Revealed: 15 most expensive UK cities to raise a family - is yours on the list?

New research has revealed the most expensive (as well as the most affordable) cities in which to raise a family

Mum holding her two children on her lap, looking at a tablet device together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 15 most expensive cities in which to raise a child have been named, with annual costs ranging from £44,692 up to a whopping £80,416.

Raising a family is an expensive endeavour, when you consider how much it costs to raise a child and rising average childcare costs. But it turns out that where you live can be a big influencing factor too. 

The study from OutdoorToys looked at a range of costs, including the average costs of childcare, rent, utilities and broadband in different cities, in order to find out which locations were the most expensive to raise a family. 

Most expensive UK cities to raise a family in

Unsurprisingly, the research found that London was the most expensive city to raise a family in, costing a sky-high £80,416 per year. This figure includes an average nursery place for two children costing just under £38,000 a year, average annual rent costing only slightly more at £38,650, as well as average annual utility bills of £3,661 per year. 

Second place on the list went to Westminster, with annual costs of £59,757, more than £20,000 cheaper than in the City of London. 

Cambridge ranked a very close third, with average annual nursery costs of around £8,000 more than rent. 

Other cities that made the list of the top 15 most expensive cities to raise a family in, with annual costs between £58,390 and £44,692, include:

  • St Albans
  • Winchester
  • Oxford
  • Brighton & Hove
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Bristol
  • York
  • Birmingham
  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Milton Keynes
  • Canterbury

Table showing the most expensive cities to raise a family in

(Image credit: c/o Outdoor Toys)

Most expensive cities for childcare

  • London - £37,740
  • St Albans - £34,162
  • Cambridge - £32,430
  • Oxford - £30,300
  • Birmingham - £29,069

Most expensive cities for rent

  • London - £38,650
  • Westminster - £31,500
  • Winchester - £30,000
  • Oxford - £24,990
  • Brighton & Hove - £24,805

Most expensive cities for utility bills

  • London - £3,661
  • Canterbury - £3,461
  • Southend-on-Sea - £3,300
  • Milton Keynes - £2,824
  • Westminster - £2,778

Most affordable UK cities to raise a family in

The research also found the most affordable cities in which to raise a family, with annual costs ranging from £14,220 up to £36,969. 

The top spot for most affordable city went to Derry in Northern Ireland, with average nursery costs of £4,554 per year, average rents of £7,626 per year, and average utility bills of £1,454 - less than half of the price families in London pay for their utilities. 

Second place went to Wakefield, with average annual costs of £22,520, while in third place Doncaster it costs £27,518 per year to raise a family. 

Other affordable cities that rounded out the list included:

  • Carlisle
  • Gloucester
  • Preston
  • Swansea
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Lancaster
  • Kingston upon Hull
  • Plymouth
  • Dundee
  • Leicester
  • Salford
  • Belfast

Table showing the most affordable cities to raise a family in

(Image credit: c/o Outdoor Toys)

Cheapest cities for childcare

  • Derry - £4,554
  • Wakefield- £11,520
  • Preston - £12,000
  • Gloucester - £14,400
  • Swansea - £14,712

Cheapest cities for rent

  • Derry - £7,626
  • Doncaster - £7,901
  • Wakefield - £8,400
  • Kingston upon Hull - £8,715
  • Carlisle - £8,835

Cheapest cities for utility bills

  • Portsmouth - £1,424
  • Derry - £1,454
  • Belfast - £1,478
  • Carlisle - £1,560
  • Swansea - £1,593

If you've found that you live in one of the most expensive cities, then make sure you follow these family-friendly ways to save money, and think about how you can save money for your child's future.

Sarah Handley
Money Editor,

Sarah is's Money Editor. After segueing into the world of personal finance from the Homes sector, and acting as launch editor of Goodto's sister brand, Sarah now focuses on family finance. She is passionate about cutting through confusing jargon to help people make sound financial decisions, avoid overspending and set themselves and their families up for a financially-stable future.