There are many beautiful places to live in the UK, but there are various other factors that buyers tend to consider before they purchase or rent a property. A good sense of community, transport links and access to green space often rank highly when individuals are asked about what they consider necessities.
Real estate company Rightmove host an annual survey to find out where the happiest places are to live in the UK. The Happy at Home Index proposes ten statements to participants and asks them to score each to get a better insight into where they live. The statements cover a broad range of factors, such as how happy residents are with local activities, their sense of belonging and their opinion on local amenities.
Below are Rightmove’s ‘Happiness Measures’ that are used to calculate how happy residents are in their local area:
- I feel a sense of belonging
- Generally, the people are friendly and polite
- I can be myself
- Nature and green spaces
- There’s a real sense of community spirit
- Artistic and cultural activities
- Opportunities to develop skills
- Non-essential amenities (such as restaurants and shops)
- Essential local services (such as doctors and schools)
- Sports and recreational activities
The responses for each of the ten measures are averaged to create a category score and an overall score.
Top ten happiest places to live in the UK
Below is the results of Rightmove’s latest Happy at Home Index. Many of these locations have been listed on several occasions in the Rightmove Happy at Home Index.
The Northumberland town has regained its title of the UK’s happiest town after previously holding the spot in 2019. Hexham scored highly for its green spaces and community feel. Residents also rated the sense of belonging in Hexham as the most important factor for overall happiness in the market town.
The average asking price for a house in Hexham is £297,088, which is an increase of 6% from the previous year. However, the asking price is still lower than the national average, which stands at £342,401.
The northeastern market town has a population of just over 11,000. Hexham is famous for its floral gardens in the town centre, Hexham Abbey and the Old Gaol, which was Britain’s first purpose-built prison.
In response to Hexham’s ranking, the town mayor, Derek Kennedy, said: “Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain. We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings and our Market Place are 800 years old. There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another.”
Richmond Upon Thames
Richmond Upon Thames is an affluent London borough that borders the River Thames. It ranks as the happiest place in London for the seventh year in a row. The town has a population of approximately 198,000, which is an increase from the 196,904 population in 2018.
The town has the longest stretch of the River Thames, which runs for over 10 miles through the borough. Richmond Upon Thames is home to a number of historic sites and tourist attractions, including Marble Hill House, Pope’s Grotto and Hampton Court Palace. This borough also boasts the largest park in London, which covers 2,500 acres and 3.69 square miles.
Houses in Richmond sell for an average of £1,196,892, which is the highest average on the list. It costs buyers a whopping £854,491 more than the UK’s national average price to buy a house in this London borough.
The North Yorkshire town of Harrogate is famous for its spas, quaint streets and Bettys Tea Room. Harrogate has been named as the UK’s happiest place to live on several occasions, including three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015.
A third of locations listed in the top 20 are market towns. Typically, smaller towns tend to have a stronger sense of community and regular markets can help to enhance this. Harrogate’s rural district encompasses four different market towns: Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham and Pateley Bridge. The district also contains the medieval city of Ripon, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
All four towns in the Borough of Harrogate are popular destinations for tourists who want to visit the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. The borough has a population of nearly 161,000 residents and is the county’s fourth-largest district.
Houses in Harrogate have an average asking price of £353,624, and the average asking price for rent is £1,163 per month. These prices are slightly higher than most Yorkshire towns, as the average house price in the county is £217,129.
This seaside resort in the South East of England is one-half of the city of Brighton and Hove. Britons flock to the city every year to enjoy the broad promenade, pebble beaches and family-friendly attractions. The city of Brighton and Hove annually attracts over eight million visitors and is regularly voted as one of the UK’s top five tourist destinations.
Hove hosts many popular festivals, including the Sussex Beer Festival and the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival. Community events such as these help to bring people from all walks of life together. The bonds built here can improve the mental health of residents and establish a strong sense of identity.
The average asking price for a house in Hove is £525,906, while the average asking rent is £1,879 per month. These prices make Hove the second most expensive place to live out of the top ten locations in the UK’s happiest places ranking. Hove is also one of only two locations in the south featured on the list.
Llandrindod Wells, also known as ‘Landod’ to locals, is the happiest Welsh town according to Rightmove’s survey. It is Wales’ most central town and one of the largest market towns in the area.
Yet another Victorian spa town, Llandrindod Wells is a popular tourist destination. Boasting 30 natural springs, the town was a fashionable venue for Britons who wanted to ‘take the waters’ throughout the 19th century. The town pays tribute to its past by hosting an annual Victorian Festival, which sees locals and visitors dressing in period costumes. Penny farthings and horse-drawn carriages tour the streets and themed concerts showcase popular songs of the Victorian era.
