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  • Writer's pictureChris Tate

we built this city...

Who doesn’t like a list?  I love them? From shopping to bucket, and everything inbetween.

Well, the people at CompTIA obviously share my passion and have created a list of the top “Tech Towns” in the UK. 

Before we get started - let’s get that elephant out of the room - I don’t know why Nottingham isn’t there either.  Surely it’s just some kind of admin error that will be corrected in 2020..  

The city that gave us Robin Hood, Ibuprofen, Su Pollard and Nottingham Forest deserves a mention for sure.  It also has the Oldest Inn in England which somehow, in a Nottingham only kind of way, is also the 3rd oldest pub in Nottingham.  Go figure.  If you’re ever in town though, let me know and I’ll show you the sights.

Anyway, let’s look at the list in full.  I’ve done it in reverse order so please add your own “Top of The Pops” music as you read from now on.  

10. Reading

I used to have the pleasure of working in Reading, lots of tech companies are there and our office on Green Park was a great location.

Night Out Info :  I’ve lots of experience in this town.  Legendary haunts like the Purple Turtle have helped, but the quality of beer in this town is generally pretty poor. 

Interesting Fact : The largest town in England

9. Basingstoke

Basingstoke is in Hampshire and grew rapidly as an expansion town for London after World War II.  It certainly punches above its weight in tech.  It loves a roundabout (That’s a Traffic Circle for American readers) - Apart from that, I don’t have much..

Night Out Rating :  This is awkward - I don’t think I’ve ever had a night out in this town.  To be brutally honest I’m not sure if I’ve ever even been at all.  

Interesting Fact : Basingstoke is the largest town in Hampshire.  

8. Bath

Bath is a great place, small and historic.  I love spending time there.  I can’t comment on it’s Tech Town status though as I’ve never worked there.  Sorry.

Night Out Rating : Really good, lots of great pubs and bars.

Interesting Fact : Uranus was discovered in Bath

7. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a cool place, it’s a good place to do business and that’s why you see vendors such as SolarWinds MSP have offices there.  It’s the capital city of Scotland, so they may not be eligible for future UK Tech Towns if Scottish Independence happens - So enjoy it while you can.

Night Out Rating : Awesome - I really like the Grassmarket Area, but you can’t really go wrong. 

Interesting Fact : Edinburgh Zoo has (as far as I know) the only penguin to ever be Knighted - Arise Sir Nils Olav

6. Cambridge

This one is interesting, without Cambridge I would probably not be typing this.  In fact, I would probably be in the fields picking potatoes or repairing the roads.  This is because my entry to the computer industry is tied to this place.  Sinclair Research was formed in Cambridge and this is what got me started back in the day.  It also gave us other companies including Acorn who kind of in turn gave us ARM who are now create the most successful and widely used microprocessor design in the world. (I think, I’m not going to Google it). There is a strong chance you’re reading this on one of their designs now.

Night Out Rating : Pretty good - I’d say go in the early summer. 

Interesting Fact : Strap yourself in as this is a belter.  It’s a well known fact that Cambridge is so called because of a bridge on the river Cam right?  Well, kind of, but not the way you would imagine.  The river was originally called the Granta and so the town was called Grentebrige.  Over time, the name morphed into Cambridge and someone must have said (dramatising) - “Hang on John, the place is called Cambridge now, we need to change the name of the river right?” - and indeed they did.

5. London

They had to be here didn’t they - They can’t miss out on any list.  I imagine they are a bit annoyed they only managed to sneak into to the Top 5 but there you go.  London has an incredible amount of tech and many major organisations call it home.

Night Out Rating : Mixed - You can get whatever you want, but it’s such a big place you need to know where to go,  Do your research and you’ll have a great night.

Interesting Fact : The City of London is the smallest city in England. 

4. Birmingham

Birmingham has honour of being the 2nd largest city in England.  It’s had lots of development recently and is home to lots of tech startups.  It’s also home to the “hit” TV shows Peaky Blinders and Crossroads.

Night Out Rating : I think you need to know where to go, and I never do.  I usually end up on Broad Street and therefore I’m sure I don’t see Birmingham at its best.

Interesting Fact : You can’t spend more than 30 seconds here before someone tells you they have more canals than in Venice, so I’ve got in there first to rain on their brummy parade.

3. Leeds

I don’t live that far from Leeds actually.  Leeds is in Yorkshire, which according to anyone from Yorkshire is the greatest place on Earth bar none.  I’m not sure I’d go that far, but Yorkshire is nice and the people are friendly enough.  I actually know several MSPs in Leeds and can therefore confirm the tech scene is alive and kicking.

Night Out Rating : Very good.  The thing is this - people of Yorkshire are, how do I say this, thrifty and they like a good beer.  Therefore everything is well priced and the quality is great.  If it wasn’t, they would make their opinions pretty clear..

Interesting Fact : Legendary UK retailer Marks and Spencer began in Leeds.

2. Bristol

Bristol is in the South West of England and has a great history.  If you’re into that kind of thing, check it out.  It’s also very creative and liberal.  I’d say one of the coolest places in the UK.

Night Out Rating : Epic.  They seem to like Cider and Rum more than the average, but the beer is good, the pubs are great and everyone is chilled.

Interesting Fact : Fry’s Chocolate in Bristol were the first to manufacture chocolate bars.

1. Manchester

So, here we are.  The winner for Tech Town 2019 - Manchester.  Home of the reigning (at time of going to press) Premier League Champions, Manchester City.  Famous for music and rain and lots of other stuff inbetween.  

Night Out Rating : Very good and varied.

Interesting Fact : The Worlds first passenger train station was in Manchester, which kind of begs the question where did the train go and how did they get off it, but there you go.

Well, there we have it.  As you can see it’s a great list of UK Tech Towns.  CompTIA didn’t actually trust me with the proper research, so to learn what actually makes these great Tech Towns, check out their research here

Do you agree? Have they missed an amazing place to live and work (apart from Nottingham)? - If so let me know in the comments..

See you next year to see if Manchester can hold onto its crown...


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