It’s official: London is the UK’s best city for independent businesses

According to a new study, we’ve got the most indie shops, cafés and salons

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
Baked goods at Borough Market in London
Photograph: Shutterstock

London might have extortionate rents and overpriced pints, but there is one thing we’re good at. It turns out the capital is the UK’s best city for independent businesses, making it a place where indie biz owners can thrive – well, according to a new study, anyway. 

The report from SumUp analysed the number of indie businesses and their average review score to come up with a total score for 10 cities in the UK. London took the cake with a total score of 13.45. Yes, we still have chain restaurants and high street shops owned by big corporations, but we’ve also got a hell of a lot of independent shopssalonscafés, barbers and more. 

It’s no surprise that London tops the list as the best city for thriving as an independent business. The capital is home to 213 beauty salons, 201 barber shops and 166 indie coffee shops. A big part of London’s independent business scene is also our amazing takeaways, with the city having 136. Recently, Croydon in south London was also named the beauty capital of the UK, and London was declared one of the world’s best cities for buying fashion.

Maria MacDonald, owner and founder of salon Cult London, said: ‘I do think Londoners, especially in fashion and beauty, have a very curated eye for services and places they shop. Because of this if you get it right and can weather the startup costs and over heads London can be very rewarding for small independent businesses.’

In a close second place was Bristol, with a score of 12.05. Birmingham was third, taking 11.55 points. 

The UK’s best cities for independent business

  1. London
  2. Bristol
  3. Birmingham
  4. Glasgow
  5. Leeds
  6. Edinburgh
  7. Manchester
  8. Sheffield
  9. Liverpool
  10. Belfast  

Surf’s up: North London is getting a massive new surfing resort.

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