It’s difficult to imagine just how much quality of life can change simply by travelling a few miles down the road. However, when considering factors such as health, employment, crime rates and even weather, several surveys claim to have found the ‘best’ place to live in the UK. Now, of course, simply being in a certain place doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. But such components could contribute towards it greatly. Below is a guide to some of the places which score positively across the board.
Every year, Halifax Bank releases its study into the most desirable place to live in the UK. To do so, they take into account jobs, housing, health, crime, weather, traffic and broadband access. And the last four years they’ve come to the same conclusion – that Hart in Hampshire is the best place to live in the UK.
Hart boasts a high employment rate, an average wage that is a third higher than the UK average, and over 97% of residents consider themselves to be in good health. It also enjoys 32.5 hours of sunshine a week, three hours more than the national average.
Second and third place on the list belong to the South East as well. Elmbridge, which enjoys an average weekly wage way above the average at £1,104, is in second and has previously topped the list four times. Wincester is in third. In general, the South East dominates the list, but three places in the East Midlands also figure – Rutland, SouthNorthamptonshire and Rushcliffe. In terms of the biggest movers, Warwick is now considered the 11th most desirable place to live in Britain, up from number 42 in 2013.
However, the Halifax study is by no means the only list to consider when analysing the best place to live. In 2011, the picturesque, historical cities of York and Bath were voted first and second respectively in a Rough Guide survey to find Britain’s best small city or town. This is from a visitor’s perspective, but people who live in York benefit from beautiful architecture and a ‘generally positive feel’.
In third place in the list was Brighton and in fifth place was St Ives. This is notable, because in a recent Rightmove survey of nearly 3,000 people, St Ives was voted the most desirable place to live in Britain, followed by Poole and, again, Brighton. York was also in fifth place.
Interestingly, the top three in this list are all on the seaside, showing British homeowners appreciate a coastal setting. And the survey also shed light on what would make the most desirable place to live if money was no object. In general, Brits would choose a detached house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garden. Only 1% said they would choose to live in a castle. Further, people are prepared to pay more to be closer to transport links and even for a short walk to the pub, which was more important than living near a park or supermarket.
Depending on which study you choose to agree with, there are several contenders for the most desirable place to live in the UK. And if you already live in one of them, all the better!
Paul Hayes is the Director for the Brentwood Balgores Hayes estate and letting agents. Paul has many years of experience in the prosperity industry and has a thorough and thoughtful mission statement for his branch.