A YouGov ranking of the best and worst accents in the British Isles has got people arguing online

The controversial 2014 poll rated accents based on how 'attractive' or 'unattractive' they are.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 7th January 2022

Did you see that YouGov dug up its old poll on the best and worst accents in the British Isles and it sparked quite the row online this week?

Well, in case you missed it, the market research and data analytics firm took to Twitter to respond to a tweet that intended to “start a civil war” by asking people for their takes on what the “worst accent” in the UK was, and so decided to shared the results from its controversial 2014 poll – which rated accents based on how attractive or unattractive they are.

The ‘Southern Irish’ accent was found to be the most appealing, according to those who voted, claiming a net attractiveness score of +42.

Other accents deemed attractive and placing highly include received pronunciation (RP) – or ‘BBC English’ – Welsh, Yorkshire, West Country, and Geordie, while the Scouse, Cockney, Glaswegian, and unfortunately for us, Mancunian, accents ranked low on the list.

The Birmingham, or ‘Brummie’ accent, was voted to be the most unattractive in the poll.


At the time the poll was conducted, YouGov said thee were some “vast differences” in perceived attractiveness of accents.

And if the recent rowing on Twitter is anything to go by, that’s definitely the case.


YouGov said that the West Country accent is considered the most attractive to over-60s, with 63% of the oldest generation seeing it as attractive, compared to only 22% of 18-24 year-olds. The opposite perception had developed for Northern Irish too, with most 18-24 year-olds (54%) seeing it as attractive, compared to only 37% of over-60s, and then the Geordie accent also had a greater appeal to older British people too.

Here’s the list in full:

The Most Attractive Accents in the British Isles

  1. Southern Irish
  2. Received Pronunciation
  3. Welsh
  4. Yorkshire
  5. West Country
  6. Geordie
  7. Northern Irish
  8. Glaswegian
  9. Cockney
  10. Mancunian
  11. Scouse
  12. Brummie
YouGov’s controversial 2014 poll rated British accents based on how attractive or unattractive they are / Credit: Unsplash (Amy Humphries)

The results from the poll, unsurprisingly, sparked criticism and got a lot of people talking.


But rather than people just being outraged that their accents were deemed to be unattractive and making claims that it isn’t the case, criticism largely came from the structure and wording of the survey instead.

Plenty of people called out the term ‘Southern Irish’ and objected to Ireland falling under the umbrella of ‘the British Isles’ while the explaining that the country of Ireland has countless different accent and dialect variations.

Similar criticisms were also levelled at the use of ‘Welsh’ and ‘Northern Irish’, while many couldn’t wrap their heads around why ‘Glaswegian’ appeared to be the only Scottish accent on the list.

The most common critique from people responding on social media was that the UK is filled with accents that change ever-so-slightly, or in some cases quite drastically, from one town or city to the next – for which the region of Greater Manchester is a great example of – and so it doesn’t really make sense to generalise and say that one place has one specific and distinctive accent.

Do you agree? Fancy having a read through some of the responses and critiques by people? Keen to give your thoughts on the debate?


You can get stuck in over on YouGov’s Twitter here.

Featured Image – Unsplash (Mangopear Creative)