If there is one thing 2020 has shown us, its that we don’t have to be based in a city to make our money. Remote working is increasingly being seen as the new normal in a lot of roles, especially in the UK.
In fact, the UK’s digital sector is worth £149 billion and is set to grow, as work from home has risen and more people have chased their dream of setting up a digital business.
And as we don’t have to be based in London any more, where can you work from now? After all, if you don’t want to suffer that shitty commute and overpriced rent, there must be more to life?
Well, yes there is. These are our best suggestions for places to be a remote worker in the UK.
Bristol gets all the hype, as it is very much the metropolis of the westcountry. But… If you want to enjoy that small city vibe, walking everywhere but still getting your fix of culture, Bath is awesome.
For places to work, Bath has a multitude of great remote work friendly cafes such as Society Cafe and Colonna and Hunter.
You’ll find plenty of places to enjoy a drink after work, lots of cultural events in the summer and close links to Bristol, London and the rest of the country. It really is the best of both worlds.
The downside? It can be very touristy in the summer months. And, it’s kinda expensive to live in, with rents averaging £1,700 pcm. Owch. Oh and if you’re planning to buy a house, hopefully you have a good deposit saved as Bath is one of the most expensive places to buy property in the UK.
Wanna check out Bath? Vrbo is our favourite place to find home from home style locations, similar to Airbnb but with less hidden fees or surprises.
Keeping it urban, the Scottish capital is an absolute gem of a city to live and work in. Edinburgh is one of the most vibrant places in the UK, outside of London, and is home to some of the biggest tech unicorns in the country. It’s packed full of history and culture with places like The Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, loads of museums and Holyrood Castle.
If you love the great outdoors, you’ve got Arthurs Seat just a stones throw from the city, plus the incredible beauty of the Scottish lowlands and the borders just a short ride away.
It’s not the cheapest place to live in though, with rent being fairly high. If you’re looking for an edgier vibe, and lower rent, try Glasgow which is just down the road. The UK’s second biggest city is a vibrant place to call home and a must visit for party animals.
The county of Devon actually has a couple of good places to call home if you’re looking for a good place to be a remote worker. Exeter is the more culturally vibrant city, with an airport, rail and road links to the UK and affordable rent. Plymouth, a little further down the road, is much cheaper to live in, with some affordable property relatively for the UK, and has fantastic access to the sea and the great outdoors of Dartmoor.
If you base yourself in Devon, you’ll be able to visit quaint local pubs, go surfing on some of the UK’s most awesome beaches and enjoy lots of the great outdoors.
Check out this article about the best things about living in Devon to tempt you to move.
Staying in the Westcountry, Cornwall stakes its own claim to being a great place to be a digital nomad in the UK. There is much less of a focus on the urban lifestyle, with a selection of beautiful small towns ready to welcome you. The downside is that you’re a long way from the rest of the world, with a train to London taking as long as 7 hours once you get deep into the county.
But if you’re looking for stunning views, beaches to rival the Mediterranean and a smaller community led vibe then take a look at Cornwall.
Rental prices in the nicest parts isn’t that cheap though… Falmouth, Newquay and Penzance all offer an excellent quality of life, with the sea on the doorstep and good local culture. They’re relatively expensive to rent in though.
If you want the Cornish digital nomad/remote work lifestyle for less money, look at towns like Liskeard, St Austell and Camborne.
When you think of the South Coast of the UK, many people imagine Brighton. But Bournemouth is actually the lesser known cousin and a great place to be a digital nomad in the UK. Firstly, the beach is far superior to Brighton, and you’ve also got good rail access to London and the rest of the country.
Rent in Bournemouth is also much lower than Brighton, but there is still a good local cultural scene and lots to do in both summer and winter. Dorset is also a county packed full of stunning landscapes and things to do, from the New Forsest to the Jurassic coast. If you don’t fancy city living in Bournemouth, take a look to small towns like Dorchester, Swanage and Bridport.
Yorkshire has many lovely cities that could tempt you, but we think Leeds is one of the most appealing. It’s culturally vibrant, big enough to have all the trappings of a modern city that you might need, but small enough that you can be out onto the Yorkshire Dales in no-time.
In fact, Leeds has even been making headlines as the new home of tech in the UK, making it very attractive for digital workers.
Leeds is also still a relatively affordable place to live and is well connected by air and rail to the rest of the UK and the world. For digital nomads in the UK, you’ll find lots of places to work from and people to connect with.
Is this one of the friendliest cities in the UK? Well, Scousers (as the locals are called) do have a reputation for being very welcoming and having a great sense of humour. As a place to base yourself as a digital nomad in the UK, Liverpool has a lot going for it.
For starters, the rent is low, with average prices well under £1000 per month for a decent apartment in the city. Cost of living is also good for the UK, and getting around is easy with plentiful public transport.
If it’s culture you’re after, Liverpool is famous for her nightlife. You’ve also got two Premier League football clubs, a branch of the Tate museums and a musical legacy the envy of cities of a similar size.
Both Cardiff and Swansea are great locations in the UK for digital nomads, thanks to their low cost of living and good connections.
Cardiff especially is a fun city with lots to do and easy connections to cities like Bristol, Birmingham and London. Culturally, you’ll find music, arts and sports to enjoy every day of the week – and the city is close enough to the valleys of South Wales that you can enjoy nature with ease.
Swansea too has lots to offer, especially with a lower cost of living. Both cities are also close to the sea, with The Mumbles a great spot for beaching and surfing.
There is more than one Yorkshire, but the UK’s largest counties make for excellent locations to enjoy remote working. With some of the most stunning natural scenery, including the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire moors not to forget the gorgeous coastline. Add into the mix a choice of vibrant cities and you can see why Yorkshire makes a great UK base for remote workers.
Many Yorkshire towns and cities are also relatively affordable, for example Leeds, Harrogate and Doncaster. Cities with the lowest rent in Yorkshire include Bradford and Huddersfield. And if you’re looking for culture and activity, there is lots to see and do in Huddersfield and cities in the surrounding areas.
OK, let’s be straight here. There are few places better in the UK, or indeed the world, than London. With tons of great co-working spaces and world class laptop friendly coffee shops, you’re never far from somewhere to lay down your laptop.
And when work is done for the day, well… You’re in London. You’ve got some of the world’s best art galleries and museums, cuisine from around the world, live music, live sport and pretty much all the trappings of arguably the world’s most vibrant city.
London is also home to the most tech startups and businesses in Europe. So if you’re hustling for clients or looking for a new opportunity, you’ll very likely find it here.
On the downside, rents are expensive, the city is busy and can be quite tiring for those not looking for the hustle bustle.
Is the UK good for remote working?
If you’re planning on coming to the UK to work as a digital nomad, you’ll be pleased to find that the infrastrucure makes it pretty easy. There is lots of free wifi in places from coffee shops to public libraries and museums.
Every mid to large city has a good selection of co-working spaces, and more are popping up all the time. Digital nomads in the UK would easily find flexible office space or hot desks for a good price. Outside of London especially, co-working memberships tend to be good value for money. Think around £100-200 per month.
The UK is also a friendly place for start-ups and digital workers, with plenty of people employed in the digital sector. And, thanks to Covid-19, it looks like the remote working sector is only set to grow.
Of course if you’re non-resident, you’ll need to check your visa status to see if you can work in the UK. The rules for remote working and workations can be a bit fuzzy but if you’re just doing some work from your laptop before heading to the nearest country walk, there should be no problem.