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The UK’s Green Giants: Best Cities For Outdoor Space Revealed

19 February 2024
Golden hour at a greenspace in the UKGolden hour at a greenspace in the UK


Green space is really important to all of us. The ability to escape the hustle and bustle of the working day and get out in the fresh air is pivotal for our health and well-being. For some, that green space is a private garden, and for others, it’s a city park or national park.

In 2020-2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘race for space’ meant that people living in cities and flats were opting to move to bigger homes with more space and importantly, a garden. This trend has eased slightly with higher interest rates making home buying less affordable, but the theme remains that homeowners and first-time buyers want some green space included in their property purchases.

Why is outdoor space important?

As the world becomes more populated and urbanised, more people are living in built-up cities and concrete jungles. As of 2023, it was estimated that 84.4% of the UK population will live in urban areas, and England’s urban population in particular is growing faster than its rural population, according to the government.

There is growing evidence that being outdoors and in nature can improve people’s mental and physical health. Without access to green space, it can limit opportunities for outdoor exercise such as running or playing team sports. In the Shetlands, doctors have even been prescribing nature-based activities to help reduce blood pressure and anxiety and increase happiness.

Garden’s therapeutic effects

Another study from Innovate UK found that people who spend time in the garden report better physical and mental health than people who don’t. Having your own private garden can also improve happiness and give you a sense of purpose  - whether it’s using it to meditate outside in the morning, growing your own flowers, or just having your own outdoor sanctuary to escape to.

With outdoor space being of such importance, some are even looking to make their gardens show-stopping and use them as entertaining areas, framing their space with composite fencing, or adding new areas with composite decking.

The UK’s Greenest Towns and Cities

Eurocell has set out to discover which UK towns and cities have the best access to green space.

To do this, we’ve looked at several data points, including the number of homes in each city with a private garden, the average square footage of that garden, as well as the average distance to public green space and the percentage of homes on the market that are currently listed as having a private garden. These figures were then given a score out of 10 and ranked, leading to a total score out of 40.

The top 20 cities in the UK for outdoor space

Position City Total % of homes & flats with private outdoor space Average size of private outdoor space (m2) Average distance to nearest park, public garden or playing field (m) The ratio of houses for sale currently, compared to number of houses for sale with garden Total Score
1 Chesterfield 95% 249.7 296.7 92.05% 30.8
2 Mansfield 93% 246.1 267.1 94.57% 30.2
3 Telford 91% 306.1 283.16 90.73% 30.2
4 Rotherham 95% 244.2 319.23 92.43% 30.0
5 Warrington 93% 236.9 263.14 89.40% 29.9
6 Crewe 92% 396.2 395.49 90.52% 29.8
7 Stoke-on-Trent 94% 169 217.27 87.68% 29.8
8 Wrexham 91% 341.8 322 88.11% 29.6
9 Barnsley 94% 232.8 280.3 87.53% 29.6
10 Burton upon Trent 93% 345.5 366 88.24% 29.5
11 St Helens 95% 190.3 279.7 88.30% 29.1
12 Nuneaton 94% 228.6 321.43 93.35% 29.1
13 Stockport 91% 245.2 279.71 89.14% 28.5
14 Loughborough 93% 317.3 381.88 86.46% 28.0
15 Maidstone 87% 426.3 364.91 84.07% 27.7
16 Rugby 89% 424.7 421.88 87.98% 27.7
17 Prescot 93% 191.4 285.71 86.67% 27.6
18 Gloucester 92% 212.4 276.14 84.74% 27.6
19 Peterborough 94% 248.2 343.3 84.31% 27.6


Bath 90% 389.9 354.37 76.35% 27.5


Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, comes out on top as being the best place to live in the UK when it comes to access to green space. Close to the Peak District, Chesterfield is surrounded by the woodland walks and diverse habitats of the national park. And the town itself has numerous parks and gardens including Holmebrook Valley Country Park and Linacre Reservoir.

Of the data analysed, 95% of all homes and flats had private outdoor space, and 92% had a garden, at an average of 249.7 metres squared, just over the size of a tennis court.

12 miles away, Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, comes in second place, when it comes to access to green space in the UK. Although not directly in the town, Mansfield isn’t far from Sherwood Forest, which boasts greenery, woodlands and is famous for its links to Robin Hood.

