List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom

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A metropolitan area is generally defined as consisting of an urban area, conurbation or agglomeration, together with the surrounding area to which it is closely economically and socially integrated through commuting.

The European Union's ESPON project has defined a harmonised series of metropolitan areas across Europe, made up of two components: Morphological Urban Areas (MUAs), which are similar to urban areas and form the densely populated urban cores of metropolitan areas; and Functional Urban Areas (FUAs) which form the labour basin surrounding Morphological Urban Areas.[1]

Morphological Urban Areas have been calculated by combining contiguous local administrative units (LAU 2) with population densities greater than 650 inhabitants per square kilometre, with Functional Urban Areas then being calculated by combining surrounding local administrative units where 10% or more of the workforce works within the core Morphological Urban Area.[2]

According to the harmonised European definition, there were eighteen metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom with populations of more than 500,000 at the time of the 2001 census.

This lists UK metropolitan areas defined by ESPON, which excludes combined conurbations such as the Liverpool-Manchester megalopolis, which has a combined population of 5.6m.[3] It also excludes city regions such as those formed in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, which are typically areas covered by a combined authority.

Metropolitan areas in the UK[edit]

Source[4]

Rank Metropolitan area Population (2011) Morphological Urban Areas within metropolitan area (population)
1 London metropolitan area 14,032,000 Greater London Urban Area (9,787,000), Reading (318,000), Southend (295,000), Medway (274,000), Luton/Dunstable (258,000), Farnborough/Aldershot (253,000), Slough (145,000), High Wycombe (133,000), Woking (124,000), Basildon (113,000), Maidstone (113,000), Chelmsford (112,000), Crawley (110,000), Basingstoke (107,000), Bracknell/Ascot (96,000), Guildford (96,000), Hemel Hempstead (90,000), Harlow (87,000), Stevenage (86,000), Maidenhead (85,000), Aylesbury (75,000), Gravesend (66,000), Sittingbourne (63,000), St. Albans (59,000), Tunbridge Wells (57,000), Horsham (56,000), Braintree (53,000), Cheshunt (52,000), Brentwood (49,000), Welwyn Garden City (43,000), Reigate/Redhill (40,000), Tonbridge (39,000), Bishop's Stortford (38,000), Grays (37,000), Letchworth (34,000), Windsor (33,000), Hitchin (33,000), Harpenden (30,000), Sevenoaks (30,000), Hatfield (30,000), East Grinstead (26,000), Hertford (26,000), Chesham (21,000), Hoddesdon (20,000), Ware (18,000), Berkhamsted (18,000), Amersham (14,000), Sheerness (13,000) Beaconsfield (12,000), Dorking (11,000)
2 Birmingham metropolitan area 3,737,000 Birmingham-Wolverhampton (2,441,000), Coventry (359,000), Nuneaton (93,000), Cannock (86,000), Warwick/Leamington (80,000), Tamworth (77,000), Rugby (71,000), Lichfield (32,000), Rugeley (24,000), (23,000), Kenilworth (22,000), Atherstone (9,000), Southam (7,000), Alcester (6,000)
3 Manchester metropolitan area 2,794,000 Greater Manchester Urban Area (2,553,000), Macclesfield (59,000), Glossop (33,000), Marple (24,000), Rawtenstall (22,000), Buxton (21,000), Northwich (20,000), Haslingden (17,000), Knutsford (13,000), Bacup (13,000) New Mills (10,000), Chapel-en-le-Frith (9,000)
