Creative Boom created a new series called Creative Cities, a list about United Kingdom’s local creative scenes. It aims to give an overview of what is generally happening in each city, including the creative industries that they promote. The series also tackles what kind of people you will meet in these localities. These are the cities and towns that would suit creative people.
Creative Cities covered creative city hubs from Birmingham, Bristol, and Manchester to Cardiff, Nottingham, and Dundee. The series is just starting so you can expect more in the coming months. For the meantime, here are ten of UK’s most creative towns and cities where you can not only live and work but also play at, according to Creative Boom.
Birmingham is known to be one of the most industrial places in the country. Lately, the city, which is fondly called Brum, has quietly reinvented itself into a vibrant metropolis that is bustling with creative culture. Canals, flyovers, and tunnels splice the large city, and with its ’60s architecture, it sure is one of the picturesque cities in the island.
However, it might be quite tricky to navigate Birmingham. Brum is full of hidden gems that once you find your way around, you’ll discover more exciting things.
During the industrial revolution, Brum was considered as a big player, driving people to once tag it as the City of a Thousand Trades. There are still many industries operating in the city, including artisan jewelers, while new Bullring shopping centers and fine-dining restaurants have turned the industrial city into a haven for fashionistas and food porners.
Cardiff has it all going for itself. The growing city is located by the sea, the people there are friendly—it has everything you want in a city. Wales’s largest city (tenth-largest in the UK) is also its capital. Cardiff is also a part of the historic country of Glamorgan.
Cardiff started as a small town by the sea in the nineteenth century. Following the arrival of the industry in the town, it became a major port for coal transportation. As the industry grew, Cardiff became a major metropolis.
The city has not stopped developing since the 1990s businesses have invested a lot of money for the its development. Anywhere you look in the place, you’ll find newly erected buildings and sprouting businesses. There’s a new waterfront at the Cardiff Bay where the Senedd, the home of the Welsh Assembly and the Wales Millennium Centre, sits. The Cardiff International Sports Village and a new business district at the center of the city are being built.
Cardiff does not come behind in terms of creative industries. In fact, it is the United Kingdom’s largest media center outside of London. The city is home to media giants BBC Wales, S4C, and ITV Wales. Over 600 independent TV production firms also call the city their home. The independent production firms alone employ 6,000 people and contribute about £350 million to the local economy. BBC’s purpose-built drama village called Roath Lock is built in the city. It is the place where Doctor Who and Casualty are filmed.
Cementing the city’s status as one of UK’s creative hub is the new £6 million Centre for the Creative Industries. It is a 40,000-square foot center that will serve as center for Wales’s creative industries once construction is finished.
Newcastle upon Tyne
One of the most wonderful, buzzing, and creative cities in North East of England is city of Newcastle upon Tyne or Newcastle for short. The city is located in the banks of the River Tyne and close to the North Sea. Newcastle is part of Tyne & Wear of the historical Northumberland.
The city started as an important wool trading center and played major role in the Industrial Revolution. Newcastle also became a major coal mining area. The city’s port, which was developed in the sixteenth century, was once the largest shipbuilding centers in the world. But these industries slowed down throughout the years, and many of them eventually shut down. Yet Newcastle’s economy is thriving these days. With the help of digital technology, retail, tourism, learning, and culture, the city has become successful. The creative industries in the city are rapidly growing too, making it a perfect place for freelance professionals to live, work, and play.
Dundee is inhabited by creative, passionate, and friendly people who are keen to share the city they call home to the world. The picturesque City of Dundee is located in the eastern central Lowlands of Scotland on the north bank of the Firth of Tay.
Due to the jute production and other big industries such as journalism and marmalade, Dundee is called the city of jute, jam, and journalism. These industries helped Dundee expand during the nineteenth century, thus becoming the fourth-largest city in Scotland.
Dundee is being promoted with the tagline One City, Many Discoveries—a respectful nod to the city’s historic scientific past. The RRS Discovery, the Antarctic exploration vessel used by Robert Falcon Scott, was built in the city and is now preserved in its harbor.
Dundee is also full of creative talents, art organisations, startups, and freelancers whose works helped Dundee become a more progressive city. The residents of the city are hardworking that there’s no resting on laurels or even complaints about the recession. They are friendly and welcoming, but they are also diligent and sturdy people who even jump into freezing sea during their traditional New Year’s Day Dook! You can see the passion in everyone in this developing creative city.
Manchester is often joked at as the place where it never stops raining. The city may be wet most of the year, but it is beautiful nevertheless. Manchester is built with red-brick buildings, former cotton mills, and canals.
