List of smallest cities in the United Kingdom

The table displays the 28 smallest official cities in the United Kingdom across three measures. Most of these appear in all three of the following categories:

  • Area (Body):1 This default sort ranks the physically smallest 20 local government areas (parish/community, district, county) and built-up areas that have city status
  • Area (Locale):2 21 cities with the smallest same-name built-up area (many cities have much countryside and multiple settlements within their boundaries)
  • Census Population:3 26 cities around 100,000 residents and fewer since the 2001 census
Map of St. Davids in Pembrokeshire, Wales, demonstrating the size of the settlement (grey), compared to its wider community boundary. Also indicated are isolated hamlets within the city.
  City boundaries
    Built-up area

For the list of all 69 cities, and with additional information, see List of cities in the United Kingdom.

Lichfield, Hereford and Salisbury, in addition to being some of the smallest cities in England, are among the most populous civil parishes.

City Area (Body/Locale)1 Body1 Area (Locale)2 Locale/
Body %
Census Population3 Home Nation County
Rank sq mi (km2) Rank sq mi (km2) Rank
(2011)
2011 2001
City of London 1 1.12 (2.90) County 3 3 7,375 7,185[1] England City of London
Wells 2 2.11 (5.46) Parish 4 1.35 (3.50) 63.99% 4 10,536 10,406[2] Somerset
St Asaph 3 2.49 (6.45) Community 2 0.50 (1.29) 20.19% 2 3,355 3,491 Wales Denbighshire
Bangor 4 2.79 (7.23) Community 5 1.65 (4.27) 59.20% 6 16,358[3] 13,725[4] Gwynedd
Ripon 5 3.83 (9.92) Parish 7 1.97 (5.10) 51.36% 7 16,702[5] 15,922[6] England North Yorkshire
Armagh 6 None 11 3.97 (10.28) 5 14,749 14,590 Northern Ireland County Armagh
Chichester 7 4.12 (10.67) Parish 9 3.32 (8.60) 80.77% 10 26,795 23,731[7] England West Sussex
Truro 8 4.15 (10.75) Parish 8 2.83 (7.33) 68.25% 8 18,766 17,431[8] Cornwall
Lichfield 9 5.41 (14.01) Parish 10 3.35 (8.68) 61.84% 12 32,219 27,900[9] Staffordshire
Newry 10 None 16 5.43 (14.06) 11 26,967 27,433 Northern Ireland County Armagh/Down
Perth 11 None 18 6.71 (17.38) 16 46,970[10] 43,450 Scotland Perth & Kinross
Salisbury 12 7.14 (18.49) Parish 12 4.36 (11.29) 61.04% 13 40,302 39,726[11][12] England Wiltshire
Lisburn 13 None 19 7.53 (19.50) 14 45,370[13] 71,465 Northern Ireland County Antrim/Down
Hereford 14 7.85 (20.33) Parish 17 6.58 (17.04) 83.82% 17 58,896[14] 50,154[15] England Herefordshire
Stirling 15 None 21 7.91 (20.49) 15 45,750 45,115 Scotland Stirling
City of Westminster 16 8.29 (21.47) District 219,396 181,286 England Greater London
Inverness 17 None 10.28 (26.63) 18 61,235[16][17] 71,000 Scotland Highland
Worcester 18 12.85 (33.28) District 9.52 (24.66) 74.12% 24 98,768 93,353[18] England Worcestershire
Derry 19 None 13.10 (33.93) 20 85,016 83,652 Northern Ireland County Londonderry
Lincoln 20 13.78 (35.69) District 12.61 (32.66) 91.48% 22 93,541 85,595[19] England Lincolnshire
St Davids 17.88 (46.31) Community 1 0.23 (0.596) 1.29% 1 1,841 1,797[20] Wales Pembrokeshire
Ely 22.86 (59.21) Parish 6 1.84 (4.77) 8.04% 9 20,256 15,102[21] England Cambridgeshire
City of Bath 28.68 (74.28)5 Trustee 11.07 (28.67) 21 88,859 83,992[22] Somerset
City of Canterbury 119.25 (308.86) District 15 5.09 (13.18) 4.27% 151,145 135,278 Kent
City of Durham 186.68 (483.50)5 Trustee 14 4.96 (12.85) 23 94,375 87,709[23] County Durham
City of Winchester 255.20 (660.96) District 13 4.76 (12.33) 1.86% 26 116,595 107,222 Hampshire
City of Carlisle 401.28 (1,039.31) District 20 7.76 (20.10) 1.93% 25 107,524 100,739 Cumbria
City of Chester 448.04 (1,160.42)5 Trustee 9.85 (25.51) 19 79,645[24] 77,040[25] Cheshire

