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2nd December 2021


 Research reveals the chattiest towns and cities in the UK

  • St Albans in Hertfordshire has the UK’s chattiest high street, followed by Hemel Hempstead and London high streets according to new research
  • High street chat really matters: 39% of us say our local high street has helped us stay better connected during the pandemic
  • 44% of us admit that a simple ‘hi’ from a stranger has a positive impact on our mood
  • The research comes as Metro Bank launches national Hi Street Day, on 4th December this year, encouraging people simply to say ‘hi’ to each other, to bring cheer and to highlight the important role of the high street in communities across the UK

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a small talk revival on the UK’s high streets.

A new UK-wide study from Metro Bank has found almost half (47%) of us are making more effort than before the pandemic to talk to people when visiting our local high street, while over a quarter (27%) say we value our local high street and community more than ever before.

When it comes to the UK’s chattiest high streets, the independent poll of 2,000 people across 84 towns and cities in the UK found St Albans in Hertfordshire has the UK’s chattiest high street, with Hemel Hempstead in second place, followed by London’s high streets.

UK’s Chattiest High Streets 2021:

1.       St Albans

2.       Hemel Hempstead

3.       London

4.       Belfast

5.       Liverpool

6.       Southampton

7.       Manchester

8.       Newcastle

9.       Cardiff

10.   Northampton

Saying ‘hi’ is a small gesture that clearly goes a long way; almost two thirds (64%) of us  like the simple greeting of ‘hi’ from people – whether we know them or not, while 44% of us say that a ‘hi’ from a stranger has a positive impact on our mood.

Conversation expert Georgie Nightingall comments; “The pandemic may have made our social skills a little rusty, but it also highlighted a shared human need for connection and how important a little chat can be.” 

“Small talk and chit-chat can massively improve our everyday wellbeing, make us smarter, expand our networks and create a sense of wider belonging.  Research suggests that we are happier on days when we have more social interactions, be that eye contact, smiling, or a brief chat with the barista, bank teller, or just people out and about.  Perhaps it’s time we really recognised the value of a simple 'hi’.”

70% of those interviewed agree that a happy community is one where people regularly communicate with each other, even strangers. Being at the heart of the high street, Metro Bank is harnessing this new-found sense of community spirit to launch national Hi Street Day on Saturday 4th December by bringing to life the power of ‘hi’, and showing how it can bring a little joy to people and communities, as we move into a post-lockdown world. 

Kat Robinson, Head of Hi at Metro Bank, said “As a bank at the heart of the UK’s high streets, we know how important it is to really connect with others, be that through simple gestures or a little chat. Through the launch of national Hi Street Day, we aim to celebrate the role the high street has played over the last 20 months or so, in bringing society together – and keeping it together.”