Where’s the Most Cosmopolitan City in the UK?

This summer is looking bright for enjoying social events with friends, family, or loved ones. People are preparing for a few months of non-stop indulging, whether that be  relaxing in a 5 star hotel, or just doing a bit of much-needed retail therapy, more people are looking towards UK cities for chic ways to spend their time this summer.

While each city in the UK offers a range of upmarket experiences, is there one place that can take the crown as the most cosmopolitan city in the UK?

How have we Defined the most Cosmopolitan Cities in the UK?


Our definition of cosmopolitan in this context is to be culturally rich with a diverse range of high-quality establishments that borrow cultural cues from across the world that support their luxury appeal and recognition. The 5 specific areas are:

  • Number of 5-star hotels
  • Number of spas
  • Number of Michelin star restaurants
  • Number of cocktail bars
  • Number of designer shops

After establishing the number of such establishments within a city, we then divided this figure in relation to the city’s population size and subsequently normalised the score to provide a ranking out of 100 to help us determine where the most cosmopolitan cities in the UK are! 

Where are the most Cosmopolitan Cities in the UK

Based on our research we discovered that the number one cosmopolitan city in the UK is Chester! With a relatively small population of 87,593, Chester came first on our leaderboard with its abundance of 5-star hotels, cocktail bars and luxury shops. Coming in second was the scenic city of Canterbury while the historic capital of the South-West, Bath came in third on our list. Filling out the rest of the top 10 cosmopolitan cities were places including Cambridge, York, and Edinburgh. 

Which City has the Highest Density of 5-star Hotels?

If you’re wanting to stay in a cosmopolitan city with an abundance of 5-star hotels to choose from, then Bath is the place to go. With the highest density of 5-star hotels Bath is the highest scorer on our system! Lisburn in Northern Ireland followed closely in second, with the quaint city of York coming in third boasting. Chester, comes in fourth, and Chichester next in 5th.

Which City has the Higher Number of Spas Per Person?

If you’re looking to get pampered then you’ll want to visit Stirling in Scotland, which came top of our leaderboard with 5 wonderful spas for their small population of just over 37,000. Chichester came in second and it should come as no surprise that Bath made the top 5 as the home of the roman baths and a big total of 11 spas within the city. In fourth is Canterbury which currently has 6 spas amongst a population of 62,767, while Chester in fifth has 8 spas to choose from.

Where’s the Best Place to Live for Michelin Star Restaurants

Michelin star restaurants are what you want to look out for if you want the best dining experience! London does have more than half of the UK’s Michelin star restaurants, but when you acknowledge population density, Canterbury has the highest density of Michelin star restaurants per person. Chester comes in second, followed by Bath, then Belfast, and finally, the food haven that is Edinburgh.

Most Cocktail Bars Per Person

Catching up with friends in a glamorous bar drinking delicious cocktails is one of life’s greatest pleasures. With 168 bars in a population of 554,400, Manchester offers a vibrant and lively night scene with plenty of choice in bars! Canterbury is also a fantastic city for bars, along with Brighton which comes in third on our list with 43 unique bars within a population of 241,999. Oxford came in fourth with a total of 24 cocktail bars within a population of 163,967 and Chester finishes off our list for the most cocktail bars per person. London has a huge total of 446 cocktail bars, the most in the country! However, due its massive population, it only squeezes into the top 20.

Which cities are the best for Designer Shopping

If you’re looking to update your wardrobe with exquisite designer clothes as the lockdown restrictions lift, look outside the capital for the most cosmopolitan shopping city in the UK. Specifically, Stirling comes out on top with an abundance of cosmopolitan shops that are likely to be quiet with its relatively small population. Canterbury, and Chichester have the next highest density of designer shops. Elsewhere, North-West powerhouses Chester and Manchester, also boast a wide variety of luxury stores. If you’re looking at the total number of designer shops London has the most in the UK, but because of its large population it once again doesn’t make the top 10.

Manjot Riyait, Head of Brand Marketing at NIO had this to say about the research:

While we’ve all been dreaming of jetting off to new and exotic locations this summer, there will still many opportunities to discover the best of what’s around us in UK cities and to finally catch up with family and friends. At NIO, we believe a great way of savouring your travels and celebrating your reunions is, of course, enjoying a bar-quality cocktail wherever your travels take you! We provide a selection of classic and signature cocktails expertly mixed by our Master Mixologist Patrick Pistolesi, owner of one of the world’s top 50 bars. Hopefully, our research can help provide some luxurious inspiration for some of your summer city travels.

Contact for more information: sebastian@thisisnovos.com

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