NotesEdit

  • Dashes mean no rank is given or that no local body exists. Missing body or locale statistics use the amounts shown in the other.
  • Statistics in italics have been added for completion of the table. These are in numerical but non-ranking order.
  • English cities prefixed 'City of...' are districts so named to distinguish them from a namesake settlement area which does not have city status, with the City of London having additional county status. All of these except London have several communities and suburbs within their boundaries, with most containing large swathes of countryside, extra settlements and sometimes parishes/communities.
  • ^1 The area (body) measurement is the size of a localised council area which is designated as a city, if there is one. See the Body column for their local government type. These council area boundaries are well-defined, and cities are typically awarded the honour via parish or principal governing public bodies, so it is used as the primary sizing definition. Most in the table are parishes (England) or communities (Wales), except for the City of London (county). Several districts that hold city status are shown as the areas become larger; these are named after their only settlement or largest town in the case of multiple settlements. Cities can also be boroughs, which are simply a honorific title for districts. In Scotland and Northern Ireland (see note2), wider council areas can hold the title on behalf of a city urban area much like a charter trust (see note5), and in Northern Ireland particularly, these mainly have multiple place names in their titles, so the area (body) does not apply in these cases. The column also substitutes the locale size (see note2) when there is no local body, as a second definition to rank the physical size of the cities. Some local legal entity types such as communities in Scotland or townlands in Northern Ireland do not at present hold city status.
  • ^2 The area (locale) reflects the built up area that most closely corresponds to the urban area of the named city settlement, which means for many small cities that much of the area is rural land. It is listed for comparison with the public body measurement. It is used in the statistics instead of the body size where there is no local government entity, e.g. unparished area with city charter trustees (see note5), or cities designated by their urban area (Scotland, Northern Ireland). This is a secondary method of determining physical size; relatively fewer cities are explicitly defined in this way, and their urban area can extend beyond the city boundary. London and Westminster are completely surrounded by a much larger built-up area (Greater London) and so any parkland within these is considered part of their urban landscape. Thus Wells is the smallest standalone city, as it is wholly surrounded by countryside.
  • ^3 Population is for the council body area that has the city status. For cities without an existing public entity such as those within in an unparished area, the population is instead compiled from an agglomeration of electoral wards which cover its urban area (see note2) or former district area (see note5). Rank column is for 2011 population only.
  • ^4 Sources:
    England and Wales area figures are taken from the ONS Geography Linked Data, DEFRA, AND NOMIS sites.
    Scotland cities post-2000 area and population figures are taken from the Scotland Census site and settlement size used as local government areas there are not required to hold the city designation for their full area[26]
    Northern Ireland (NI) area and population figures taken from the NISRA site. The cities there formed their own districts until local authority reform in 2015. These settlements now form part of larger council areas, but kept their city statuses through continuing legislation.
  • ^5 Cities with charter trustees covering prior local government areas (England):
Bath: the city area considered is the present-day 16 electoral wards covering the area of the former borough, in existence until 1996.
Chester: the area shown is the prior City of Chester district active until 2009. Population of wards in 2001 was 118,210; those were not directly mappable in 2011, so local population figures given in table.
Durham: this was parished in 2018, but city charter trustees continue to exist, and so hold the charter on behalf of the city area covered by the much wider Durham city district council until 2009. The 2011 population is that of wards covering the same area. The title is not held by the parish council.[27][28][29] Size of the parish is 5.56 sq mi (14.40 km2) and its population 20,115 (2011).[30][31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Census 2001 : City of London
  2. ^ Census 2001 : Mendip
  3. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Bangor Parish (1170221346)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  4. ^ Census 2001 : Gwynedd Archived 2010-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Ripon Parish (1170217073)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  6. ^ Census 2001 : Harrogate
  7. ^ Census 2001 : Chichester
  8. ^ Census 2001 : Carrick
  9. ^ Census 2001 : Lichfield
  10. ^ "Perth & Kinross Council - Census 2011 (3 Perth wards)". www.pkc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  11. ^ Census 2001 : Salisbury (Former Local Authority)
  12. ^ Census 2001 : Salisbury
  13. ^ "Key Statistics" (PDF). www.niassembly.gov.uk.
  14. ^ "2011 CENSUS KEY STATISTICS - Hereford City" (PDF). factsandfigures.herefordshire.gov.uk/about-your-area/2011-census-market-town-profiles.aspx.
  15. ^ Census 2001 : Herefordshire
  16. ^ Butlin, Heather. "Highland profile - key facts and figures". www.highland.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  17. ^ Council, The Highland. "The Highland Council download - Briefing notes | Planning and building standards | Planning - policies, advice and service levels". www.highland.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  18. ^ Census 2001 : Worcester
  19. ^ Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Key Statistics : City of Lincoln Retrieved 2009-11-22
  20. ^ Census 2001 : Pembrokeshire
  21. ^ Census 2001 : East Cambridgeshire
  22. ^ Bathnes.gov.uk Archived 2007-12-20 at the Wayback Machine, Bath and North East Somerset District Council: Population Statistics
  23. ^ Census 2001 : Durham
  24. ^ "Locality Chester People and Population Profile Census 2011". inside.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.
  25. ^ "Demographics" (PDF). Cheshire County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  26. ^ "Department for Culture Media and Sport - civic honours competitions". old.culture.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2017-05-02. Applications can only be made in respect of the whole of the local authority area, except in Scotland, where the award of city status operates differently because of differences in the legislation underpinning local government.
  27. ^ "What you need to know about a new parish council for Durham city centre". The Northern Echo.
  28. ^ "Review of Community Governance in the Unparished Area of Durham City carried out by Durham County Council Final Recommendations (No Parishing Arrangements)" (PDF). www.durham.gov.uk.
  29. ^ "Review of Community Governance in the Central Unparished areas of Durham by Durham County Council" (PDF). www.durham.gov.uk.
  30. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Elvet Ward (as of 2011) (1237326530)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  31. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Neville's Cross Ward (as of 2011) (1237326541)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2018-10-21.