• As we spend more time socialising outside, Mortgage Advice Bureau has found the top UK cities for al fresco living
  • For those feeling inspired to make a move, London takes the top spot with the most places to eat and drink outside
  • Manchester, Brighton, Edinburgh and Glasgow also make up the top five

As we have moved in and out of lockdowns and a tiered system this year, most of us in the UK have found ourselves spending more time socialising outside and we’ve had a change in our lifestyles. For those looking to potentially make a house move in the coming months, accessibility to outdoor activities could be high on the priority list in the search for a new home.

With this in mind, Mortgage Advice Bureau has looked at the top five cities in the UK for al fresco living. Whether that’s an abundance of pubs with gardens, restaurants with outdoor seating, open air street food markets or art parks, these cities are perfectly placed for spending more time in the fresh air and for enjoying time out and about safely, even after restrictions pass.


Homes in cities allow for al fresco living

Unsurprisingly, the English capital takes the top spot, with a massive 2,847 pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating areas around the city according to Tripadvisor, and 2020 saw much of Soho become pedestrianised so local establishments could spill out on to the streets and remain open despite restrictions. London is also packed with outdoor activities. Try walking The Line – the city’s first public art walk between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, following the waterways and the line of the Greenwich Meridian.

The average house price in London is £666,842.


With 352 restaurants and pubs, with outdoor eating and drinking on Tripadvisor, Manchester is representing the north as one of the best cities for al fresco living. Manchester is great for walks along the canal, and the surrounding forests are in easy reach for locals to reconnect with nature. For those who prefer more urban activities, Escape to Freight Island is Manchester’s newest outdoor venue, and has been compared to New York’s Coney Island.

The average house price in Manchester is £202,905.

Brighton and Hove

The tourism hotspot of Brighton and Hove has a burgeoning foodie scene, and according to Tripadvisor, 301 pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating areas. Apart from glorious coastal walks, Brighton also has the South Downs on its doorstep. Brighton also has its own open-air theatre, which is home to a year-round programme of plays and pantomimes, even throughout the winter.

The average house price in Brighton is £384,338.


The historic city of Scotland boasts 279 pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating. One of the most popular outdoor activities near Edinburgh is a hike up Arthur’s Seat, giving excellent views of the capital at the top. Just a few miles from the city centre, Portobello Beach provides a great escape from city life, perfect for families and dog walkers alike. For art lovers, Edinburgh is home to an incredible variety of public art dotted around the city, such as the ‘Dreaming Spires’ – two giraffes made from scrap metal named Martha and Gilbert.

The average house price in Edinburgh is £286,788.


Situated on the River Clyde, Glasgow is another Scottish city with a strong offering of 203 al fresco dining and drinking spots. Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens are internationally renowned for their impressive glasshouses and extensive tropical plant collections, making it perfect for nature lovers. A more action-packed day out can be had at the Ski and Snowboard centre in the city, or even try out white water rafting at Pinkston. The average house price in Glasgow is £178,794.

Outdoor activities have become much more popular

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau says: “We’ve probably all spent more time outside this year than we normally would, with many of us seeing friends and family in our gardens, parks and embracing the joys of socialising, eating and drinking outdoors, even as we head into winter. Although 2020 has been far from a ‘normal’ year, generally we’ve seen a shift towards more remote working and people changing their priorities in a property search with commuting becoming less important.

“This trend has opened up new places and opportunities for people in their property search. The length of their commute may no longer be the determining factor on deciding where to live but instead, people can opt for properties with more private outdoor space or nearby to places with lots of opportunities for enjoying the outdoors.”

For those feeling inspired to make a move, Mortgage Advice Bureau has created an online quiz designed to help you find your perfect new home by answering a few simple questions

About Mortgage Advice Bureau

Mortgage Advice Bureau is a widely recognised UK mortgage intermediary brand*, winning over 150 national awards for the quality of its advice and service.

It has over 1,400 advisers offering expert mortgage advice on a local, regional and national level to consumers, both face to face and over the phone. Mortgage Advice Bureau handles over £16bn of loans annually, and was the first – and is currently the only – mortgage intermediary to have floated on the London Stock Exchange, having joined the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November 2014.

For more information visit mortgageadvicebureau.com or join the conversation on social media @MABCentral
*Based on Opinium Research, Summer 2020.