4 Leeds-Bradford metropolitan area 2,302,000 Leeds (766,000), Bradford (528,000), Huddersfield (219,000), Halifax (155,000), Wakefield (111,000), Castleford/Pontefract (102,000), Harrogate (76,000), Keighley (74,000), Dewsbury (63,000), Holmfirth (25,000), Knaresborough (15,000), Ilkley (15,000), Skipton (15,000), Otley (14,000), Wetherby (11,000)
5 Liverpool/Birkenhead metropolitan area 2,241,000 Liverpool Urban Area (864,000), Birkenhead Urban Area (325,000), Wigan/Ashton (220,000), Warrington (202,000), Widnes/Runcorn (128,000), Chester (121,000), Southport (90,000), Skelmersdale (39,000), Ormskirk (24,000)
6 Glasgow metropolitan area 1,788,000 Glasgow (1,228,000), East Kilbride (74,000), Greenock (60,000), Motherwell/Wishaw (59,000), Hamilton (53,000), Cumbernauld (50,000), Kilmarnock (46,000), Dumbarton (45,000), Kirkintilloch (20,000), Carluke (15,000), Helensburgh (15,000), Larkhall (15,000), Lanark (8,000), Kilbirnie (8,000), Strathaven (8,000), Beith (6,000), Lesmahagow (4,000)
7 Tyneside metropolitan area 1,599,000 Newcastle (880,000), Sunderland (335,000), Durham (41,000), Blyth (37,000), Houghton-le-Spring (37,000), Stanley (33,000), Cramlington (29,000), Ashington (28,000), Consett (27,000), Chester-le-Street (23,000), Peterlee (20,000), Seaham (20,000), Bedlington (18,000), Morpeth (14,000), Hexham (12,000), Prudhoe (12,000), Ponteland (11,000), Corbridge (4,000)
8 Sheffield metropolitan area 1,569,000 Sheffield (693,000), Barnsley/Dearne Valley (223,000), Doncaster (158,000), Chesterfield (113,000), Rotherham (110,000), Worksop (45,000), Dronfield (21,000), Thorne (17,000), Maltby (17,000), Hatfield (16,000), Conisbrough (15,000), Mexborough (15,000), Bolsover (12,000), Dinnington (11,000), Eckington (11,000), Stocksbridge (10,000), Chapeltown (10,000), Penistone (10,000), Killamarsh (9,000), Clay Cross (9,000), Clowne (7,000), Tickhill (5,000), Bawtry (3,000)
9 South Hampshire metropolitan area 1,547,000 Portsmouth (461,000), Southampton (377,000), Havant/Waterlooville (125,000), Fareham (98,000), Gosport (83,000), Bognor Regis (66,000), Winchester (45,000), Chichester (27,000), Hythe (20,000), Romsey (18,000), Petersfield (15,000), Selsey (11,000), Bishop's Waltham (7,000), New Alresford (6,000), Lyndhurst (3,000) Fawley (15,000)
10 Nottingham-Derby metropolitan area 1,543,000 Nottingham (744,000), Derby (270,000), Mansfield (185,000), Burton upon Trent (122,000), Grantham (42,000), Ilkeston (38,000), Newark (35,000), Alfreton (24,000), Heanor (23,000), Belper (22,000), Ripley (21,000), Eastwood (19,000), Shirebrook (13,000), Warsop (12,000), Bingham (9,000), Radcliffe-on-Trent (8,000), Southwell (7,000), Ashbourne (7,000), Castle Donington (4,000), Bottesford (4,000), Kegworth (4,000)
11 Edinburgh metropolitan area 1,342,022 Edinburgh (493,000), Falkirk (157,000), Livingston (56,000), Dunfermline (55,000), Kirkcaldy (49,000), Glenrothes (39,000), Levenmouth (37,000), Musselburgh (22,000), Bathgate (20,000), Bonnyrigg (16,000), Penicuik (16,000), Broxburn (14,000), Linlithgow (14,000), Dalkeith (12,000), Dunbar (12,000), Cowdenbeath (12,000), Whitburn (11,000), Armadale (11,000), Haddington (10,000), Queensferry (9,000), Tranent (11,642), Prestonpans (7,000), Loanhead (7,000), Gorebridge (6,000)
12 Cardiff-Newport metropolitan area 1,315,000 Cardiff (447,000), Newport (192,000), Cynon Valley 66,000), Merthyr Tydfil (61,000), Rhondda Valley (60,000), Barry (52,000), Bridgend (49,000), Cwmbran (47,000), Pontypool (36,000), Pontypridd (33,000), Ebbw Vale/Brynmawr (33,000), Caerphilly (30,000), Ystrad Mynach (29,000), Ebbw Vale (22,000), Maesteg (21,000), Porthcawl (16,000), Tredegar (15,000), Chepstow (12,000), Monmouth (11,000), Tonyrefail (11,000), Dalgety Bay (10,000), Abergavenny (10,000), Llantwit Major (9,000), Rhymney (9,000), Pencoed (9,000), Pyle (7,000), Treharris (6,000), Magor (6,000), Blaenavon (6,000), Cowbridge (4,000), Usk (3,000), Pontycymer (3,000)
