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Relaxing Cities

The most relaxing cities in the UK

Relaxation is vitally important. It allows us to switch off for a while and forget about money, jobs, relationships and all our other day to day worries.

We all have our own ways of switching off and relaxing, whether it’s listening to music, cooking, or taking a long soak in the bathroom.

If you live in a city, you’ll know they aren’t necessarily the most relaxing of places, but that’s why it’s even more important that you take the time to try and achieve something of a zen atmosphere, whether that’s with a spa break, chilling in the park with a book, or booking a yoga class.

We’ve looked at these factors and more to define which parts of the UK truly are the best places for switching off.

The UK's Most Relaxing Cities Top 3

1. Norwich

Taking the top spot is Norwich, the county town of Norfolk and the largest city in East Anglia. Norwich scored so highly due to a number of factors, including the number of dog-friendly spas and swimming pools and low levels of air pollution. Known for its quaint medieval architecture and for being amongst the happiest and best places to live and work in the UK, perhaps it’s not surprising that the city ranks so highly!

2. Luton

In second is Luton, one of the country’s biggest towns yet to be awarded city status. Luton was the top-scoring place when it came to two different factors, its number of spas and yoga instructors, benefitting from the fact that the town is located just 29 miles away from London.

3. Reading

Another town that isn’t too far from London if you’re after a spa break or a spot of yoga is Reading, Berkshire. Reading scored highly for its number of nearby yoga instructors, dog-friendly spas, and low air pollution levels and is a popular place to live with workers from London who don’t fancy the hustle and bustle of the capital.

The UK’s most relaxing city for…

Relaxing Cities Nearby Spas

Nearby spas - Luton (30.44 per 100,000 people)

A trip to the spa is a perfect way to destress, and the place that has the most in close proximity (in comparison to its population) is Luton. As well as the likes of the famous Luton Hoo country house, other spas in the local area include Bannatyne Luton and Champneys Henlow Grange.

Relaxing Cities Nearby Dog Friendly Spas

Nearby dog-friendly spas - Norwich (6.33 per 100,000 people)

Just when you thought a spa day couldn’t get any better, there are also many spas that will allow you to bring your furry best friends along for the day too. The city that had the highest proportion of nearby dog-friendly spas was Norwich, with nine in total and 6.33 for every 100,000 people.

Relaxing Cities Green Spaces

Green spaces - Stoke-on-Trent (8.61 within 1,000 metres on average)

Public parks and other green spaces are the ultimate relaxation spaces, allowing you to experience a slice of nature without leaving the city. The place where green space is the most accessible to residents is Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, where the average person has 8.61 such spaces within a 1,000-metre radius and is located in a green belt area.

Relaxing Cities Air Pollution

Air pollution - Brighton and Hove (26.4 out of 100)

One of the worst things about living in a big city is the sheer amount of traffic, all of which pollutes the air and can have negative effects on your health and leave you feeling run down. The city on our list with the lowest levels of air pollution is Brighton and Hove, with a score of 26.4 out of 100 on Numbeo’s Pollution Index.

Relaxing Cities Population Density

Population density - Aberdeen (1,234 people per sq km)

It might sound a bit cold, but sometimes one of the least relaxing things can be other people! Living in a bustling city can be exciting, but being surrounded by people all the time can also be stressful. Of the 30 most populated towns and cities in the country, Aberdeen has the lowest population density, with 1,234 people for every square kilometre.

Relaxing Cities Nearby Swimming Pools

Nearby swimming pools - Cardiff (5.69 per 100,000 people)

Exercise of all types is a good way to boost your mental health and but swimming is particularly therapeutic, especially when combined with a trip to the sauna or steam room. The city that had the highest density of nearby swimming pools was Cardiff, with 5.69 per 100,000 people, including the Cardiff International Pool and Gym.

Relaxing Cities Nearby Yoga Instructors

Nearby yoga instructors - Luton (451.46 per 100,000 people)

Yoga is one of the best ways to relax your mind and reduce stress and anxiety, with lots of instructors and classes available, whether you’re a regular yogi or have never tried it before. Once again it was Luton that had the most, with over 450 per 100,000 people.

Relaxing Cities Full Table

Methodology

We took the 30 biggest towns and cities in the UK, ranking on the following factors, giving each place a normalised score out of 10 for each factor, before taking an average across each score.

Spas

The number of spas within a 30-mile radius according to spabreaks.com, per 100,000 people.

Dog-friendly spas

The number of dog-friendly spas within a 30-mile radius according to spabreaks.com, per 100,000 people.

Green spaces

The average number of parks, public gardens, or playing fields in the local authority area within a 1,000 m radius according to Ordnance Survey, sourced from the Office for National Statistics’ access to gardens and public green space in Great Britain dataset.

Air pollution

A score out of 100 from Numbeo’s pollution index based on levels of pollution in the air.

Population density

The number of people per square kilometre in the local authority area according to the Office for National Statistics’ June 2020 Mid-Year Population Estimates.

Swimming pools

The number of swimming pools listed on Yelp, per 100,000 people.

Yoga instructors

The number of yoga instructors and classes within a 30-mile radius according to Yoga Hub, per 100,000 people.