Where are the 8 best places for Brits to live abroad?

According to the BBC, approximately one in ten Brits live outside the UK. In 2016, just under 4000,000 people left the UK compared with under 300,000 in 2015 (University of Oxford Migration Observatory data).

Those seeking a new start overseas list the following criteria most critical when selling their property, packing their cases and moving abroad:

  • Better quality of life.
  • Career progression.
  • Family Ties.
  • Economic stability.
  • Lifestyle change.
  • Politics as reasons for moving.

We have a list of the top eight places to head to; read on for some inspiration.


Canada tops the table when it comes to quality of life. According to the US News & World Report 2018 Best Countries, this North American destination is the No1 choice for a higher quality of life by considering affordability, job opportunities, economic stability, income equality, family suitability, political security safety, education and health.

The University of Pennsylvania and BAV Consulting compiled the report; the information researched 80 nations, scoring each on 65 separate attributes, ranging from gender equality to state corruption. Canada ranks highly for being business-friendly, entrepreneurial, modern, family-centric, retirees, green living and equality. According to Forbes, Canada is renowned for friendliness and has been less affected by the 2008 financial crisis than its neighbour, offering more employment and business growth opportunities. For those who love the outdoors, Canada is an excellent option for relocating.


Often applauded for their contented approach to life, Scandinavian countries boast low unemployment and crime rates but high rates of satisfaction and happiness.

Denmark was No 2 in the Best Countries list, with Norway and Sweden coming up close behind. However, these countries are also in the top 10 most expensive places to live (Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2018), considering almost 50 factors, including the cost of transport, accommodation and eating.


according to Numbeo, One of the cheaper spots in western Europe to live (by far the more affordable being the majority of eastern Europe), Spain has been a long-time favourite of British ex-pats; according to a report by the UN, over 300,000 Brits live here. With great weather, a relatively low cost of living and a more gentle way of life, hoards of Brits are popping across the channel to take advantage of the Spanish heat.

In particular, it’s famous for older Brits seeking a sunnier retirement. Spain boasts breathtaking architecture, beautiful beaches, historic cities, and diverse culture and is accessible from most airports in the UK. Of course, many Spanish speak English, but if you’re planning on relocating there permanently, it might be a good suggestion to pick up a Spanish phrasebook, si?


Famous for mountains, chocolate and cheese, Switzerland wins the award for the overall best country. The Balance nominated it as the 2nd best country in the world to work in, not surprising with an average annual income of circa £41,000, plus an excellent work-life balance and low unemployment.

Switzerland is well renowned for its unspoilt beautiful scenery, leisure activities like skiing and quaint culture, making it a trendy winter destination. Switzerland also ranks among the top 10 best countries globally for education, women’s rights, green living and equality. It is also listed highly as a destination to raise children if you plan on moving as a family.

But while Switzerland boasts a unique lifestyle, it all comes at a cost, labelled as Europe’s most expensive country to live in (and 2nd most costly worldwide). However, if you have money to spare, Switzerland could be the perfect country for you.

Costa Rica

According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the happiest country globally with its beautiful wildlife, idyllic beaches and stunning scenery like the gorgeous Rio Celeste waterfall. Costa Rica is both an adventurer’s dream and a peaceful paradise.

The average life expectancy is over 79 years, which is higher than the USA and the South American nation’s literacy rate is also high at 97.8 per cent.


Another trendy destination for UK migrants, Ireland, has become home to over 280,000 UK ex-pats. Its proximity to the British Isles makes it perfect for those wanting to move there but may want to stay reasonably close to friends and family.

Ireland boasts beautiful countryside, often featured in the favourite TV series Game of Thrones. Ireland is a country full of charm, music, beauty and tradition, beloved by visitors worldwide.


The 2nd most populated destination in Europe, Germany has become more popular for UK ex-pats; it has the 4th largest number of Brits, just behind Spain, Ireland and France. It also ranked 3rd for the best country.

Germany is a great place to move for individuals with a smaller budget and has proved popular with millennial Brits. On average, rent in Berlin accounts for a quarter of the German average wage, compared with rent in Copenhagen, which accounts for nearly a 3rd of monthly earnings. In addition, Germany is a popular destination for businesses and creatives and is renowned for being welcoming and hospitable.

New Zealand

Another increasingly popular spot for Brits moving overseas is Australia’s closest neighbour. Mercer’s Quality of Living Ranking 2018 reports the capital city Auckland as the 3rd best city in the world to reside.

It is a friendly country, with 80 per cent of ex-pats living there reporting it as an easy place to settle in. People love the social culture and fantastic scenery that meets them on arrival. And good news, New Zealand is relatively easy to move to; many of its industries need skilled workers to fill many roles.

In 2016, the town of Kaitangata hit the headlines by launching a recruitment drive to attract new residents – with an unusual issue of having too many affordable homes and too many jobs but not enough takers to fill them.

If you prefer to stay in the UK, then check out our top ten cheap but charming towns!

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