13 Bristol metropolitan area 1,151,000 Bristol (617,000), Bath (89,000), Weston-super-Mare (76,000), Chippenham (45,000), Yate (35,000), Trowbridge (33,000), Frome (26,000), Clevedon (25,000), Portishead (24,000), Radstock/Midsomer Norton (23,000), Burnham-on-Sea (20,000), Warminster (17,000), Nailsea (16,000), Melksham (15,000), Westbury (15,000), Corsham (13,000), Thornbury (12,000), Wells (11,000), Shepton Mallet (10,000), Cheddar (6,000), Wotton-under-Edge (6,000)
14 Belfast metropolitan area 944,000 Belfast (673,000), Craigavon (61,000), Bangor (60,000), Larne (32,000), Newtownards (28,000), Carrickfergus (28,000), Antrim (20,000), Ballyclare (9,000), Comber (9,000), Dromore (8,000), Carryduff (7,000), Randalstown (5,000), Moira (4,000)
15 Brighton and Hove metropolitan area 823,000 Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton (474,000), Eastbourne (118,000), Bognor Regis (64,000), Burgess Hill (31,000), Seaford (27,000), Haywards Heath (23,000), Hailsham (20,000), Lewes (16,000), Uckfield (14,000), Peacehaven (14,000), Newhaven (13,000), Steyning (6,000), Arundel (3,000)
16 Leicester metropolitan area 755,000 Leicester (509,000), Loughborough/Shepshed (72,000), Hinckley/Earl Shilton (63,000), Coalville (39,000), Melton Mowbray (27,000), Market Harborough (23,000), Ashby-de-la-Zouch (13,000), Lutterworth (9,000)
17 Middlesbrough metropolitan area 726,000 Middlesbrough (389,000), Darlington (106,000), Hartlepool (92,000), Newton Aycliffe (27,000), Spennymoor (20,000), Guisborough (18,000), Northallerton (17,000), Bishop Auckland (16,000), Catterick Garrison (13,000), Richmond (8,000), Sedgefield (5,000), Barnard Castle (5,000), Stokesley (5,000), Great Ayton (5,000)
18 Stoke-on-Trent metropolitan area 678,000 Stoke-on-Trent (373,000), Crewe (84,000), Winsford (30,000), Congleton (26,000), Leek (21,000), Biddulph (20,000), Sandbach (18,000), Nantwich (17,000), Stone (16,000), Middlewich (13,000), Uttoxeter (13,000), Alsager (12,000), Market Drayton (12,000), Cheadle (12,000), Holmes Chapel (6,000), Loggerheads (5,000)
19 Bournemouth-Poole metropolitan area 600,000 Bournemouth-Poole (466,000), Ferndown (27,000), Lymington (17,000), Verwood (15,000), Ringwood (14,000), Blandford Forum (11,000), Wareham (8,000), West Moors (8,000), Wimborne Minster (7,000), Leonards and St Ives (7,000), Fordingbridge (6,000), Milford on Sea (5,000), Bransgore (4,000), Lytchett Matravers (3,000), Bere Regis (2,000)
20 Northampton metropolitan area 527,000 Northampton (220,000), Kettering (82,000), Wellingborough (75,000), Corby (65,000), Rushden (36,000), Daventry (25,000), Irthlingborough (9,000), Towcester (9,000), Thrapston (6,000)
21 Swansea metropolitan area 516,000 Swansea (300,000), Neath-Port Talbot (140,000), Llanelli (50,000), Ystradgynlais (11,000), Pontarddulais (6,000), Ammanford (5,000), Burry Port (4,000)
22 Norwich metropolitan area 500,000 Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (97,000), Lowestoft (71,000), Dereham (19,000), Wymondham (14,000), Attleborough (10,000), Beccles (10,000), Hethersett (6,000), Aylsham (6,000), Bungay (5,000), Kessingland (4,000), Mulbarton (4,000), Long Stratton (4,000), Brundall (4,000), Spixworth (4,000), Horsford (4,000), Acle (3,000), Mattishall (3,000), Blofield (3,000), Wroxham (2,000)
