Why do we live where we live? Family reasons, work reasons, we wanted to live in the hippest place, we wanted to escape an influx of hipsters… set those aside for a minute and picture what you really want.
Where are the best places to live in the UK? We’ve studied what the experts say and added our own (expert) opinion to give you our definitive list.
So here it is, whether you’re a thrill seeker or a nature lover, our top ten places to live in the UK!
Listed in The Lonely Planet''s international Where to go When guide as "a year-round destination for action adventures”, there’s more to the Dee Valley than whitewater and hiking, although who wouldn’t want to live near zip lines and cave trampolines?
Miles of unspoilt countryside come complete with lambs, daffodils and steam trains; those seeking an idyllic lifestyle can pick up a five or six bedroom detached house in a picturesque town for under £500 000, or a three bedroom terrace for under £150 000.
Houses in Birmingham saw a 4.08% growth in 2018, far outstripping London, making it fantastic value for people craving an urban lifestyle.
We love the UK''s second largest city because, well, because Cadbury World, but a museum stuffed with Anglo-Saxon gold, superb restaurants and a £200 million library, complete with Shakespeare room and rooftop garden, don’t hurt.
With London and Liverpool an hour and forty minutes away by train, and the Peak District and the Cotswolds an hour and a half drive, it also offers outstanding transport links to the rest of the country.
It’s hard to keep up with the accolades heaped on Newcastle; in 2017 MoneySuperMarket.com declared it the best place to raise a family, and The Rough Guide called it one of the top 18 places to visit in the world in 2018.
Yeah, in the world. Yet at the time of writing a three bed, Grade II listed apartment in the heart of one of the ‘best places to live on the planet’ will set you back £270 000, with a three bedroom semi a mile from the centre costing £170 000.
Not bad for somewhere with 28 outstanding schools and more green space to play in than any other city in the UK.
A canal boat holiday past “Glorious Georgian Bath” also makes the Lonely Planet’s Where to go When; houses in this city aren’t cheap, but when the splendour of the (really Roman) city, the stunning surrounding countryside and the quality of life are taken into account, it’s hard not to begrudgingly agree it’s worth the money.
Three bedroom semis average about £850 000 within walking distance of the city centre, £300 000 on the outskirts.
Owners of the latter take comfort in the fact you might make the catchment area of Hayesfield or Beechen Cliff school, good and outstanding single sex schools with a national reputation.
Enniskillen Castle was built in 1428 by - slightly counterintuitively - Hugh the Hospitable, but this Northern Irish market town does do a great job of welcoming visitors.
Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett both went to school here, and the town celebrates by hosting Wilde Weekend, a multi-arts Oscar-themed festival, and the Happy Days International Beckett festival.
Set in the stunning Fermanagh Lakelands, expect to cross a lot of bridges on the journey from your house to Blakes of Hollow, the infamous Irish pub still hosting live music, Guinness and ‘strong’ coffee.
Look, I know what you’re thinking. Probably the same thing the authors of Crap Towns Returns were thinking when they wrote: “Every time a national league table is published Bradford is at the wrong end of it.
Congestion, segregation, school standards, derelict land, burglaries, home repossessions, crap high streets, postal vote rigging, youth (and other) unemployment, overall deprivation, etc. You name it, we’re bad at it”.
But they also point to The Bradford Odeon, “an art deco gem” and the first place The Beatles played on their first UK tour. Then there’s Lister Park, Britain’s Best Park 2006, with boating lake, Mughal Water Garden, tennis and basketball courts and the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery.
Bradford was the first UNESCO city of film. It was the Curry Capital of Britain 2010 - 2016. And a four bedroom terrace house next to Lister Park, a 22 minute train journey to Leeds or the stunning Yorkshire Dales, can be bought for £80 000. Go on, look twice at Bradford. The only way is up, after all.
The Scottish Highland region was declared the happiest place to live in 2016. Maybe it’s the fresh air.
They’ve got Britain’s biggest National Park; The Cairngorms boasts five of the UK’s six highest mountains, as well as mountain hares, golden eagles and wildcats.
Peter Irvine’s Scotland the Best reckons the Cowland Highland Gathering is one of the best games for “dancing, pipe bands, field and track events and much drinking and chat”, so prepare for some of the best cliches to be true.
Game of Thrones nerds may want to look up Wester Ross; nothing to do with Westeros, the mythical location of the show, but it did feature in the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list 2017, and offers delicious opportunities for confusion when friends ask for your address. T
he desirability of the area hasn’t resulted in high prices so much as scarcity, so be prepared to look for a while to find your dream Highland hideaway. A rural two bedroom semi costs around £140 000.
Knutsford is a unique looking place thanks to architect Richard Harding Watt, who according to Paul Hurley’s Knutsford and District Through Time, peppered the place with buildings inspired by his travels in the early 1900s.
“The many buildings of Watt - a Manchester glove maker - are a strange addition to this pretty Cheshire market town”.
We think it looks splendid; history buffs must seek out the house of Edward Higgins, a dashing highwayman, and the 17th century Grade I listed church where Elizabeth Gaskell is buried.
More recently, Knutsford made The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list in 2017 for its great transport links, employment opportunities and good schools. Three-bedroom semis are frequently found under £300 000.
The uninitiated would be forgiven for thinking of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells as the same place. No! The small market town recently beat their longer-named neighbours to be named 16th best place to live in the country.
The beautiful surrounding villages and countryside make it hard to believe Tonbridge is 45 minutes from London by train.
Additionally the schools! The Sunday Times Schools Guide placed The Judd School and Tonbridge Grammar School in the top ten ‘best state secondary schools in the south east’, and ninth and thirteenth in the country.
At the last count, the area contained eight ‘outstanding’ and twenty-three ‘good’ primary schools. A two - three if you’re lucky - bedroom terrace can be purchased for under £300 000; a four bedroom detached Victorian or Edwardian villa for £800 000.
Torn between stunning coastline, areas of natural beauty and a two hour train to London, Norwich meets a variety of needs.
But it’s what goes on inside the city that makes it such a gem; low on crime, high on employment and green spaces, it regularly makes that Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list. England’s second city in the 11th century, the place is packed with history, and stands out for loads of reasons.
It was England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. It’s the only English city positioned inside a National Park; the famous Broads are the only place in Britain you’ll find the rare Swallowtail butterfly, and nesting cranes.
For kids, there’s a puppet theatre, ‘The Base’ boasting five soft play areas, and Roarr! Dinosaur adventure, officially the ‘Best Visitor Attraction 2018’ no less.
Like the city itself, the housing suits all sorts. A three bedroom terrace walking distance from the city centre offers a lot of change from £200 000, a four or five bedroom townhouse in the centre is under £500 000, or if you’re looking for a real lifestyle change, at the time of writing a 9 bedroom B&B is on offer for £675 000.
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