Just because you live in a city, it doesn't mean you should sacrifice on your local environment. If you pick the right place, city living can provide more than concrete high rises and urban sprawl. In fact, our bustling cities often have plenty to offer nature lovers.
Here we take a brief look at the top cities for green space, where you can enjoy the health and family benefits of having both nature and work a short distance away.
A recent study of satellite imagery showed that Edinburgh has the largest ratio of green space to built environment of any UK city, with natural areas accounting for a whopping 49.2% of the city. That’s a massive lead over its closest rival and nearby neighbour Glasgow, which is 32% greenery.
It’s hardly surprising that Scotland’s capital is so flora-friendly, given the UNESCO World Heritage site at its centre, the sprawling Meadows park and Arthur’s Seat overlooking Holyrood. It seems there’s no shortage of wonderful places to live in Scotland.
England’s second-largest city only ranks fourth for urban green spaces, but a separate Ordnance Survey study says it’s top of the pack when it comes to accessible green spaces within inner city boundaries.
In practice, that means Brummies don’t quite get the size or scale of parks you’ll find north of the border, but it’s easier for them to escape urban life now and then with forests trails, golf courses and hilly hikes.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Sheffield could be the city for you. A BBC Countryfile poll voted the city the best in the UK for countryside lovers. With the peak district on its doorstep and a local area with lots of farm land and natural spaces, it’s also perfect for foraging and farm-to-table dining.
Consistently competing with UK cities on the usual metrics of parks and green spaces, Bristol also walks the walk when it comes to the green lifestyle.
The city has comparatively low CO2 levels, growing supplies of green energy from wind farms and solar panels and consistently good recycling records. This West Country hub proves that a city can be green in more ways than one.