Where is the best place to live in the UK?
2020 changed many things, 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.
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 15.
|Rank||Town/City||County||Natural beauty||Architectural beauty||Quality of life||Family home cost*|
|3||Bradford on Avon||Wiltshire||19||30||251||£520,000|
*Land Registry data as of September 2020, national average house price for a 1500ft² family home
How were these best places 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?
1,400 towns and cities were ranked based on 9 important factors and measures of quality, across three different categories.
- Proximity to AONB (Area of Natural Beauty) e.g. national park
- Homes close to water: 250m from a river, canal or lake
Quality of life / life satisfaction
- Crime rates and community safety
- Air quality
- Farm shops (within 3 miles)
Architecture / heritage / environmental
- Energy efficiency
- Percentage of period homes
- Percentage of listed buildings
- 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 £245,443 as of October 2020), it boasts great life satisfaction.
#2 – Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Closely behind Bath is Tenby, another great all-rounder.
This Welsh 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, Tenby is also extremely family-friendly, a great place to explore the outdoors and home to some great culture.
#3 – Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire
Claiming third spot is Bradford on Avon, known for its history and beauty. The town is home to great high street shopping, a canal and historic buildings. Its rich history makes it popular with tourists and locals alike, home to ancient monuments, castles and The Shambles (once a Medieval bustling market).
Hidden gems: where are good places to live?
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.
Rye, East Sussex
At £480,000 (on average) for a family home, Rye sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to house prices.
It clinched the top spot for natural beauty, and it’s easy to see why. It has authentic charm and a medieval feel to it, with its cobbled streets and ancient inns. Here, you can find the best of both worlds; beach walks and stunning architecture in one place.
Those looking for a more affordable family home might want to consider heading to one of the nation’s favourite holiday spots. Ilfracombe, in North Devon, is the cheapest (house price-wise) out of all 15 locations. At £325,000, an average-sized family home will cost you less than half than in Bath.
A seaside town popular with foodies and home to a small harbour surrounded by cliffs, it’s little wonder that it’s scored so highly, away from its affordability. There’s even a 20m high Damien Hirst sculpture!
Wilton, North Yorkshire
Wilton comes in 5th place for architectural beauty, 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 £430,000, making it another 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.
Looking to move?
If you’re thinking of moving, and lockdown has sparked the need for change, we can help guide you through the process from start to finish. Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates, tips and tricks from Phil Spencer himself and perhaps you’ll discover what’s the best place to live in the UK for you!
Last Updated: April 8th, 2022