The town has a bustling centre with a combination of large national stores and smaller family-run businesses. Llandrindod Wells also features a number of sports facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and three international standard outdoor bowling greens.
Hopeful buyers can expect an average asking price of £193,601 for a house and £445 rent per month. The rent is the cheapest out of the featured ten locations, while the average house price is the second cheapest.
This town has not only been named the happiest place in Scotland, but it also boasts the cheapest house prices and rent of the top ten places in the featured list. The average asking price for a house in Stirling is just £191,226, which is £151,175 less than the national average house price. Rent in Stirling is an average of £445 per month, which is a fraction of the average rent in the other featured locations on this list.
Stirling is famous for the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge, which saw William Wallace defeat the English. The medieval Stirling Castle sits on a volcanic rock in the heart of the city and is considered a great destination for families to visit. This city has been referred to as the “broach that clasps the highlands and the lowlands together”.
Crime rates in Stirling are lower than in many other Scottish towns and cities. Stirling is a popular commuter town as it has good motorway links to the M9, M80 and A9. The city is only 37 miles northwest of Edinburgh and 26 miles northwest of Glasgow, which can both be reached in under 40 minutes.
The second Welsh town to feature in the top ten is Monmouth, which is situated near the Welsh-English border at the joining of the River Monnow and the River Wye. The average asking price for a house in Monmouth is £312,649, while the average asking rent is £929 per month.
Monmouth has a thriving shopping centre, as well as various historic sites that showcase the evolution of architecture from the Norman period through the Victorian era and into the 21st century. The Monmouth Bridge, which was built in Old Red Sandstone in 1272, is completely pedestrianised and is a popular walking route.
Monnow Street is the town’s main high street and is full of a variety of jewellery and antique shops and independent boutiques that sit behind colourful shopfronts.
The Welsh town has a proud connection with the founder of Rolls Royce, Charles Rolls, whose family mansion was built just outside of Monmouth. It is believed that Charles Rolls owned one of the first cars in Wales, having bought an early Peugeot model in 1896.
The beautiful cornish town of St Ives is famous for its surf beaches, art scene and picturesque harbours. St Ives is often voted as one of the best family destinations and beaches in the UK and Europe. The town has the second-highest visitor count in the UK, with around 540,000 day-trippers and 220,000 staying visitors every year.
Houses in St Ives have an average asking price of £494,393, and the average asking rent is £1,150. This places St Ives as the third most expensive place to buy a house in the featured list and the fifth most expensive location to rent.
St Ives has repeatedly been named as one of the happiest places to live in the UK and topped Rightmove’s list in 2020. Many residents gave a high rating for the town’s green spaces and their neighbours. Demand for housing in the town more than doubled between 2019 and 2020.
The third and final Welsh location to make it into Rightmove’s top ten is Anglesey. The island is located off the mainland’s northwest coast and is famous for its beaches and historic sites. much of Anglesey’s 125-mile coastline has been listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
As with the other Welsh towns on the list, Anglesey’s house prices and rent prove to be much lower than the other featured locations. Houses in Anglesey have an average asking price of £278,391, which is one of the cheapest prices out of the featured locations. The average asking rent is equally low at £776 per month. This is the second lowest average rent out of the top ten locations.
Located in central England, Leamington Spa is the only location in the Midlands to feature in Rightmove’s happiest places list. the town is known for its Regency architecture and broad boulevards. Although Leamington Spa has a relaxed countryside feel, it has good transport links with larger cities such as Warwick, Birmingham and Stratford Upon Avon.
There are over 40 restaurants and 50 bars in the town centre, as well as a wide range of boutiques and national high street brands. Leamington Spa is also famous for its mineral springs and saline baths, which were built in the 1700s.
Prospective residents can rent a house in Leamington Spa for an average of £1,203 per month or purchase a property for an average of £350,981.
The table below shows the top ten happiest places to live in the UK, based on a recent survey by Rightmove. The data includes the average asking price for a house, as well as the average asking rent per month.
|Rank||Place||Region||Average Asking Price||Average Asking Rent (PCM)|
|2||Richmond upon Thames||Greater London||£1,196,892||£3,235|
|3||Harrogate||Yorkshire and the Humber||£353,624||£1,163|
|8||St Ives||South West||£494,393||£1,150|
|10||Leamington Spa||West Midlands||£350,981||£1,203|