, Kent.

Other great commuter towns in England

In close second place for the best commuter town in England for young families is Warrington! This North-West English town is well located for commuters, sandwiched conveniently between the bustling business hubs of the cities of Manchester and Liverpool, which are both just 20 and 27-minute train rides respectively. With low crime rates, an abundance of green spaces, and good schools, our research revealed that Warrington is a great town to raise young children. 

Telford, Shropshire, a new town built in the late 1960s in an effort to ease the overpopulation concerns of nearby Wolverhampton and Birmingham, nowadays, it’s a commuter town with over 150,00 inhabitants. Telford came in third place in our research into the best commuter towns in England for young families. Living in Telford, you’ll be able to raise your little ones in a town with low pollution levels and plenty of green spaces for them to make the most of. 

So, do not underestimate or overlook Telford as a nice English commuter town to reside in with your young family, since you could be missing a trick!

Basildon, Slough, and Gillingham finished at the lowest end of our study into English commuter towns. Yet these towns have decent local economies and are well situated, with all three being right next to the capital.

Swindon is the safest commuter town in England

Rankings Commuter towns with the lowest-highest crime rates in 2021 Crime rate per 1,000 inhabitants
1 Swindon 68
2 Solihull 72
3 Watford 72
4 Basingstoke 77
5 Warrington 77
6 High Wycombe 80
7 Reading 84
8 Luton 85
9 Telford 87
10 Crawley 93
11 Maidstone 96
12 Blackburn 98
13 Chelmsford 98
14 Rotherham 104
15 Northampton 105
16 Huddersfield 105
17 Slough 107
18 Gillingham 111
19 Basildon 127
20 Birkenhead 135

Any parents raising a young family will have security at the forefront of their minds. We thereby decided to gather data on crime rates in the English commuter towns we were looking at. 

Our findings show Swindon to be the safest commuter town in England. So, bringing your children up in this Wiltshire town, that’s also just 39 minutes from the lovely city of Bristol and 46 minutes from London by train, is pretty safe. The data we found shows the 2021 crime rate in Swindon was 68 per 1,000 (68 index offences per 1,000 inhabitants).

The town of Solihull is right on the doorstep of the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham, and it came in joint second place with Watford on safety, with a crime rate of 72 per 1,000 people. These two commuter towns neighbour England’s two largest cities, boast plenty of employment opportunities, and are safe places for young families to lay down their roots.

Image of paper chain of men joining arms and two hands.

Reading has the best schools and colleges 

Rankings Commuter towns Number of schools and colleges with ‘outstanding’ OFSTED reports (4-18-year-olds)
1 Reading 18
2 Northampton 16
3 Chelmsford 16
4 Watford 15
5 Warrington 14
6 Slough 14
7 Rotherham 14
8 Luton 12
9 Maidstone 12
10 Solihull 11
11 Huddersfield 10
12 Blackburn 8
13 Basingstoke 7
14 Swindon 7
15 Telford 7
16 Birkenhead 6
17 Basildon 5
18 Crawley 5
19 High Wycombe 5
20 Gillingham 1

Families with young ones living in a commuter town will want to be blessed with the opportunity to be able to send their children to a good school. 

With this consideration in mind, we compiled data from the OFSTED reports of primary, and secondary schools, and colleges located in each of the 20 commuter towns on our list. We specifically recorded the number of schools and colleges in the area that had been awarded outstanding OFSTED inspection reports, the highest rating the educational regulatory body gives to schools. 

The data we obtained revealed Reading to be the English commuter town with the best schools and colleges for 4-18-year-olds. An impressive staggering 18 schools and colleges in this Berkshire town were deemed to be outstanding by the latest OFSTED inspections, which are well-known for their rigorous and probing nature. 

Another benefit of  Reading is that it’s a commuter town that finds itself neatly situated on London’s doorstep, at just a mere 26-minute journey to Paddington Railway Station in the capital by train.

Northampton and Chelmsford finished closely behind in joint second, and both are home to 16 schools and colleges with outstanding OFSTED inspections respectively. 

Crawley and Wycombe

Crawley and High Wycombe are home to five outstanding OFSTED rated schools and colleges, and Gillingham has one. This means they are the three lowest for this educational performance metric. However, these findings don’t necessarily mean those three towns aren’t also good commuter towns to live in. 

