Broadband Savvy, a leading authority on UK broadband service and performance, has conducted research into the best cities for geeks to visit or live in the UK.
With Brits now spending 32% more on video games and consoles than in 2019, and the increasing popularity of Pokemon and other pop-culture icons, the UK is becoming geekier, whether we notice or not.
As a geek, or someone who loves video games, comic books, anime and pop culture, you need fast broadband at home to be able to download and play the latest game updates. It’s also great to have regular gaming or anime conventions going on near home, and if you’re choosing a city to visit, it’s nice to have a good choice of comic book and trading card stores to explore.
Finding the best cities for geeks
To find the best places for geeks in the UK, Broadband Savvy scored the 50 most populous cities in the country based on:
- Comic book stores per square mile
- Collectables stores per square mile
- Anime/Comicon conventions each year
- Number of live action role-playing (LARP) groups
- Number of science museums
- Cost of rent
- Tech jobs per 1000 people
Top 10 best cities in the UK for geeks to visit or live
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Collectables stores per square mile
Blackpool has the most collectables and trading card stores in the UK, with 0.23 per square mile. If you’re walking along the promenade, you’re never far from a collectables store, although these stores are most concentrated in two spots. The first is just north of SEA LIFE Blackpool, and the second is near Blackpool South train station, where you’ll find I Collectibles, which has a range of trading card games in stock, including Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.
Liverpool also has a huge number of collectables stores, boasting 0.21 per square mile – the second-most of any city in the UK. There are nine collectables stores in total, making Liverpool a fantastic city to visit for collectables geeks, no matter whether you’re looking for trading cards, collectable figurines, or other pop culture memorabilia. The majority of these stores are located around Ropewalks, where you’ll find Forbidden Planet Liverpool – one of the UK’s leading pop culture stores.
Comic book stores per square mile
Bournemouth is the king of the comic book store, boasting 0.28 per square mile – the most of any city in the UK. You’re never far from a comic book store in Bournemouth, but the majority are located around the town centre, especially the Bournemouth Shopping Arcade. If you’re a geek who loves to collect Marvel or DC comics, or even Beano comic books, Bournemouth is a fantastic place to visit.
Coming up just behind Bournemouth is Portsmouth, which has 0.26 comic book stores per square mile. These locations are a bit more spread out in Pompey, with Geek Retreat Portsmouth in the town centre, Room 237 down south towards the beach, and Ian’s Books and Comics up near Stamshaw. Basically, no matter where you are in Portsmouth, you’re almost always within a 15-minute walk of a comic book store.
Anime and gaming conventions
Although most of the UK’s most popular anime and gaming conventions take place in London, there are plenty of Comicon and other events held in smaller cities throughout the UK.
Glasgow was a standout performer in this area, having held four conventions in the previous year – only one less than London. Each year you can attend the Film & Comic Con Glasgow, Glasgow Comicon, Animangapop, and the Glasgow Anime & Gaming Con in Scotland’s biggest city.
Geeks living in Glasgow are spoilt for choice when it comes to conventions, not just compared to Edinburgh, which has held only one similar event in the previous 12 months, but also compared to the rest of the UK. You would have to live in London to have a greater choice of anime and gaming conventions to visit.
Birmingham is another great city to live in if you love anime and gaming conventions, boasting four events over the previous 12 months. The city is a great choice for anime fans in particular, as it hosts the Birmingham Anime & Gaming Con each year, as well as MegaCon, which focuses on anime and manga, as well as other varieties of pop culture.
“Different cities performed well in the rankings for different reasons,” said Tom Paton, founder of Broadband Savvy. “Liverpool topped the rankings because it has heaps of collectables stores, as well as three amazing science museums to explore. On the other hand, Portsmouth came in second place because it has 0.26 comic book stores per square mile, the second-highest in the UK, and a very fast 113 Mbps average download speed.”
“As a geek choosing a place to live, there are plenty of great choices in different parts of the UK. The most important thing is thinking about what matters most to you, whether it be LARP meet-ups, comic book stores, or your average download speed.”
The research can be viewed here.