The Cities with the Most Gyms per Capita in the UK

The Cities with the Most Gyms per Capita in the UK

Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet and good motivation is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but the place where you live may also play a part. Some cities offer access to many more gyms, swimming pools and sports clubs than others. The team at money saving website DealsDaddy looked at the number of fitness facilities across 55 major cities in the UK in order to discover the places where staying in shape is most accessible.

We picked the most populous cities and towns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and checked the number of registered fitness businesses via the Companies House register. We also took into account the population of the respective towns and cities, and calculated the number of gyms per capita in order to identify the most health-conscious cities in the UK.

The Cities with the Most Gyms per Capita in the UK

We marked the 55 places in our research on a map and colour-coded them based on their gym density per capita for a better outlook on the big picture:

London is the only megacity in the UK and, as expected, it is home to the largest number of gyms – 1,165 in total. However, with a population several times that of the second most populous city in the country, this number does not measure up to the 98 facilities found in Leeds, for example. So, in order to identify the “fittest” cities, we calculated how many gyms there are per 100,000 residents, and found that London is not even in the top 30.

The Greater Manchester area is represented by more than one entry in the top 10, namely Manchester and Bolton, which are among the best places in the UK for a truly fitness conscious lifestyle. Regionally, the North West of England has the most cities with gyms per capita within the top 10 – Preston, Manchester, Bolton, and Liverpool.

1. Preston, Lancashire

Population: 136,239
Gyms: 49
Gyms per 100,000: 36

Granted city status in 2002, Preston is one of the UK’s newest cities and has an interesting sports history. Back in the 1880s, the local Preston North End F.C. was one of the founding members of the English Football Club and became the first team to be crowned English football champions. Currently, the city has 49 registered fitness facilities for a population of a little over 136K residents. This makes Preston the most fitness friendly city in the UK with 36 gyms per 100K people.

2. Glasgow

Population: 632,350
Gyms: 182
Gyms per 100,000: 29

Sports and fitness play a large role in the culture and lifestyle of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. It is not only home to a vast array of sports centres, but also to 182 active businesses registered as fitness facilities. This means that Glasgow is the second-most fitness conscious city in the UK, with approximately 29 gyms per 100,000 residents.

3. Manchester, Greater Manchester

Population: 566,896
Gyms: 149
Gyms per 100,000: 26

As one of the largest cities in the UK, Manchester has a large number of sports complexes and gyms. Of course, this is where the home stadium of Premier League club Manchester City is located. Along with the Etihad Stadium, there are several other stadiums, swimming pools and leisure centres. According to the public register, there are 149 gyms or 36 facilities per 100,000K residents in the City of Manchester.

4. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Population: 320,536
Gyms: 80
Gyms per 100,000: 25

Famous as an ice skating and ice hockey hub, Nottingham is a great city for staying fit. It is home to National league club Notts County, which is the oldest professional football club in the world (est. 1862) along with Premier League club Nottingham Forest. Fitness enthusiasts can also enjoy the 80 gyms across the city, making Nottingham the 4th best city in the UK for gym facilities.

5. Bolton, Greater Manchester

Population: 180,945
Gyms: 42
Gyms per 100,000: 23

Bolton, a town in the Greater Manchester area, is one of the smallest localities included in this survey. Still, with its 42 fitness facilities listed in the public register, it ranks 5th for gyms per capita in the UK.


In order to find the most fitness-friendly cities in the UK, we selected the 55 largest cities in terms of population according to official data by the Office for National Statistics, the National Records of Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Finding the number of fitness facilities in certain locations in the United Kingdom is tricky, since there are no localised official statistics, with government-published data available only for the entirety of the UK.

This is why our team looked at currently active businesses registered under the 93130 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which is used to identify the nature of business of a certain company. The code in question is used by fitness facilities. For this, we checked the public register maintained by the Companies House, a government-run organisation that incorporates and dissolves limited companies in the United Kingdom. Only businesses using this SIC code exclusively were taken into account, whereas firms registered under several codes were left out, as many in fact deal with health food, dietary supplements, fitness equipment, and other related products.