There is an abundance of work opportunities available on your doorstep in Crawley, for instance owing to the proximity of Gatwick Airport. And Gillingham is an up-and-coming commuter town with great fish, just a 48-minute train away from London.

Image of children colouring in at table with felt tip pens.

Telford has the highest number of legally protected green spaces

Rankings Commuter towns in England Number of legally protected green spaces within the local authority area
1 Telford 14
2 Warrington 9
3 High Wycombe 8
4 Maidstone 8
5 Crawley 7
6 Luton 6
7 Blackburn 5
8 Gillingham 5
9 Reading 3
10 Basingstoke 2
11 Birkenhead 2
12 Huddersfield 2
13 Rotherham 2
14 Solihull 2
15 Watford 2
16 Basildon 1
17 Chelmsford 1
18 Slough 1
19 Swindon 1
20 Northampton 0

Kids love running around and having fun exploring or playing sports in parks, playgrounds, fields, and nature reserves. Young children seem to have endless amounts of energy. 

A key pulling factor that attracts young families to move out of urban areas to commuter belt towns is the opportunity to live in a community with much more green spaces. In order to conserve green public spaces such as parks for future generations, someone has to fight their corner and protective legislation must be in place. Putting deeds of protection on parks, fields, playgrounds, and nature reserves in Great Britain is exactly what Fields in Trust fights for. 

So, we collected data on the number of legally protected green spaces by the Fields in Trust for each of the 20 commuter towns in our research. It transpires that Telford, Shropshire is the commuter town with the most legally protected green spaces, being home to a total of 14. Therefore, if it’s plenty of green space for your kids to enjoy that you’re after, Telford is a commuter town in England for you to seriously consider looking at.

Other green commuter towns

There are indeed other commuter towns in England offering an excellent array of green spaces and parks for young families to make the most of. Warrington finished in second place with nine legally protected green spaces in its local authority area, and High Wycombe and Maidstone came in joint third with eight.

Image of green park and trees.

Maidstone has the best air quality!

Ranking Commuter town AQI air pollution rating (0-500)
1 Maidstone 3
2 Swindon 8
3 Telford 9
4 Birkenhead 12
5 Basingstoke 14
6 Huddersfield 14
7 Basildon 18
8 Crawley 19
9 Chelmsford 20
10 Blackburn 21
11 Solihull 24
12 Watford 25
13 Rotherham 29
14 Luton 32.3
15 Warrington 33
16 Slough 33
17 High Wycombe 35
18 Reading 37.25
19 Northampton 45
20 Gillingham  47

Many English cities have highly concentrated populations, and some undeniably have ongoing problems related to excessive levels of air pollution. Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable that some parents may decide to raise their families in a location with better air quality, which tends to be the case with commuter towns compared to city areas. 

We collected data on each of the 20 commuter towns’ AQI ratings (Air Quality Index). AQI is a measurement with a 0 to 500 scale, and the higher the AQI, the greater the level of air pollution, which comes with enhanced health risks. An AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, and a value beyond 300 represents hazardous air quality. 

The stats we unearthed found Maidstone, Kent to have the best air quality out of the 20 commuter towns we looked at, with an almost perfect value of three (as recorded on 16th January 2023). So, looking for a sensible alternative to the big smoke with better air quality for your young family? If so, Maidstone could be a great option for you.

Swindon and Telford

Also, the data we found for this metric showed that Swindon and Telford have low air pollution levels and good air quality ratings, and the towns scored eight and nine respectively, finishing in second and third place. The data we looked at across the board supports the idea that there are low air pollution levels in commuter towns in England.


We picked the 20 most populated commuter towns in England and then used relevant data to help us determine the best commuter towns in England for young families. The goal of our research was to help young families make informed choices about the best places to live outside urban areas.

Our research drew on data across four key areas. These key areas included local crime rates, school OFSTED assessment reports of primary, and secondary schools, and colleges, the number of legally protected green spaces protected by the Field in Trust organisation, and air quality (AQI) levels. We looked at data on these specific areas because they are all factors that play a significant role in making up the minds’ of young families when they are considering which commuter town in England they want to move to. 


Here are the sources which provided us with the data we used to carry out our research into the best commuter towns in England for young families.