London is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in the M25. Still by far and away the most popular city for recent graduates, it’s the UK’s hub of business, industry and creativity.
But we’re all aware of its downsides. Congestion, pollution and dizzying house prices have made the capital an increasingly impractical home for those looking to start their careers. So here are 5 alternative cities for life after uni.
Manchester is a city in flux. Over the last few years, young people have been moving to the Warehouse City in their thousands. Thanks to its excellent transport links and affordable housing, it’s a perfect option for those looking to get out of London.
Manchester has excellent opportunities in design, advertising and digital marketing and boasts a strong commercial centre. There’s a thriving cultural scene too thanks to recent renovations to the HOME Arts Centre and the Whitworth Gallery. Throw in a buzzing sport and nightlife heritage and Manchester is hot on London’s heels.
North of the border, Edinburgh is attracting more and more new graduates. The birthplace of Skyscanner, the city is enjoying a boom in technological innovation with hundreds of start ups setting up shop. More flexible and open than London’s competitive tech community, Edinburgh offers a great alternative for new graduates.
Edinburgh itself is small, with a population of roughly half a million. And while house prices are expected to rise over the next 5 years, the city boasts a rich and varied culture. As well as stunning architecture and world class museums, it’s home to the world’s largest arts festival – the Edinburgh Fringe.
The UK’s second city, Birmingham is growing a reputation as a focal point for Britain’s financial sector. With Deutsche Bank and HSBC expanding their operations there in recent years, Birmingham offers exciting opportunities for graduates looking to move into the industry. There are also great prospects in manufacturing and engineering.
One of the most diverse cities in the UK, Birmingham has an electric cultural scene. Its picturesque canals offer a sleepy alternative to the bustle of the city centre and graduates can enjoy a wealth of galleries, museums and even a symphony hall.
Famous for more than mustard and Delia Smith, Norwich is fast becoming a go to spot for graduates. One of the largest insurance centres in Europe, it also offers strong work opportunities in energy, engineering, food and agriculture. This fine city is also enjoying a cultural renaissance with affordable studio space and dozens of buzzing independent galleries and venues.
Though connectivity to London can be a problem, house prices are much more appealing with flats available for an average of £160,000. A quieter alternative than some of the other options on the list, Norwich still boasts great nightlife and a wide selection of theatres, cinemas and markets.
The second most populated city in the south of England, Bristol draws in thousands of graduates each year. Top industries include engineering (Isambard Kingdom Brunel anyone?), aerospace and tech. In fact, the Bristol & Bath tech cluster currently turns over £8 billion, making it the most productive cluster in the country.
Though property prices are rising faster in Bristol than in London, it still offers a cheaper alternative to the capital. And graduates can enjoy its truly unique culture. Home of Gloucester Road, the UK’s longest strip of independently owned shops, Bristol boasts first rate theatres, museums and even the odd Banksy.