Monday, 02 January 2017 17:07

Survey reveals UK's best place to live

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Survey reveals UK's best place to live

Rural areas feature highly in the UK's best places to live, according to the latest Halifax Quality of Life Survey.

The local authority district of Winchester in Hampshire scooped the top spot based on residents' health and life expectancy, employment and earnings, and personal well-being.

The Orkney Islands took second place, followed by Wychavon in Worcestershire, the Derbyshire Dales and Hambleton in North Yorkshire.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said Winchester residents enjoyed the best quality of life in the UK, due to a higher than average weekly earnings, a low crime rate and good health.

    See also: 'Rural premium' to live in the countryside

Rank Local authority Region
1 Winchester South East
2 Orkney Islands Scotland
3 Wychavon West Midlands
4 Derbyshire Dales East Midlands 
5 Hambleton Yorkshire & Humber 
6 South Cambridgeshire East of England 
7 Purbeck South West
8 St Albans East of England 
9 Wokingham South East 
10 Chiltern South East 
11 West Oxfordshire South East 
12 South Hams South West 
13 South Oxfordshire South East 
14 Tonbridge & Malling South East 
15 West Dorset South West 
16 South Northamptonshire East Midlands 
17 Waverley South East 
18 Shetland Islands Scotland 
19 Horsham South East 
20 City of London London 
21 Stratford-on-Avon West Midlands 
22 Eden North West 
23 Windsor & Maidenhead South East 
24 Malvern Hills West Midlands 
25 Mole Valley South East 
26 Hart South East 
27 Mid Devon South West 
28 Rutland East Midlands 
29 Ryedale Yorkshire & Humber 
30 Lichfield West Midlands 
31 Richmond upon Thames London 
32 Rugby  East Midlands
33 Richmondshire Yorkshire & Humber 
34 Guildford South East 
35 Uttlesford East of England 
36 Maldon East of England 
37 Monmouthshire Wales 
38 Babergh East of England 
39 Vale of White Horse South East 
40 Rushcliffe East Midlands 
41 Harrogate Yorkshire & Humber 
42 Mid Sussex South East 
43 Reigate & Banstead South East 
44 Westminster London 
45 Wiltshire South West 
46 Harborough East Midlands 
47 East Hertfordshire East of England 
48 West Berkshire South East 
49 Wycombe South East 
50 Aylesbury Value South East 
  Source: Halifax  

But a high quality of life comes at a cost.

House prices in Winchester are 9.7 times the average annual local income – much higher than the UK average of 7.2.

Nearly two-thirds (32) of the top 50 best places to live in the UK are in southern England but northern areas were also well represented.

Areas in the south tended to score highly on weekly earnings, weather, health and life expectancy, according to the survey.

Northern areas tended to receive high ratings on low house price to earnings ratio, low population densities, less traffic and smaller primary school sizes.

Northerners believe themselves to be less anxious and happier than in those living in the south, whereas southerners responded as more satisfied and content in life.


Wychavon, Derbyshire Dales and Hambleton all scored strongly in the Personal Well-Being Survey as well as long male and female life expectancy.

Both Derbyshire Dales and Hambleton have one of the highest employment rates (87.7%).

Some 45.1% of adults in each area boast a higher level of qualification, such as a degree or professional qualification, compared to a national average of 35.6%.

Former winner of the past five years – Hart, in Hampshire – dropped to 26th in the 2016 survey.

    New categories

This was mainly due to the inclusion of the two new categories – number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres.

Hart has also dropped, relative to other local authorities, on average earnings and employment rate – categories where it normally scores very highly.

Mr Ellis said: "With more and more emphasis being placed on achieving a good work-life balance, the 2016 Halifax Quality of Life Survey includes a leisure category for the first time.

"This has had an impact on the rankings, especially at the top."

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