A graphic displaying lots of fast good such as pizzas and cheeseburgers.

Fast, easy food is more popular than ever. In fact, it’s estimated that about half of the average Briton’s meals are cooked outside of the home. Such as through restaurant dining, a quick meal deal, takeaways — or with food delivered to the door. 

And because we’re a nation obsessed with ordering in, we thought we would look at the best places to live in the UK if you’re looking for some fine at-home dining. And also at the worst places — areas where you’re probably sticking to the weekly food shop for good reason. 

Here’s what we found: 

 

The best and worst places for food delivery in the UK

Where does your hometown come on the list?  

# Town/City No. of residents for every delivery option
1 Salford 94
2 Stockport 139
3 Gateshead 140
4 Portsmouth 169
5 Sale 192
6 Oldham 192
7 London 211
8 Sutton Coldfield 258
9 Bedford 262
10 Preston 278
11 Watford 280
12 St Albans 281
13 Brighton 302
14 Rochdale 306
15 Gillingham 312
16 Maidstone 315
17 Solihull 317
18 Cambridge 325
19 Doncaster 326
20 Stevenage 352
21 Lincoln 353
22 Halifax 355
23 Blackburn 356
24 Wakefield 356
25 Bournemouth 359
26 Worcester 364
27 Colchester 366
28 Barnsley 368
29 Crawley 370
30 Cheltenham 374
31 Newcastle upon Tyne 377
32 Nottingham 383
33 Manchester 399
34 Hastings 403
35 Rotherham 404
36 Chester 404
37 Reading 409
38 Southend-on-Sea 410
39 Bath 413
40 High Wycombe 416
41 Slough 418
42 Oxford 419
43 Hemel Hempstead 421
44 Grimsby 428
45 Aberdeen 430
46 Eastbourne 440
47 Basildon 443
48 Weston-super-Mare 449
49 Woking 450
50 Wigan 452
51 Exeter 459
52 Chelmsford 461
53 Nuneaton 464
54 Norwich 473
55 Newport 475
56 York 476
57 Milton Keynes 477
58 Leicester 485
59 St Helens 508
60 Southampton 514
61 Cardiff 516
62 Chesterfield 518
63 Worthing 522
64 Basingstoke 532
65 Wolverhampton 534
66 Glasgow 538
67 Edinburgh 538
68 Hartlepool 560
69 Bolton 567
70 Ipswich 569
71 Southport 570
72 Coventry 572
73 Birkenhead 579
74 Northampton 580
75 Peterborough 592
76 Huddersfield 595
77 Leeds 601
78 Darlington 604
79 Gloucester 609
80 Belfast 639
81 Luton 648
82 Swindon 653
83 Plymouth 666
84 Dundee 671
85 Telford 679
86 Blackpool 687
87 Swansea 699
88 Warrington 732
89 Middlesbrough 750
90 Bristol 769
91 Rayleigh 778
92 Sunderland 785
93 Derby 830
94 Sheffield 836
95 Liverpool 848
96 Bradford 864
97 Poole 877
98 Birmingham 949
99 Stoke-on-Trent 969
100 Kingston upon Hull 1,061

 

Here are our main “takeaways” from the list

  • FOUR of the top six locations are all in the Greater Manchester area with Oldham just missing out in sixth place.
  • In Salford, there is a stunning one delivery option for every 94 people. That’s more than 10 times better than in Hull, where there’s just one delivery option for every 1,061 residents.
  • Gateshead — a modest town in the north of England has one of the highest ratios of delivery options to people in the entire country. Who would have guessed?
  • The only location in the south of the UK to be featured in the top 5 is Portsmouth, with one delivery option for every 169 people. 


And for the bad:

  • Poor Kingston-upon-Hull was the only major city to have more than a thousand residents for every delivery option. Making it ten times worse off than the top spot, Salford.
  • Mega-city Birmingham also had a surprisingly poor choice of food given it’s diverse and huge population — with one delivery option for every 949 people.

Although it didn’t quite make it into the bottom five (it just missed out, being in 95th out of 100) we were also surprised by major city Liverpool’s lack of prominence on the list.

A map of the UK showing the best and the worst takeaway spots.

 

Looking at London

London has a bigger population than many European countries. So we thought it worth looking at each of the 32 boroughs individually. 

# Borough No. of residents for every delivery option
1 Kensington and Chelsea 69
2 Islington 82
3 Hammersmith and Fulham 90
4 Camden 96
5 Hackney 99
6 Tower Hamlets 107
7 Southwark 164
8 Merton 168
9 Lambeth 171
10 Westminster 173
11 Wandsworth 179
12 Haringey 184
13 Harrow 218
14 Kingston upon Thames 242
15 Brent 251
16 Lewisham 253
17 Newham 257
18 Waltham Forest 277
19 Ealing 283
20 Barking & Dagenham 289
21 Richmond upon Thames 294
22 Sutton 294
23 Greenwich 320
24 Hounslow 343
25 Redbridge 378
26 Havering 509
27 Hillingdon 521
28 Bexley 533
29 Bromley 538
30 Croydon 538
31 Enfield 662
32 Barnet 978

All of the areas in Greater London with the fewest delivery option choices tend to be in boroughs on the fringes. Bexley, Bromley and Croydon all hug each other in the southwest. And Enfield and Barnet are the two northernmost boroughs. If we move slightly further up the list this pattern is repeated — Hillingdon, Havering and Redbridge are all fringe boroughs. The top 5 London boroughs — perhaps unsurprisingly — are all located right in the centre of Greater London. Where tourist hotspots are denser and where residential populations tend to be lower. 

But in terms of the number of delivery options per head, all of the boroughs serve their takeaway-hungry customers quite well — with the exception of Enfield and Barnet. Croydon, the third worst performing borough, would stand on its own in position 67 if included in the top 100 towns and cities list above. 

 

Methodology

We looked at the 100 biggest UK cities and towns by population using ONS data. Then for each location, we input a postcode representative of the city or town centre into Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats and counted the number of available delivery options. We then divided this total by the population of the town/city to determine which location had the most (or least) delivery options to service that population. We did this around 4pm on each of the websites on typical working days.

Here’s how we got the details for each of the delivery platforms specifically:

For Just Eat we used this search string: [Location] site:[Website URL]. For example, Derby site:just-eat.co.uk. This brought up a centralised, location-centre postcode automatically — usually as the first result. In any case, we only used results returned from the first relevant result on Google for the data. For Just Eat the number of eateries is clearly displayed at the top of the page during a search. But we also included the number of restaurants taking pre-orders (you can find that total if you scroll down the page).  

For Deliveroo, to get a total count, we would sort by “delivery” and “distance” after searching for the city centre of each respective location. The grand total of restaurants would then appear at the top. 

For Uber Eats, we would again sort by city centre, and then filter by “Rating” as that would always return a number — and the largest number of restaurant options. 

*Data collected across 21-23 June 2021 during standard working hours.