Stoke-on-Trent has been found to have the closest distance to public green space, with the average person having to travel just 217.27m away from home to be amongst the trees.

Finally, residents of Torquay have the largest garden spaces on average, with 495.2 square metres of outdoor space on average. With its coastal location, Torquay not only has an ideal climate for gardening with higher levels of sunshine, but the climate also encourages more people to get outside. Many of its homes are built on its hilly terrain, meaning the gardens are more private and secluded than in other cities and towns.

The bottom 20 cities in the UK for outdoor space

Position City Total % of homes & flats with private outdoor space Average size of private outdoor space (m2)


       Average distance to nearest park, public garden or playing field (m)

The ratio of houses for sale currently, compared to number of houses for sale with garden Total Index Score
100 Salford 82% 165.8 317.65 29.66% 11.1
99 Manchester 79% 143.1 320.83 53.91% 12.5
98 Aberdeen 82% 284 459.29 63.78% 15.2
97 Slough 81% 177.2 315.75 65.69% 16.4
96 Southend-on-Sea 86% 228.2 495.88 73.94% 16.5
95 Portsmouth 86% 115.9 380.74 72.42% 16.7
94 Watford 77% 209.4 269.78 69.86% 17.1
93 Liverpool 84% 140.2 275.49 58.87% 17.3
92 Southampton 83% 193.2 349.6 68.13% 17.3
91 Glasgow 81% 215.1 338 72.23% 17.8
90 Cambridge 82% 226.8 307.15 68.79% 19.0
89 Norwich 82% 207.6 339.48 80.00% 19.3
88 Birmingham 86% 226.9 371.07 69.11% 19.4
87 Preston 88% 225.7 407.02 70.41% 19.6
86 Hartlepool 94% 181 484.69 72.43% 19.8
85 Luton 87% 199.5 351.68 71.38% 20.2
84 Bristol 84% 178.6 276.19 72.08% 20.3
83 Leicester 86% 168 309.97 74.61% 20.5
82 Eastbourne 86% 232.7 361.23 73.70% 20.6
81 Reading 86% 226 355.09 75.53% 20.8


The bottom three cities in the UK for green space are Salford, Manchester and Aberdeen. 

Residents in Salford, a city in Greater Manchester, may face a number of challenges when seeking green spaces, as the city has undergone urbanisation, and is densely populated - especially around the Salford Quays area. As a result of the high demand for housing, the area comprises of thousands of flats, in a sign that it’s the biggest concrete jungle in the country.

Manchester was just behind in 99th place, with the second fewest percentage of homes and flats with outdoor space in the UK at 79%. Only Watford has fewer, at 77%. Homes in Manchester also had some of the smallest sizes of gardens, on average - the fourth smallest in the UK, to be exact.

Manchester does have multiple urban parks, such as Heaton Park, however with such a high proportion of people living in apartments, due to a shortage of affordable housing, people may be struggling to enjoy green space close by.

Despite being close to the Highlands, residents of Aberdeen have one of the furthest treks to seek green space, with residents of the Scottish city being over 450 metres from the nearest park, on average.

Again, due to the high number of flats in Aberdeen, only 63% of new property listings online have private outdoor space.

Beth Boulton, marketing director at Eurocell, said: “Outdoor space is hugely important for our health and well-being - it breathes life into a home and helps us to de-stress when we need to.

“Outdoor space has become a much bigger priority for homebuyers since the COVID-19 pandemic when many people started working from home for the first time. Since then, working from home has become much more of a norm for millions of people. The daily commute is no longer a good source of fresh air!

“We’ve seen a big spike in the number of people choosing to expand their home by utilising their outdoor space, such as with the introduction of using garden rooms as a home office. In most cases, planning permission isn’t necessary, so they’re a great solution for both adding more space to your home, but also potentially more value when you come to sell the property.”


To create this data, Eurocell used garden and green space figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and extrapolated data from properties currently advertised on Rightmove for each of the top 100 cities in the UK by population (excluding London). These figures were then ranked, and given a weighted score out of 100. From this, a score out of 40 was determined and the results ranked.

The top 100 UK cities by population were taken from World Population Review.

Data correct as of February 2024.