London vs Dubai | Where is Better to Live?

The ultimate question posed between two of the most popular and major cities of the world. London vs Dubai, where is better to live? To find out where the best place to live is, we have had to explore many aspects from cost of living and average salaries to crime rates.

Overall, we found that the better place to live was Dubai over London. Dubai provided a better standard of living, whilst also being safer, and offers better salaries in comparison to the cost of living.

To find out more, and just how close the two cities were, check our full comparison below.

Locations

One major difference between the two cities is that London is the capital of England and Dubai in fact IS NOT the capital of UAE, that is Abu Dhabi. Many people often consider Dubai as the capital, however this is incorrect. Now we have that one cleared up let us take a look at their locations on the map.

London vs Dubai - Where Is Better to Live - Locations | The Vacation Builder

London is in the south east of England and belongs to Europe as a continent, whereas Dubai is situated to the north east of the UAE and belongs to Asia as a continent. You will hear many people refer to Dubai and the UAE as The Middle East too. The UAE borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. England Borders Wales and Scotland. Just across the sea is France. The average flight time between the two, direct, is 7 hours and the time difference is 3 hours (4 during the UK winters).

Location Advantages

Dubai vs London - Where is Better to Live | The Vacation Builder
The Peak District in England

You can reach many places within England from London within a few hours. England is very green and in places mountainous, offering great scenery and wildlife. Most countries within Europe are only a 2 / 3 hour flight away and you can in fact drive through the Channel Tunnel to reach France. The continent of America can also be reached in as little as 7 hours by plane from London.

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live | The Vacation Builder
Hatta Lake – UAE

Over to the not so green lands of the UAE. Dubai is extremely flat and any green area’s are either artificial or under heavy horticultural management. The heat can be so immense that parks and green spaces need plenty of care. However, step just outside of the city and you will find many smaller beautiful emirates which are extremely mountainous, with un-spoilt beaches and wadi’s to explore. Considering the Middle East as purely flat and sandy couldn’t be further from the truth!

Oman is within driving distance from Dubai and the likes of India and Thailand can be reached via plane in as little at 3 and 6 hours respectively.

When it comes to location, there cannot be any one winner. Both London and Dubai offer something different when it comes to the great outdoors. Both major cities are also easily accessible from all parts of the world and offer easy access to other great countries within a few hours drive or flight.

Verdict: Tie

Weather

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Weather | The Vacation Builder
Sunset Beach in Dubai

When it comes to London vs Dubai for weather, we have two cities at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. London has very cold winters with temperatures not usually above 5°C during the day. Even the summers tend to be hit and miss with rain and average highs of just 23°C.

Dubai’s coldest month of January tends to be the same average temperature as London’s hottest month of August at around 24°C. Rain is rare in the Middle East too and the summer months between May and August can be quite unbearable with temperatures regularly above 40°C.

Dubai does have fantastic weather between the months of October and March with temperatures around the 30°C mark, making great beach days. However, if we had to choose where to live based on weather alone, it would have to be London. Even when it’s raining in England, you can throw on a coat and out you go. In Dubai, some days can be too hot to even leave the house!

Verdict: London

Cost of Living

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Cost of Living | The Vacation Builder

When we pair London vs Dubai for cost of living you may be pleasantly surprised. Do not let the glitz and glamour of Dubai trick you into thinking it is expensive to live. In fact, Dubai is 28% cheaper to live than London!

Rent prices in Dubai in 2021 were 32.6% lower than London. Grocery prices were 22.85% lower and consumer prices (without rent) were 24.5% lower too!

You can check a full in depth price comparison between the two cities by using one of our favourite websites, Numbeo.com.

Verdict: Dubai

Salaries

To give you an idea of some average salaries in Dubai vs London check the table below:

ProfessionDubai SalaryLondon Salary
Accountant156,000AED200,000 AED
Civil Engineer212,000AED170,000AED
Electrician111,000AED185,000AED
Business Development Manager183,000AED190,000AED
Teacher144,000AED175,000AED
Admin Clerk72,600AED105,000AED
Graphic Designer61,500AED160,000AED
Air Traffic Controller249,600AED485,000AED
Mechanic82,800AED183,395AED
HR Manager372,000AED205,000AED
Petroleum Engineer235,200AED260,000AED
Nurse184,800AED158,935AED
Doctor630,000AED603,300AED
Dentist578,400AED330,000AED
Hair Stylist99,840AED93,775AED
Occupational Therapist148,800AED170,000AED
Bar Manager157,200AED143,475AED
Real Estate Agent213,600AED262,500AED
Web Developer214,800AED169,540AED

The are instances where both London and Dubai pay better salaries depending on profession. A couple of things to take into account however is that 1) Dubai’s salaries are tax free and 2) the cost of living in Dubai is cheaper.

If that’s too much to work out don’t worry, we’ve done it all for you in our article, Are Salaries Higher in Dubai vs London and New York.

