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Best Place to Live In the UK

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Where is the best place to live in the UK? Many things have changed over the years, including where we want to live and what we want from our homes. There’s nothing like working from home day in day out to make you realise it might be time for a change. Many of us are looking for properties better suited to our families. Let’s explore the shift in buyer priorities and needs – and which area comes out on top. 

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Where is the best place to live in the UK? 

The UK has been ranked, based on a number of factors, including natural beauty and quality of life. Let’s take a look at the winners. Here are the top 10.

RankTown/CityCountyNatural beautyQuality of lifeArchitectural beautyFamily home cost*
2Lyme RegisDorset5766319£375,000
7WiltonNorth Yorkshire6546528£600,000
8HadleighSouth Suffolk23059189£340,000
Best place to live in the UK ranked

*Land Registry data as of August 2022, national average house price for a 1500ft² detached family home

How were these best places to live in the UK ranked?

How were the numbers crunched on these post-Covid hot spots? Proximity to work might not be such a high priority, but what is?

Around 1,400 towns and cities were ranked based on 9 important factors and measures of quality, across three different categories. 

Physical environment

  1. Proximity to AONB (Area of Natural Beauty) e.g. national park
  2. Homes close to water: 250m from a river, canal or lake

Quality of life / life satisfaction

  1. Crime rates and community safety
  2. Air quality
  3. Farm shops (within 3 miles)

Architecture / heritage / environmental

  1. Energy efficiency 
  2. Percentage of period homes
  3. Percentage of listed buildings
  4. Total number of grade 1 listed buildings

How were the best places to live in the UK scored?

Each town was given a score based on the three categories, as well as an overall score. This looks beyond property prices to give a more rounded view. 

Only areas that had over 1000 dwellings and where 95% of houses had fast broadband speeds made the cut. After all, this is hugely important in making somewhere a good place for remote working!

Highest rankers: where are great places to live in the UK?

Thinking of moving house, and trying to find out what’s the best place to live in the UK? Or simply want to see where your town sits in the rankings? Let’s take a closer look at those who sit at the top of the leader board. 

#1 – Bath, Somerset

Taking the top spot is Bath, which scored highly across the board, claiming 1st position for architectural beauty. This is largely thanks to its Georgian charm, which attracts tourists and film crews alike. 

It also claims 40th place in natural beauty, due to its access to green space and proximity to rolling hills. While house prices are much higher than the UK average (which sits at £295,903 as of August 2022), it boasts great life satisfaction. 

#2 – Lyme Regis, Dorset

Closely behind Bath is Lyme Regis, another great all-rounder. 

This harbour town is one of the most iconic in the country, home to picturesque views and oozing charm. It’s little wonder it scores so highly across all three categories. 

It’s not all about its proximity to the sea, Lyme Regis is also extremely family-friendly, a great place to explore the outdoors and home to some great culture. 

#3 – Salisbury, Wiltshire

Claiming third spot is Salisbury, known for its history and beauty. The town is home to great high street shopping, historic buildings and the Salisbury Cathedral. Its rich history makes it popular with tourists and locals alike and its located only 9 miles south of the iconic stone circle at Stonehenge. 

Hidden gems: where are other best places to live in the UK?

While we live in a market economy, where it can be tempting to look at house prices alone, this can mean would-be buyers miss out on hidden gems. 

Folkestone, Kent

At £430,000 (on average) for a family home, Folkestone sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to house prices on the list. 

It ranked high for quality of life, and it’s easy to see why. It has authentic charm and a medieval feel to it, with its cobbled streets and artistic shops. Here, you can find the best of both worlds; beach walks and stunning architecture in one place.

Caton, Lancashire

Those looking for a more affordable family home might want to consider heading to one of the nation’s beautiful nature spots Caton. Caton, in Lancashire, is the cheapest (house price-wise) out of all 10 locations. At £325,000, an average-sized family home will cost you less than half than in Bath.

A unique town, where the landscape ranges from hills and becks to the flat flood plain of the River Lune. Popular with nature lovers and home to birds and wildlife, it’s little wonder that it’s scored so highly, away from its affordability.

Wilton, North Yorkshire

Wilton comes in 5th place for quality of life, thanks to its charming and ancient buildings. It’s also not a bad place to be if you’re a lover of the great outdoors. Its postcard-esc views and open green spaces make it a great place to explore. 

A family home here will cost around £600,000, making it higher then the middleweight when it comes to house prices on this list. 

The shift in buyer priorities 

There’s nothing like working from home to make you realise your current home might not be meeting your current needs. Many of us are now looking for homes that meet the requirements of long-term remote working. Balancing a laptop on your knees on the sofa, or cramming around the kitchen table simply doesn’t quite cut it. 

Buyers are now looking for more space and a better quality of life. This often means moving to a new area.

Many of us are no longer tied to commuting, freeing us up to focus our home search on wellbeing – rather than transport connections. Fact is, moving out of cities can give you more space for your money, or help you save for a house deposit more easily. 

That being said, the attraction of living near a city hasn’t gone away completely, as many still want to live in one of the commuter towns for London. If the thought of residing in a city near London appeals to you, but you’re keen on saving, there’s a range of choices available. The catch? Expect an average commute time of around an hour by train into the heart of the capital.

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Last Updated: January 16th, 2024

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