Wellness Hotspots

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The best UK cities for health and wellbeing

Wellness and self-care are incredibly important for living a long and fulfilling life. Without looking after ourselves, we can quickly become run down and exhausted by the daily demands and pressures that life throws at us. By ensuring that we dedicate time to recharging both mind and body, we can stave off the mental and physical exhaustion that would get in the way of us living full and happy lives.

There are many things that can contribute to a person’s overall wellness. These include environmental factors, such as breathing clean and fresh air and immersing yourself in nature, as well as keeping an eye on the way we treat our bodies, such as not filling up on junk food and making sure we get regular exercise. As wellness includes both mental and physical health, it is important to give your mind the opportunity to calm itself and relax, such as through yoga or meditation.

If you maintain a healthy wellness routine, you are more likely to feel energised and able to tackle whatever life throws at you. While a get well soon card might be a welcome distraction when you’re feeling under the weather, wouldn’t it be better to have remained healthy in the first place?

With this in mind, we wanted to investigate how easy it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and look after your wellbeing in different parts of the country. Is there a perfect place for making wellness a central part of your life? And are there certain places where wellness is that much more difficult to achieve?

Health and wellness hotspots 

We’ve looked at seven different factors across the UK’s biggest cities to find out which location is the country’s wellness capital. So, from the number of gyms and spas in the area, to local life expectancy, which city will see you living your best life?

1. Brighton. Wellness Score: 8.16

The best place in the country for wellness is Brighton, which came out top with a Wellness Score of 8.16. A popular seaside location, well known for its creative scene, Brighton is a great place to visit or live in. With a proportion of gyms, spas, vegan-friendly restaurants and yoga classes, Brighton is packed with activities that support your wellness goals.

2. York. Wellness Score: 7.40

The historic city of York takes second place with a Wellness Score of 7.40. This North Yorkshire location is not only a beauty to behold, but also has low levels of air pollution, low rates of smoking and a high average life expectancy of 81.73 years! The city is also home to a wide range of restaurants, a large proportion of which cater to a healthy vegan lifestyle.

3. Bournemouth. Wellness Score: 7.07

Another south coast city, Bournemouth takes third place with a Wellness Score of 7.07. Bournemouth performs well across the board, with a wide range of activities available that promote health and wellbeing, while also having a very high life expectancy of 81.86 years!

Our full wellness ranking of UK cities

Having looked at the best and worst cities in the country for looking after your personal wellness, check out our full ranking below. How does your home city fare?

The UK cities where people live the longest

There aren’t many indicators of wellness as important as life expectancy. The length we are expected to live is closely tied to the way we live our lives, the environment we live in, and whether we can afford to live as healthily as possible. With that in mind, we wanted to see which areas in the UK have the longest life expectancy.

1. London. Average Life Expectancy: 82.62

The city with the longest life expectancy in the country is none other than the capital, London, where the average person can expect to live to about 82.62 years. This reflects London’s very low rate of smoking, which no doubt contributes to the lengthy lifespans of the city’s residents.

2. Oxford. Average Life Expectancy: 82.34

Oxford has the second-highest life expectancy in the country. Here, residents can expect to live around 82.34 years on average.

3. Cambridge. Average Life Expectancy: 82.28

Just behind Oxford is Cambridge, where the local life expectancy stands at 82.28 years on average.

Methodology

We wanted to find out which cities in the UK are best for people who want to boost their wellness and lead healthier lives. To do this, we selected the 50 most populated cities in the UK using ONS data sourced via The Geographist.

We then collected ONS data on smoking rates and life expectancy for each area. Next, we used data from Tripadvisor to see how many vegan-friendly restaurants each city had, as well as how many spas and wellness centres were present in each city. These figures were then calculated per 100,000 people for each location so they could be directly compared against one another. 

We also found the number of gyms in each city using data from Yelp, along with the number of yoga classes in each area using data from YogaHub. Both of these figures were also calculated per 100,000 residents to allow for comparisons.

Lastly, we collected data on air quality from IQAir, recording the Air Quality Index (AQI) score for each city. Unfortunately, data was not available for every city on our list, so we had to remove several entries to ensure all cities were measured in the same way.

Once we had collected all of our data, we then combined it into a single Wellness Score out of ten that gave equal weighting to each factor. This allowed us to rank the cities accordingly and reveal the best and worst places in the country for wellness.