The findings of the Sunday Times’ 101 Best Places to live in Britain indicate that rural idylls provide residents with the highest all round quality of life, and especially low crime rates.
Skipton took the top accolade, closely followed by Newnham in Cambridge, Monmouth in Wales and Falmouth in Cornwall.
The judges created the list by applying a number of criteria and awarding marks in each category; from the standard of education to air quality, crime levels and ease-of-access to cultural, shopping and recreational facilities.
Skipton’s top dog
Top of the list and all round amazing place to have a home is Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, long held to be among the most beautiful parts of the world.
The judges noted Skipton had excellent schools, a ‘buzzing’ high street with lots of independent shops, great transport links, attractive and reasonably priced property and easy access to fantastic open countryside.
For those living down south and in major cities, house prices in Skipton would make them weep. Cottages and smaller houses can be bought for between £100,000 and £200,000, while anything over £350,000 buys a very substantial home indeed.
Local resident Nic Robinson, 57, was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying of Skipton “It’s small enough to know virtually everyone, but big enough that you’ve got everything you need… it has history and character. Oh, and it’s in Yorkshire.’
Never heard of Newnham? Well, move there anyway!
Second placed Newnham in Cambridge was said to offer ‘country living’ despite its location near the centre of the famous university town. Considering where it is, it was still praised for having what the judges called a ‘genuine’ village atmosphere.
Third came Monmouth in Monmouthshire, Wales. It’s described as a charming market town which has great schools and transport links, being close to the border with England.
Halifax reaches different decision
The results come just a few months after banking and mortgage giant Halifax found Hart, in north east Hampshire, to be the finest place to live in the UK.
Fair enough, but house prices are considerably cheaper in Skipton (in Hart they are 7 times the average local wage) which probably gives it the edge for most people.
Best places to live by area
Areas in the south west, Yorkshire and north east gained the highest number of places in the list, with each registering 15 entries.
The best places to live by area are as follows:
South east – Amersham, Buckinghamshire
South west – Witney, Oxfordshire
East – East Blakeney, Norfolk
Yorkshire and the north-east: Richmond, North Yorkshire
Midlands – Buxton, Derbyshire
North-west – Kendal, Cumbria
Wales – Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Scotland – Auchterarder, Perthshire
London – Balham
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