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Despite being the most culturally rich, well-connected and economically prosperous of the British cities, London isn’t for everyone. With increased investment in regional cities, particularly those in the north, there are plenty of other places to put down roots and not feel like you’re missing out

1. Leeds

Though Manchester may be the best known northern English city on the world stage, ever-rising Leeds has much to offer. The Yorkshire city’s largest industries are financial and business services, yet it fosters a substantial creative arts economy, too. Thanks to massive regeneration over the last decade, the city centre ranks among the country’s most exciting, with high-end shopping alongside world-class dining.

Average house price: HK$2.5 million

Selling point: A bustling, well-connected urban centre within easy reach of greenery

Good to know: Leeds is Britain’s largest financial centre outside London

Schools: The Grammar School at Leeds is Yorkshire’s leading co-educational independent day school

2. Edinburgh

History and culture collide in the endlessly photogenic Edinburgh, the Scottish capital centred on a world-famous castle and famed for its annual Festival Fringe, which spotlights the talents of thousands of creative artists and performers. With easy access to nature, an abundance of museums and galleries, a vibrant creative scene and four universities, the friendly and forward-thinking city exudes youthful energy while holding appeal for all ages.

Average house price: HK$3.47 million

Selling point: The compact nature of the city makes it easy to navigate without a car

Good to know: Outside London, Edinburgh boasts the strongest economy and highest average salary of any British city

Schools: Fettes College (co-ed) and Merchiston Castle School (all-boys) are the two highest ranked independent schools in Scotland

3. Brighton

Britain’s most environmentally friendly and inclusive city, Brighton is known for its blooming creative arts scene and thriving LGBTQ community. Despite its reputation for hedonism, the trendy seaside city is a welcoming and stable place for families, with lots of child friendly activities and the South Downs National Park only a short journey away.

Average house price: HK$5.1 million

Selling point: Brighton’s seaside lifestyle combined with its being a 50-minute train journey from London make it an attractive option for families in an era of partial working from home

Good to know: The city is trialling what is believed to be the first commercial use of a hydrogen fuel-cell in buses

Schools: The historic Brighton College has been named one of the UK’s “schools of the decade” by national newspaper The Sunday Times

4. Birmingham

Often conjuring images of endless concrete pre-2000, Birmingham has since been re-energised by extensive revitalisation, becoming the first hub for the HS2 high-speed rail project that will link London with other major cities. The UK’s “second city”, made globally famous by TV drama Peaky Blinders, is developing a HK$194 million TV and film production hub to boost its creative industries.

Average house price: HK$2.5 million

Selling point: Recognised as a “Tree City of the World” by the UN, it is home to more parks than any other European city

Good to know: The city will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Schools: The city is home to the King Edward VI network of independent and academy trust (non fee-paying) schools, which rank among the nation’s very best institutions

5. Bath

A short journey from the major city of Bristol, Bath may take life at a steadier pace than its neighbour but this doesn’t mean it is boring. Stunning architecture defines this former Georgian pleasure town, whose iconic stone crescent houses are some of the UK’s most sought-after real estate. Despite the spa city’s careful historic preservation and location bordering the bucolic Cotswolds, technology and software firms power Bath’s economy.

Average house price: HK$6.9 million

Selling point: There’s no city more likely to make you feel like you’re living in a Jane Austen novel. Or Bridgerton

Good to know: The residential and commercial development Bath Quays will create up to 2,700 new jobs

Schools: Top independent and boarding schools abound in East Somerset

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