Although everybody will have a different idea of what makes their ideal location to live in, there are several factors generally used to judge where the best places in the UK actually are.
With housing conditions, crime rates, weather, health and general happiness all being in the mix, the Halifax yearly ‘quality of life’ survey is widely held up as the most comprehensive roundup of the best locations around the country. This year’s survey also took into account new research into personal well-being from the Office for National Statistics for the first time.
Obviously those looking for a continuous roller coaster ride of the types of thrills and spills that contemporary, urban living in a city centre provides may not agree with the results.
However, many others look to the Halifax survey as a wish list of places that could offer something close to perfection.
The most desirable place to live in the UK for the third year in a row is Hart in Hampshire.
The area has the healthiest residents who also live the longest in the UK. Employment was also well above the national average, standing at 80% compared with the national average of 71%.
As well as being healthier, with the average male life expectancy being 82.9 years compared with the national average of 79 years, Hart residents are also wealthier with average earnings at £843 a week being more than a third higher than the national figure.
However, if you are thinking of getting a piece of the Hart action in the 84 square miles of wooded landscape with a large freshwater lake that has been described as a “step back in time”, the average house price is seven times the annual local wage, both of which are considerably higher than the average across the rest of the country.
The Top Ten
The survey found that the UK’s most desirable places to live were as follows:
1. The Hart district of Hampshire
2. Thaxted in the Uttlesford district of North Essex
3. Towcester Racecourse in the South Northamptonshire district
4. Godalming parish church, Borough of Waverley, Surrey
5. Gazebos on the bank of the River Lea, East Hertfordshire
6. Esher in the Elmbridge district, Surrey
7. Bingham market in the Rushcliffe borough of Nottinghamshire
8. Wokingham, Berkshire
9. Winchester, Hampshire
10. Bell Meadow and Sky Blue Pasture, Chelmsford, Essex
Uttlesford, which moved up to second from sixth place last year, was found to have an 84% employment rate and average earnings of £819 a week.
This figure seems paltry next to the highest weekly average earnings, which are to be found in London’s Kensington and Chelsea and stand at £1,323.
A continuing trend is the domination on the top 50 list of locations in the south east of England, which make up almost half of the entries. Wales and Northern Ireland were totally unrepresented this year and Scotland only managed to get into the list at number 50 with the Orkney Islands. Perhaps just as surprisingly, only one area of London was included, with the City of London in 38th position.