This is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Considered as one of the most creative cities not only in UK but also in the world, it is rich with cultural heritage that can give any major city a run for their money. Throughout the city streets, you can find a sense of local pride and passion from its half-a-million residents. The city’s economy is the third-largest in the United Kingdom and was considered to be the second-best place to do business in the country.
Manchester is considered as UK’s “second city” (London is first). It is known for producing some of the world’s most notable music personalities such as The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, The Smiths, and Joy Division. Manchester was also the all-out house scene that accompanied the days of Factory Records and the famous nightclub and music venue The Hacienda. It is where you can find the arts of L. S. Lowry, Ford Madox Brown, and Pierre Adophe Vallete. Manchester is a city of rich culture and competitive media. The BBC is headquartered in the city, and Granada Television is also based there. The city has also a thriving and growing tech scene, with many startups and digital agencies growing in there.
Brighton and Hove
Nestled on the south coast of East Sussex, with the beautiful South Downs serving as its majestic backdrop, Brighton and Hove is truly a wonderful and creative city. It is made up of two towns that were brought together in 2000, although many of the residents still consider Brighton as separate from Hove.
The city is a magnet for artistic people and people who work who are more into creative crafts. It is full of artists, musicians, designers, and writers. It is actually a running joke from the locals that most of the The Guardian‘s workers live in Brighton and Hove.
The city is just under an hour away from London. Sometimes people would refer to it as London-by-the-Sea, after many Londoners migrated to the area. Brighton and Hove supports tech and digital industries, making it a great place for freelancers to set up shops. It is also one of England’s most popular seaside resorts that features long-pebble beach and two traditional seaside piers. The West Pier was destroyed by fire in 2003, and it now serves as a stunning city sign that locals love to paint and photograph.
The city’s surrounding countryside are parks that are considered to be some of the best in the United Kingdom. The Lanes and North Laine areas are famous for the wide number of street performers, local bands, and musicians who entertain the crowds. There are also many shops in the area.
Lying at the east of the 95-mile World Heritage Site, Jurassic Coast, Bournemouth is the largest coastal town in the south coast of England. It is also the largest settlement in Dorset.
The city is home to 450 creative agencies that fuel the its creative scene. Bournemouth also prides itself for being UK’s fastest residential broadband network and Europe’s fastest free WiFi, which is provided by Fusion Wifi Ltd for the city’s 400,000-plus residents. The city is also the home to two world-class universities and many art, entertainment, and cultural venues. In a 2007 survey, the city is found to be the happiest place in the United Kingdom.
Bristol, or Brizzle, as how locals fondly call their city, is one of Britain’s most beautiful places to live in. It is blessed with the warmest weather in UK, friendly people, stunning architecture, world-class culture, and creative industries. With a population of nearly 500,000, the city is considered to be the largest center of culture, employment, and education in Southwest England.
Bristol was built around the River Avon and the Severn Estuary, which flows into the Bristol Channel. The city depends largely on the creative medium electronics and aerospace industries to fuel its economy. Digital industry, which includes gaming, Web, and mobile, along with creative freelancers, designers, and illustrators, are huge in these city. Aardman Animations, the creator behind the famed animated series Wallace and Gromit, is actually based in Bristol. The permanent street art project, See No Evil, is also found in the city. Famous street artist Banksy has many artworks that can found around the Bristol.
Tucked in the heart of the East Midlands, Nottingham is famous as the “home” of the legendary Robin Hood. It is also known for its lace making, tobacco, and bicycle industries that started during the Industrial Revolution.
These days, the city is buzzing with its creative industries. Graphic design, interior, and textile designs are growing in Nottingham, which all helped boost the city’s economic growth. New media industry in the city is also growing, and the city is also the birthplace and headquarters of Paul Smith, a legendary fashion designer.
Liverpool is one of Britain’s most lively, vibrant, and interesting cities, not to mention the fact that it is full of creative and wonderful people. Its residents are known for their warmth, humor, and talent that make the city one of the best places to work and play. Living up to its nickname, Liverpool is truly The Pool of Life.
With The Beatles calling it as their home, Liverpool is named as the World City of Pop by Guinness World Records. The city is full of history and culture. During the early nineteenth century, the city served as a major global port, and 40 percent of the world’s trading passed in the docks of Liverpool. The city’s structures show its heritage, and several architectures in it are even listed as World Heritage Site back in 2004.
Liverpool’s robust economy is one of United Kingdom’s largest. The significant growth in the knowledge economy in the city is supported by the establishment of the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter. Using its creative and enterprising past, Liverpool’s creative industries are thriving like any other cities.
Today, the city is home to over 7,000 creative and digital firms that employ over 48,000 people. These industries contribute as much as £1.4 billion GVA to the local economy. As a proof that Liverpool is a thriving digital hub, it is home to a big tech community, and the city is also Europe’s center for game industry.