When conducting our research, we excluded company names that contain the following – health, wellness, wear, gym clothes, personal, food, leisure, train, cycle, pilates, clinic, yoga, boxing, nutrition, coach, coaching, priа сvate, weight, MMA, taekwondo, dance, tanning, diet, wrestling, and martial arts. We also omitted companies that included the word “flat” within their registered office address since these are often personal trainers rather than gym facilities.

Please note that for this comparison, we counted the number of businesses that are registered as fitness facilities. However, companies are responsible for submitting accurate information and House Companies do not necessarily verify this, meaning that some of these gyms may not be fitness facilities at all. Another thing to keep in mind is that while some gyms are described as “active” in the register, they may not be operational.

Raw Data

The Cities with the Most Gyms per Capita in the UK
City Population County Region/Country Fitness Facilities Gyms per 100K Residents
Preston 136239 Lancashire North West 49 35.97
Glasgow 632350 Glasgow Scotland 182 28.78
Manchester 566896 Greater Manchester North West 149 26.28
Nottingham 320536 Nottinghamshire East Midlands 80 24.96
Bolton 180945 Greater Manchester North West 42 23.21
Ipswich 147851 Suffolk East 34 23
Belfast 345418 County Antrim/ County Down Northern Ireland 77 22.29
Newport 137563 Newport Scotland 29 21.08
Liverpool 589774 Merseyside North West 124 21.03
Newcastle upon Tyne 290688 Tyne and Wear North East 60 20.64
Leeds 516298 West Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 98 18.98
Swansea 185033 Swansea Swansea Bay City Region 35 18.92
Milton Keynes 185408 Buckinghamshire South East 35 18.88
York 164934 North Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 29 17.58
Reading 257653 Berkshire South East 45 17.47
Exeter 127709 Devon South West 22 17.23
Colchester 140027 Essex East 24 17.14
Cardiff 356425 Cardiff Scotland 61 17.11
Bristol 580199 Bristol South West 99 17.06
Derby 264430 Derbyshire East Midlands 44 16.64
Huddersfield 172607 West Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 28 16.22
Luton 222043 Bedfordshire East 36 16.21
Gloucester 148167 Gloucestershire South West 24 16.2
Norwich 199245 Norfolk East 32 16.06
Peterborough 179349 Cambridgeshire East 28 15.61
Poole 159759 Dorset South West 24 15.02
Leicester 415584 Leicestershire East Midlands 62 14.92
Bradford 358573 West Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 53 14.78
Cambridge 149155 Cambridgeshire East 22 14.75
Northampton 230070 Northamptonshire East Midlands 31 13.47
Watford 141731 Hertfordshire East 19 13.41
Southampton 270333 Hampshire South East 36 13.32
London 8960924 London Greater London 1165 13
Swindon 192923 Wiltshire South West 25 12.96
Dundee City 148210 Dundee Scotland 19 12.82
Slough 158149 Berkshire South East 20 12.65
Gateshead 122239 Tyne and Wear North East 15 12.27
Warrington 172330 Cheshire North West 20 11.61
Edinburgh 506520 Edinburgh Scotland 56 11.06
Wolverhampton 247055 West Midlands West Midlands 27 10.93
Kingston upon Hull 287705 East Riding of Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 31 10.77
Sheffield 557039 South Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber 59 10.59
Plymouth 266552 Devon South West 28 10.5
Birmingham 1159888 West Midlands West Midlands 121 10.43
Coventry 388793 Warwickshire West Midlands 38 9.77
Sunderland 174869 Tyne and Wear North East 17 9.72
Aberdeen 198590 Aberdeen Scotland 19 9.57
Telford 153143 Shropshire West Midlands 14 9.14
Bournemouth 198582 Dorset South West 18 9.06
Portsmouth 229669 Hampshire South East 19 8.27
Middlesbrough 177609 North Yorkshire North East 14 7.88
Stoke-on-Trent 278365 Staffordshire West Midlands 21 7.54
Oxford 161662 Oxfordshire South East 12 7.42
Blackpool 145007 Lancashire North West 10 6.9
Southend-on-Sea 184708 Essex East 11 5.96