Forget London: These Are the UK’s Next Biggest Business Capitals

published Nov 23, 2022
1 min read

London is the undisputed business capital of the UK, and a heavy hitter, in Europe and globally. In 2021, Visual Capitalist statistics showed it had an estimated GDP of $978 bn, second only to Paris ($984 bn), Seoul ($926 bn), Los Angeles ($1.5 tn), Tokyo ($2.0 tn) and New York ($2.4 tn). But if you’re looking for a place to do business in the UK, you shouldn’t restrict your view to just London.

Whether you are looking for the ideal place to set up a new company, plan to expand, or arrange or attend a business conference or networking event, keeping an awareness of the UK’s business hotspots can give you the edge when it comes to professional success.

However, If you search for your next business move, here are some of the best and biggest you should consider; cities with great transport, workforces, cultures, economies, and acclaim.

London Offices


The largest financial hub outside of London (it’s home to the Bank of England’s only non-London base), and a heavy hitter when it comes to both law and the digital economy, Leeds is growing fast. It benefits from excellent rail transportation links from London, Edinburgh, Manchester and beyond, and has a blossoming culture and economy that’s attracting and retaining top talent.


With an excellent track record of innovation, leading research institutions and biomedical funding bodies unparalleled in the country, Edinburgh is a great choice for aspiring businesses. According to analysis from Management Today, the Scottish capital came top in the magazine’s Best Cities for Business 2022 rankings, owing to its ‘vibrant, future-facing’ nature, ‘much-vaunted quality of life’, strong economy, skilled workforce and much more.


Arguably the capital of Northern England, Manchester has a high-quality and wide-ranging availability of talent thanks to its many top-flight universities and one-of-a-kind culture which keeps graduate talent in the city. That’s made it a great choice for professional businesses of all colours, from tech to legal, through to finance and creative.

If you’re looking for a northern hub, Manchester’s location on the rail route between Liverpool and Leeds is highly beneficial too.


Compact and centralised Birmingham is often referred to as the UK’s second city for good reason. It’s home to the leading business school of Birmingham City University, has a large and growing business district and the venerable law firm hub of Colmore Row, and has a great availability of inexpensive office space to boot.

As we mentioned, the city is easy to get around too, and will soon benefit from augmented transport links via HS2.

There are so many places to start a business in the UK outside of London. Think there’s a city missing from our list? Be sure to get in touch and let us know!