The Niche Hobby Enthusiasts’ Home Buying Guide

Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, which is why it’s important to consider your property criteria. From the number of bedrooms, to the size of the outdoor space, everyone has their own non-negotiables when it comes to finding their dream home. 

But what about the neighbourhood and surrounding area you’re moving into, do the local amenities match up to your wants and needs? For home buyers with niche interests, access to their favourite hobbies could also be an important consideration. 

So, whether you’re into medieval re-enactment, extreme sports, or Victorian architecture, our experts have scoured the nation to discover where in the country is best to live, based on an array of niche interests.

The niche hobby categories

Our mortgage experts analysed 40 unique hobbies and discovered 3,332 individual locations in 84 places around the UK. 

Read on to discover the best place to consider buying your next home. 

Best places to live for niche hobbies

Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to sheer quantity, some of the UK’s biggest cities take the top 10 spots for places to live for unconventional hobbies. 

London is the capital of niche hobbies, with locals having access to 1,155 different locations to satisfy their interests.

 As expected in London, the culture category performed extremely well, with architecture revealed as the hobby with the most prevalent locations in the capital. Architecture also proved to be the leading niche hobby in Edinburgh, with the city offering 20 hotspots for budding architects to discover. This plus 246 other hobby options saw the Scottish capital take second position on the list. 

Skater boys, and girls might want to consider a move up north, with the northern powerhouse Manchester taking third place with 160 hobby options overall, 17 of which were skate parks.

Home buyers with a keen interest in rock climbing should consider moving to Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds or Bristol, with all cities offering multiple options for lovers of the extreme sport. 

For keen UFO spotters, our analysis also noted reported sightings from 2007 to date, allowing buyers the opportunity to relocate based on extra-terrestrial activity. London topped the list with 182 reported sightings, followed by Manchester, and Leeds with 66 and 38. Scottish cities Glasgow and Edinburgh round off the top five, with 28 and 27 reported sightings since 2007.

City living isn’t for everyone, and with more people considering a move out to the suburbs and beyond in 2020, the analysis also revealed the best towns for alternative home buyers.

Best towns to live for niche hobbies 

Bury, Northampton and Milton Keynes take the top three spots, with each town offering over 30 niche hobby locations and multiple indoor rock-climbing options for locals. In fourth and fifth position both Blackpool and Bath have 30 and 29 hobby locations available respectively, with both offering great options for home buyers looking for hidden gems (locations or activities defined by Trip Advisor reviews as a hidden gem).

Placing ninth overall and coming in top for out-of-city locations, the northern town of Stockport is the best place for independent cinema lovers, looking for a new home in the suburbs. 

Top locations by niche hobbies 

Considering a move, but unsure on where to look based on your niche hobby? Explore our interactive map below. 

Select your chosen hobby to view the best locations based on quantity available.

Top locations by budget 

Whilst the capital might be the number one location for people with unconventional hobbies, its famously high house prices mean it’s probably out of reach for most buyers. However, our analysis has also revealed the best locations for your chosen hobby based on your house buying budget.

For buyers with a budget of £200,000 or less, Glasgow could be a great location to consider. It has a wealth of hobbies to suit varied unconventional interests and a more attainable average house price of £179,247. Nottingham and Liverpool are also cities to consider, with average house prices under £180,000 and 103 and 100 hobbies respectively.

Searching with a maximum budget of £250,000? Buyers should perhaps consider a move up north, with Manchester topping the list with a total of 205 hobbies and an average house price of £203,956. Another northern city, York offers residents over 100 hobbies on their doorstep and house prices in line with the national average of £237,834.

For homeowners looking to relocate with a budget of between £250,000 and £400,000, our analysis reveals options in both the north and the south with Edinburgh at number one, with a total of 226 hobbies and an average house price of £285,238. Southern cities, Bristol and Brighton, appear in second and third place with 82 and 50 niche hobbies, but slightly higher average house prices.

And finally, for potential buyers with a larger budget, cities London and Oxford are the places to be, followed by the town of Reading in third place. However, it’s worth noting outside of London a larger budget does not necessarily guarantee you access to a higher quantity of niche hobbies, with both Oxford and Reading only offering 59 and 25 hobbies in total.

Whether you’re looking for a first-time buyer mortgage, or a homeowner considering whether to move house, check out Bankrate UK’s guide to choosing the right mortgage for you.     

Full methodology 

We gathered all the niche hobbies/attractions in the UK from Atlas Obscura (a definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders), to build out a list of the UK's capitals of 'weird'. We then combined this with trip advisor data on niche terms (hidden, hipster, independent, haunted and abandoned). We also sourced information on over 7,000 UFO sightings from https://www.uk-ufo.co.uk/

Finally, we collected data on a range of niche hobbies such as board game venues, and used online directories for extreme sports, comic cons, car shows, pottery classes and quidditch teams. 

We created a tally of all hobbies and niche attractions and added in the average house price for each location’s county according to Zoopla (accurate as of September 2020). Taking the total number of every hobby across all sources, we then capped the locations in our study to only include places in the UK that had over 10 ‘niche’ attractions, leaving us with a sample of 84 towns and cities across the UK.

We cross-referenced total hobby locations by town/city with the individual price brackets to determine the best locations by budget.