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NerdyKeith's avatar

What is the nearest major city closest to London in the UK?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5489points) June 9th, 2016

There is a chapter in the book I’m writing when the characters in London must relocate to the nearest major city from London. Would Sothamoton be the nearest major city?

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24 Answers

NerdyKeith's avatar

@canidmajor That was the first thing I came across when I did a Google search. But I wonder if it’s accurate.

Kropotkin's avatar

Depends on what you mean by “major city” exactly.

Brighton, Reading, and Luton are all a bit nearer, and significant cities.

Southampton is a bit larger and is part of a larger conurbation with Portsmouth (which would also be in contention).

ucme's avatar

Reading & Luton are towns, the closest city is definitely Brighton but not considered a “major” like Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds for example

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Why are they relocating? That might help to determine which city would be the most appropriate.

Seek's avatar

If something’s going down in London, I’m getting my happy arse up to @ucme‘s place, distance be damned.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’d probably go with Birmingham. If you wanted major.

Stinley's avatar

Birmingham is the first one in @canidmajor list that i would consider to be major.

Kropotkin's avatar

@ucme You’re right. I tend to think of “city” as just any large town. Though officially a “city” is just a town that’s been granted city status—with the result that we have cities that are little larger than many small market towns and villages.

If we’re sticking to offical “city status”—then Birmingham is the largest city in England, and London is the third smallest city in England!

I presume that @NerdyKeith just means any significant urban area outside of London. Many towns and cities have grown and merged to form conurbations that sprawl across official and historical boundaries—and there are varying ways in which their populations are demarcated and measured.

Here’s a list of Primary Urban Areas by population which is probably the nearest analogue to “cities”.

Or we can measure by Metropolitan Area (which ends up including Reading in London), and is based on commuting zones.

And then there’s Urban Areas as defined by the Office of National Statistics

Going by mere “city status” ends up with some results that would make little sense to a non-Brit

Stinley's avatar

Bristol is also an option

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I agree @Stinley. As @ucme suggested, Brighton also isn“t a huge city, but it is a significant metropolitan area. Hence my question about what is motivating the character’s move?

ucme's avatar

@Seek You already know that you’d be welcomed with open arms ;-}
@Kropotkin City status used to be allocated only if the location had an airport, university & hospital.
Us Brits & our quaint little ways eh?

MilkyWay's avatar

The first city that came to my mind was Birmingham.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Bristol is about 10 miles further from London than Birmingham.

Stinley's avatar

Birmingham is a city you could get lost in. Very busy and populous so perfect for hiding away for shady characters

ucme's avatar

Spaghetti junction would get you lost all on its own, never mind the city itself
The characters would be best served blending in with the brummie locals, speak in that deadpan accent…“would yow loike a cup er toi?”

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Ok the story is set in 3015 and a terrorist organisation has infiltrated and destroyed a military headquarters in London. There would be a global government set up, and so this military organisation would have bases in every major city around the world.

I’m thinking that each military unit would cater for a number of smaller cities within the area. So perhaps the nearest small city near London would not be the best option. But the nearest urban city. It would also have to have sufficient landmass in order to have a military base.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

But Brighton (or definitely Bristol as @Stinley suggested) is on the coast, so perhaps a city’s geographical setting would matter more than whether it’s a major urban setting. Some cities might be more easily fortified than others. So while large, a city in the middle of a fairly flat land mass, might not be as easily protected as a city at a higher altitude. I think they would think more deeply than just the size of the city.

Seek's avatar

Sometimes the whole idea that we’re talking about the “biggest cities” in a country that’s effectively the size of Illinois makes my brain spin.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

But London’s population (8,538,689) is only slightly lower than New York’s (8,550,405).

Chicago’s population is around 2,720,546.

Manchester’s population is 2,555,000.

Small place. Lots of people. However, there’s lots of beautiful, beautiful countryside and green space in the cities I’ve visited.

citizenearth's avatar

London is big enough. No need to relocate from the city.

ucme's avatar

I’m happy to live up here in the sticks, far from the madding crowd

Petrovisk's avatar

Depends how you define “major”. The nearest city that isn’t part of London itself is probably Slough.

The nearest large city is Bristol.

The nearest very large city is Birmingham.

The nearest cities of comparable importance are Paris and Brussels.

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