Verdict: Dubai

Career Opportunities

To be able to weigh up career opportunities between London and Dubai is difficult. So we looked at unemployment rates and new start ups. It is also important to note that due to the Corona Virus Pandemic in 2020, the figures may be skewed, so we’ve taken statistics from 2019 for unemployment.

Dubai wins when it comes to unemployment, with a rate of 4.2% in comparison to London’s rate of 4.5%.

On the other hand, during 2020, over 221,000 new businesses started in London. That is 1 new business for every 39 people. Over in Dubai, 42,000 new businesses started, which converts to 1 business per 78 people. Although this doesn’t give us an accurate figure of career opportunities as a whole, it does paint a picture.

Verdict: Tie

Things to Do & See

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Things to do | The Vacation Builder
The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence

Summary of main things to do & see in London:

  • London Eye
  • Tower of London
  • Natural History Museum
  • Big Ben
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Sealife Aquarium
  • West End Shows
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Dungeons
  • Hyde Park
  • Art Museums
  • British Pubs
  • London Zoo

Summary of main things to do & see in Dubai:

Anyone who knows the slightest about London and Dubai will know they’re not short of things to do. The one major downside to London is that you are more often than not, going to need to spend money. On the other hand, Dubai has tonnes of paid and FREE things to do. We aren’t saying London doesn’t, but they’re more weather dependant! Add the beaches, and we have a clear winner.

Verdict: Dubai

Crime Rates

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Crime Rates | The Vacation Builder

Another important factor to consider when comparing two cities for their quality of life and standard of living is the crime rate.

The murder rate in London during 2018 was a staggering 1.8 per 100,000 people, whereas in Dubai their rate was 0.1. Overall, the crime rate index for the UK in comparison to UAE was a huge 29.09 higher! According to the crime rate by country index the UK has a rate of 44.54 with the UAE at just 15.45, making the United Arab Emirates the 3rd safest country in the world!

In addition, of those surveyed on Numbeo.com, Dubai scored ‘Very Low’ on a number of factors from drug use to break ins. People also felt safer walking home at night in Dubai than London.

Verdict: Dubai

Education

Over to education and one huge downside to living in Dubai. Non Emirati residents must pay fees for schooling, private or public. In London, education is free, regardless of your passport.

Over 90% of Schools and Universities in Dubai are provided by the private sector. Fees at some of the top schools can reach upwards of 100,000AED per year (£20,000 / $26,000). The up side to this is that the general standard of schooling is very high. The schools in Dubai are graded each year and if any fall short, they aren’t able to increase fee’s which is regulated by the government.

Over to London and you have some of the best schools in the UK. According to LondonCouncils.Gov.Uk 94% of schools in London were graded either Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. London has come a long way in the last decade when it was once the worst performing district in the UK for schooling.

In comparison, Dubai’s KHDA Rating System rated 119 out of 210 schools in Dubai either ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. This translates into 56%, a far cry away from the standards in London.

Verdict: London

For a full breakdown of all the Schools with Outstanding KHDA Ratings in Dubai see our full guide.

Population Density

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Population Density | The Vacation Builder
Crowds Crossing Regent Street in London

There is one thing assumed a certainty when moving to any major city in the world and that is high density. Some of the highest grossing GDP cities in the world are incredibly cramped to live. Take for example Hong Kong with a population density of 7,140 people per square km, or Singapore with a density of 7,810 people.

Unfortunately, London is up there with some of the most densely populated cities in the world. So if you’re looking for breathing room whilst you shop at the mall, you may struggle.

In comparison London had a population density of 5,701 people per square km whereas Dubai was as little as 860 during 2020! If you like your space then there is only one clear winner here!

Verdict: Dubai

Public Transport

London vs Dubai - Where is Better to Live - Public Transport
The London Underground

One major factor to consider when looking at London vs Dubai is public transport systems. The key to getting around any major city of the world is in the public transport.

There are so many different ways of getting around Dubai including taxis, metro, monorail, bus, water taxi and trams. In addition, Dubai is in the top 76% of cities offering cheap public transport, with the average cost of a single ticket at just 4.5AED £0.90 / $1.20.

London also offers diverse ways of travel too, and prides itself on one of the quickest and most efficient systems in the world, the London underground. The downside to public transport in London is that is only makes the top 34% of cities for cost with an average single ticket around 11AED / £2.27 / $3.

Although London offers probably one of the best public transport systems in the world, they’re mainly over crowded and dirty. When you compare this to Dubai’s super clean, driverless trains, Dubai does it better. On the other hand, getting around London is much easier as there are underground stations on nearly every corner! In Dubai, they’re spread further apart. That means in some cases you may be forced to take a taxi, but taxi’s are extremely cheap in Dubai. The average cost of a 10km fare is just 1.82AED / £3.64 / $4.80 in Dubai compared to 4.6AED £23 / $30 in London.

London is extremely easy to get around but the high cost of travel doesn’t weigh up in comparison to Dubai’s super clean and super cheap transportation systems.

Verdict: Dubai

Conclusion

So there we have it. London vs Dubai reviewed, and the winner is Dubai by 6 points to 2!

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