Happiest places in Britain reveal lure of nature

For England, it's Hexham, Wales has Llandrindod Wells and Stirling tops the Scottish list

The happiest places to live in Britain have been revealed, featuring a menu of homes with the lure of nearby countryside and riverside attractions.

Northumberland's Hexham, near two national parks, London's Richmond-upon-Thames in London, which sits right on the River Thames, and Yorkshire's Harrogate, close to another national park, top the list.

Separate lists were compiled for Scotland and Wales, with Llandrindod Wells being the happiest place in Wales and Stirling topping the Scottish list.

The ‘Happy At Home’ index, compiled by Rightmove, looks at friendliness and community spirit, whether people feel they can be themselves, nature, opportunities locally to develop skills and amenities including schools, restaurants, shops and sports facilities.

“Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Britain,” said mayor Derek Kennedy.

“We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings, and our market place is 800 years old. There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another.

“The open countryside is wonderful with Hadrian's Wall on our doorstep.”

He said there are many sporting events organised locally, including a park run, cricket, tennis, squash, golf and rowing.

For Hexham, it is a return to the top of the pile after a year's absence, while St Ives, Cornwall, which came top last year, was eighth in this year's rankings.

The average price tag on a house in Hexham is £297,088 — only a quarter of that in the leafy London suburb of Richmond, which was ranked second and has an average house asking price just shy of £1.2 million.

Harrogate in North Yorkshire, with its Victorian spa heritage, boutique shops and afternoon tea establishments, took the third spot.

Daryll Digpal, managing director at Beadnall Copley in Harrogate, said the area “boasts a thriving high street with many international retail brands, a booming hospitality industry and excellent state and private schools".

Rightmove's study found that people living in coastal villages tended to be the happiest group in the study. Around one-third of this year's top 20 happiest towns are market towns.

The coronavirus pandemic also prompted many people to move home so they could make lifestyle changes.

Happiest in Britain

  1. Hexham, North-East
  2. Richmond-upon-Thames, London
  3. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber
  4. Hove, South-East
  5. Llandrindod Wells, Wales
  6. Stirling, Scotland
  7. Monmouth, Wales
  8. St Ives, South West
  9. Anglesey, Wales
  10. Leamington Spa
  11. Perth, Scotland
  12. Hitchin, East of England
  13. Woodbridge, East of England
  14. Kendal, North-West
  15. Macclesfield, North-West
  16. Exeter, South-West
  17. Salisbury, South-West
  18. Horsham, South-East
  19. St Albans, East of England
  20. Guildford, South-East

The study found that 69 per cent of people who had moved in the last year relocated to a different area. And 64 per cent reported feeling happier where they now live.

Of those who had moved from a town to a village, 81 per cent said they now feel happier with where they live.

Scotland's top 10 happiest places

  1. Stirling
  2. Perth
  3. Inverness
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Dundee
  6. Ayr
  7. Glasgow
  8. Kirkcaldy
  9. Paisley
  10. Aberdeen

Wales top 10 happiest places

  1. Llandrindod Wells
  2. Monmouth
  3. Anglesey
  4. Llandudno
  5. Bridgend
  6. Cardiff
  7. Wrexham
  8. Swansea
  9. City of Newport
  10. Caerphilly
Updated: November 24, 2021, 12:01 AM