Manchester named in top 10 best UK cities for a night out – but Salford’s one of the ‘worst’

It's according to the Night Out Index compiled using a research survey by Public First.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 10th July 2023

Manchester has been named as one of the top 10 best places in the UK for a night out, but it’s not so good news for Salford.

With Manchester being the home of 24-hour party people and having a nightlife scene that’s globally renowned, it’s probably no surprise to hear that a new public survey has crowned the city one of the country’s best for a night out.

A short trip over to the neighbouring Salford however, and it’s a different story as the fellow Greater Manchester city is ranked as being one of the worst nightlife spots.

The Night Out Index has been compiled using newly-conducted research by public opinion consultancy, Public First, and has looked at the size of the night time economy across more than 100 major towns and cities in England and Wales to create a top 10 best list, and on the other end of the spectrum, a top 10 worst list.

Manchester only narrowly secured its place on the favourable list, however, just managing to grab the coveted tenth spot.


The Southern coastal city of Brighton was named the best place to head to for night out, based on the number of restaurants, pubs, bars, and clubs it’s home to, while the picturesque city of Bath came in second place, and the historic Yorkshire city of York took the number three spot.

Fellow Northern cities Chester, Newcastle, and Harrogate also made the top 10.


On the flip side, Salford has found itself at the front end of the list of the top 10 worst places for a night out, grabbing the fourth spot and only being beaten by the the southern trio of Basildon, Bracknell, and Slough at number one.

Bradford was the only other northern representative to make the top 10, with the rest of the ‘worst’ list featuring southern towns and cities.

Top 10 Best Places for a Night Out

  1. Brighton
  2. Bath
  3. York
  4. Chester
  5. Shrewsbury
  6. Cambridge
  7. Harrogate
  8. Newcastle
  9. Cheltenham
  10. Manchester

Public First said that the Night Out Index focused on licensed establishments to measure the strength of nightlife, the Mirror reports, and did not consider unlicensed evening establishments – including shisha bars or late-night dessert parlours, which have both grown significantly in popularity.


Overall, Public First says northern towns have seen some of the biggest improvements in nightlife, with Leeds, Liverpool, and Halifax leading the way with a roughly 20% increase in the per capita number of night time establishments.

On another local level though, according to Public First, Rochdale has seen one of the biggest declines in the Night Out Index.

Just under half (46%) of major towns and cities in England and Wales have seen an improvement in nightlife over the past decade, as measured by the Night Out Index, while the remaining 54% have seen a deterioration.

It’s according to the Night Out Index compiled using a research survey by Public First / Credit: shawnanggg (via Unsplash)

Top 10 Worst Places for a Night Out

  1. Slough
  2. Basildon
  3. Bracknell
  4. Salford
  5. Chatham
  6. Harlow
  7. Luton
  8. Bradford
  9. Redditch
  10. Gillingham

Speaking on the findings of the Night Out Index, Scott Corfe – Data and Modelling Team Director at Public First – said: “Our Night Out Index reveals big differences in the health of the night-time economy in different parts of the country, as well as some major changes in the make-up of the night time economy with the shift towards restaurants.

“It’s encouraging to see the nighttime economy contributing to ‘levelling up’ in the North of England, particularly with the greatly improved nightlife scenes in Leeds, Liverpool and Halifax over the past decade.


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“However, with the Night Out Index declining in over half of towns and cities over the past decade, much needs to be done to strengthen the night-time economy elsewhere.”

Featured Image – WallpaperFlare