New survey suggests the best places in the UK for “niche hobbies”, from comic shops to UFO sightings

Mortgage experts at Bankrate UK have announced the results of their analysis of 40 niche hobbies, identifying places around the UK that they suggest may be the best place to buy your next home based on your niche hobby, including comic collecting.

Their analysis revealed that the locations comic book and comic-con enthusiasts should consider ahead of their next move include, unsurprisingly, London, followed by Glasgow and Cardiff. For comic conventions, only London, Glasgow and Manchester got a look in.

Gathering all the niche hobbies/attractions in the UK from Atlas Obscura, a guide to the world’s hidden wonders and cross referencing with data from other sources, including online directories (such as the downthetubes Comic Shop Map, we’re assuming, since they have sent us the results!), Bankrate built out a list of the UK’s centres of “weird”.

Bankrate Survey 2020 - Comic Shops

In all, Bankrate’s mortgage experts analysed 40 unique hobbies and discovered 3332 individual locations, narrowed down to 84 places across the UK. 

“Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, which is why it’s important to consider your property criteria,” the web site notes. “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.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to sheer quantity, the site claims 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 1155 different locations to satisfy their interests.

It did strike us as a bit odd that our country’s cities are also recommended as prime spots for UFO spotters, given light pollution and other distractions. But apparently, the analysis noted that based on reported sightings from 2007 to date, allowing buyers the opportunity to relocate based on extra-terrestrial activity, London again 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.

Perhaps there’s something in the water…

You can view the full “Niche Hobbies” survey here on BankRate.com

View our Map of Comic Shops here (updated welcomed)

Check out upcoming comics events in 2021 and into 2022

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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