23 Hull metropolitan area 433,000 Hull (314,000), Beverley (29,000), Goole (20,000), Barton-upon-Humber (9,000), Hornsea (8,000), Brough (7,000), Hedon (7,000), Withernsea (6,000), Market Weighton (6,000), South Cave (5,000), Howden (4,000), Swanland (4,000), North Ferriby (4,000), Barrow upon Humber (3,000), Thorngumbald (3,000), Keyingham (2,000), Levan (2,000)
24 Central Lancashire metropolitan area 420,661 Preston-Leyland-Chorley (313,000), Longridge (8,000), Garstang (7,000)
25 North Lancashire metropolitan area 408,000 Burnley (149,000), Blackburn (147,000), Accrington (80,000), Clitheroe (15,000), Barnoldswick (11,000), Earby (6,000)
26 Oxford metropolitan area 367,000 Oxford (171,000), Bicester (33,000), Abingdon (33,000), Witney (28,000), Didcot (25,000), Carterton (16,000), Brackley (13,000), Thame (12,000), Wantage (11,000), Wallingford (8,000), Chipping Norton (6,000), Woodstock (3,000), Charlbury (3,000), Watlington (3,000), Burford (2,000)
27 Peterborough metropolitan area 354,000 Peterborough (190,000), Spalding (29,000), Stamford (22,000), March (22,000), Whittlesey (16,000), Bourne (14,000), Oakham (11,000), Yaxley (10,000), Oundle (6,000), Market Deeping (6,000), Ramsey (6,000), Sawtry (6,000), Uppingham (5,000), Crowland (4,000), Stilton (3,000), Alconbury (2,000), Wittering (2,000)
28 Cambridge metropolitan area 350,000 Cambridge (158,000), Haverhill (27,000), Huntingdon (24,000), Newmarket (20,000), Ely (20,000), Royston (16,000), Saffron Walden (16,000), St Ives (16,000), Soham (11,000), Cambourne (8,000), Sawston (7,000), Cottenham (6,000), Godmanchester (6,000), Burwell (6,000), Bar Hill (4,000), Linton (4,000), Fenstanton (3,000), Papworth Everard (3,000), Longstanton (3,000), Stapleford (2,000)
29 Plymouth metropolitan area 343,000 Plymouth (262,000), Saltash (16,000), Tavistock (12,000), Ivybridge (12,000), Liskeard (11,000), Torpoint (8,000), Callington (5,000), South Brent (3,000)
30 Gloucester-Cheltenham metropolitan area 341,000 Gloucester (150,000), Cheltenham (116,000), Stroud (25,000), Tewkesbury (11,000), Bishop's Cleeve (11,000), Cinderford (8,000), Dursley (7,000), Winchcombe (5,000), Newent (5,000), Mitcheldean (3,000)
31 Aberdeen metropolitan area 332,000 Aberdeen (229,000), Stonehaven (12,000), Inverurie (11,000), Westhill (10,000), Ellon (10,000), Portlethen (8,000), Banchory (7,000), Dyce (6,000), Kintore (4,000), Peterculter (4,000), Newtonhill (3,000), Oldmeldrum (2,000)
32 Milton Keynes metropolitan area 322,000 Milton Keynes (249,000), Leighton Buzzard (37,000), Flitwick (13,000), Buckingham (12,000), Ampthill (7,000), Winslow (4,000)
33 Swindon metropolitan area 309,000 Swindon (209,000), Cirencester (19,000), Calne (17,000), Devizes (12,000), Royal Wootton Bassett (11,000), Marlborough (8,000), Highworth (8,000), Faringdon (7,000), Hungerford (6,000), Malmesbury (5,000), Cricklade (4,000), Lechlade (3,000)
34 Blackpool metropolitan area 304,000 Blackpool (239,000), Fleetwood (26,000), Kirkham (7,000)
35 North-East Kent metropolitan area 286,000 Margate-Ramsgate-Broadstairs (138,000), Herne Bay-Whitstable (69,000), Canterbury (55,000), Faversham (19,000), Sandwich (5,000)
36 Telford-Shrewsbury metropolitan area 278,000 Telford (155,000), Shrewsbury (72,000), Newport (12,000), Bridgnorth (12,000) Shifnal (7,000), Church Stretton (5,000), Wem (5,000), Albrighton (4,000), Much Wenlock (3,000), Pontesbury (3,000)
37 Colchester metropolitan area 275,000 Colchester (122,000), Clacton-on-Sea (53,000), Sudbury (22,000), Frinton and Walton (19,000), Harwich (18,000), Halstead (12,000), Tiptree (9,000), Brightlingsea (8,000), Mersea Island (7,000), Coggeshall (4,000), Manningtree (1,000)
38 Exeter metropolitan area 267,000 Exeter (124,000), Exmouth (34,000), Tiverton (20,000), Sidmouth (13,000), Honiton (12,000), Dawlish (11,000), Crediton (8,000), Cullompton (8,000), Ottery St Mary (8,000), Budleigh Salterton (6,000), Chudleigh (6,000), Topsham (6,000), Crankbrook (5,000), Exminster (3,000), Moretonhampstead (3,000)
39 York metropolitan area 260,000 York (202,000), Selby (15,000), Malton-Norton (13,000) Pocklington (8,000), Tadcaster (6,000), Easingwold (5,000) Stamford Bridge (4,000)
40 Ipswich metropolitan area 254,000 Ipswich (179,000), Felixstowe (24,000), Stowmarket (16,000), Hadleigh (8,000), Leiston (6,000), Needham Market (5,000), Saxmundham (4,000), Capel St. Mary (3,000), Framlingham (3,000), Aldeburgh (2,000), Wickham Market (2,000), Debenham (2,000)
41 Torbay metropolitan area 231,000 Torbay (131,000), Newton Abbott (26,000), Teignmouth (15,000), Totnes (8,000), Bovey Tracey (8,000), Ashburton (8,000), Kingskerswell (6,000), Buckfastleigh (4,000), Bishopsteignton (3,000)
42 Ashford-Dover-Folkestone metropolitan area 230,000 Ashford (74,000), Folkestone-Hythe (62,000), Dover (31,000), Deal (30,000), Tenterden (8,000), New Romney (7,000), Lydd (7,000)
43 Dundee metropolitan area 224,000 Dundee (157,000), Arbroath (24,000), Forfar (14,000), Carnoustie (11,000), Newport-on-Tay (8,000), Kirriemuir (6,000), Coupar Angus (2,000), Inchture (2,000)
44 Lincoln metropolitan area 224,000 Lincoln (130,000), Gainsborough (21,000), Sleaford (18,000), Horncastle (7,000), Ruskington (5,000), Woodhall Spa (4,000), Saxilby (4,000), Branston (4,000), Nettleham (4,000), Welton (4,000), Cherry Willingham (4,000), Market Rasen (3,000), Skellingthorpe (3,000), Washingborough (3,000), Collingham (3,000), Metheringham (3,000), Wragby (2,000), Navenby (2,000)
45 Bedford metropolitan area 202,000 Bedford (108,000), St Neots (40,000), Biggleswade (17,000), Sandy (11,000), Shefford (6,000), Bromham (5,000)
46 Grimsby metropolitan area 174,000 Grimsby-Cleethorpes (134,000), Louth (16,000), Immingham (10,000), Caistor (3,000), Laceby (3,000), Keelby (2,000)
47 Taunton-Bridgwater metropolitan area 167,000 Taunton (65,000), Bridgwater (41,000), Wellington (15,000), Chard (13,000), Street (12,000), Glastonbury (9,000), Ilminster (6,000), Wiveliscombe (3,000), Langport (3,000)
48 Hastings-Bexhill metropolitan area 164,000 Hastings-Bexhill (133,000), Rye (9,000), Battle (7,000), Robertsbridge (3,000), Winchelsea (2,000)
49 North Devon metropolitan area 107,000 Barnstaple (54,000), Bideford (17,000), Ilfracombe (11,000), Braunton (8,000), Northam (7,000) South Molton (5,000), Appledore (3,000), Great Torrington (2,000)
50 Dorchester-Weymouth metropolitan area 101,000 Weymouth (65,000), Dorchester (19,000), Bridport (14,000), Charminster (3,000)
51 Yeovil metropolitan area 100,000 Yeovil (45,000), Gillingham (12,000), Sherborne (10,000), Shaftesbury (7,000), Crewkerne (7,000), Wincanton (5,000), Somerton (5,000), Bruton (3,000), Stalbridge (3,000), Beaminster (3,000), Castle Cary (2,000), Ilchester (2,000)
52 Andover metropolitan area 84,000 Andover (64,000), Tidworth (11,000), Whitchurch (5,000), Ludgershall (4,000)
53 Newbury metropolitan area 79,000 Newbury (70,000), Hungerford (6,000), Kingsclere (3,000)
54 Salisbury metropolitan area 65,000 Salisbury (42,000), Amesbury (11,000), Durrington (7,000), Downton (3,000), Alderbury (2,000)

Metropolitan areas by Region[edit]

Article Out of Date


Region Region Population Metro Rank Metropolitan area Metro Population (2001)
London 8173941 1 London metropolitan area 13,709,000
West Midlands 5601847 2 Birmingham metropolitan area 3,683,000
20 Stoke 456,000
39 Telford 209,000
North West 7052177 3 Manchester metropolitan area 2,556,000
5 Liverpool/Birkenhead metropolitan area 2,241,000
22 Blackburn/Burnley 391,000
24 Preston 354,000
27 Blackpool 304,000
Yorkshire and the Humber 5283733 4 Leeds-Bradford metropolitan area 2,302,000
7 Sheffield metropolitan area 1,569,000
17 Middlesbrough metropolitan area 656,000
21 Hull 419,000
35 York 234,000
43 Grimsby 174,000
North East 2596886 6 Tyneside metropolitan area 1,599,000
South East 8634750 8 South Hampshire metropolitan area 1,547,000
15 Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton 769,000
30 Milton Keynes 271,000
33 Oxford 244,000
45 Hastings/Bexhill 164,000
East Midlands 4533222 9 Nottingham-Derby metropolitan area 1,543,000
16 Leicester metropolitan area 745,000
28 Northampton 288,000
42 Lincoln 176,000
Wales 11 Cardiff Urban Area 1,097,000
19 Swansea 462,000
South West 5288935 12 Bristol metropolitan area 1,041,000
18 Bournemouth/Poole area 531,000
25 Plymouth 343,000
26 Gloucester/Cheltenham 330,000
31 Swindon 260,000
32 Exeter 259,000
36 Torbay 231,000
East of England 5846965 23 Norwich 364,000
29 Cambridge 283,000
34 Ipswich 240,000
37 Peterborough 219,000
40 Bedford 202,000
41 Colchester 191,000
Scotland 10 Glasgow metropolitan area 1,395,000
14 Edinburgh 782,000
26 Aberdeen 332,000
38 Dundee 211,000
Northern Ireland 13 Belfast metropolitan area 799,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MUAs and FUAs delineation" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "The methodology" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 17. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Schulze Bäing, Andreas. "Shrinking cities and growing regions – emerging trends of new rural-urban relationships in the UK and Germany". 13 July. AESOP University of Manchester. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "British urban pattern: population data" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 119. Retrieved 22 February 2010.