Each year, the property search site Rightmove produces its “Happy at Home Index”, a list of the “happiest” places to live in the UK according to a survey of 21,000 people.
The cities, towns, and villages are all ranked on aspects such as the available cultural and artistic activities, as well as access to parks and other green spaces.
This list can provide some interesting insight into where Britons really want to live, and could even signal an opportunity for buy-to-let (BTL) landlords.
So, read on to discover where the 10 happiest places are in the UK as chosen by UK residents, as well as how much you’ll pay for the average property in each location.
10. Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Known as the “Capital of the Cotswolds”, Cirencester has a lovely blend of modern venues and engrossing historical sites. Not only home to the Corinium Museum, which holds the most extensive Roman collection in the country, Cirencester is also the home of the demolished St Mary’s Abbey, which has been transformed into a gorgeous park containing the ancient ruins.
With an average asking price of £382,065 and an average rent of £1,331 per calendar month (pcm), the town’s rich history and beautiful landscape are why it deserves a spot on this list.
9. Stirling, Scotland
Situated in central Scotland, Stirling is full of brilliant monuments to Scottish history, from breathtaking views from the top of the National Wallace Monument to the 40,000 artworks and historical objects at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery.
It is also only a short drive to Loch Lomond, where there are a range of shops and restaurants.
Stirling is a wonderful and welcoming city and, for an average asking price of only £197,075 or £990 pcm, is also one of the cheapest options on the list.
8. Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Bury St Edmunds is home to some of the most interesting history in the UK, including the ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund, the first patron saint of England. The town contains several parks, including the award-winning Abbey Gardens, as well as the beautiful 80-hectare Nowton Park.
Also featuring the UK’s only remaining Regency playhouse, the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, the town is one of the most culturally significant places in the country. Average asking prices sit at £334,160 or £1,368 pcm according to Rightmove.
7. Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey is well known for the spectacular sights located around the island, whether that’s on its 140-mile Coastal Path or from the famous South Stack Lighthouse.
For even more picturesque landscapes, it’s just a short boat ride to Llanddwyn Island, home to the church ruins of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.
From the moment you cross the Menai Suspension Bridge – the first modern suspension bridge in the world – you will see why Anglesey is home to some of the happiest residents in the UK, with an average asking price of £324,048 or £766 pcm.
6. Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Harrogate gained a reputation for its luxurious getaways in the 1800s as Victorian elites flocked there to visit the famous spas, and it still maintains this aura of indulgence to this day.
There are original Turkish baths in the Royal Baths building, while the Grade II-listed Valley Gardens boasts the most mineral springs in the world across its 17 acres of woodland.
Synonymous with comfort and leisure, Harrogate is also only a short drive from the 1,350-year-old Ripon Cathedral, which is one of the oldest buildings in England and is still in use today. Rightmove measured the town to have an average asking price of £381,124 or £1,327 pcm.
5. Perth, Scotland
Perth is the centre of a wild blend of culture, from museums to art galleries and fantastic outdoor spaces.
The Perth Museum and Art Gallery offers a selection of touring exhibitions and varied workshops, and there’s also the Black Watch Castle and Museum, displaying a huge collection of memorabilia from the UK’s military history in an impressive 12th-century castle.
Winner of Scotland’s “Food Town of the Year” in 2018, Perth has an average asking price of only £179,410 or £812 pcm.
4. Hexham, Northumberland
Having alternated with St Ives as the happiest place to live every year since 2019, Hexham is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and interesting towns in the country.
The town plays host to the Alnwick Garden, featuring over 4,000 plant varieties in plots such as the Bamboo Labyrinth and the Cherry Orchard, as well as the Hexham Old Gaol, the earliest purpose-built prison in England.
With an average asking price of £262,265 or £810 pcm, Hexham properties lie at the lower end of prices on this year’s list.
3. Woodbridge, Suffolk
Woodbridge sits on the banks of the river Deben, with average asking prices of £481,978 or £1,196 pcm to be found in the old port town.
The town is home to Tide Mill Museum, one of Suffolk’s most iconic buildings. Although it is over 800 years old, the mill still produces flour, as well as documenting its history in a large museum.
For more history, there’s also the Sutton Hoo archaeological site. The 255-acre estate is a monument to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time: an undisturbed Anglo-Saxon burial ship, which is one of only three that have ever been discovered.
2. Galashiels, Scotland
Galashiels is located on the Scottish border and earned the title of the second happiest place to live in the UK thanks to its scenic surroundings and busy high street.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland, a beautiful piece of art which was hand stitched by 1,000 people across Scotland and made up of 300 miles of wool, resides in Galashiels. There’s also the Pavilion, an independent cinema that is more than 100 years old.
As the first Scottish location to feature in the top three since 2016, and with the most affordable house prices out of the entire list at an average asking price of £153,546 or £530 pcm, Galashiels is a worthy recipient of the second-place position.
1. St Ives, Cornwall
This years’ winner for the happiest town goes to Cornwall’s St Ives, thanks to its idyllic location right on the north coast of the county.
The town is home to a number of award-winning restaurants, bars, and cafes. Additionally, St Ives boasts a wide selection of galleries and art workshops, including the iconic Tate St Ives, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and showcases some of the best-loved British artworks.
With a high score for community spirit and a sense of belonging as well as the ocean on the doorstep, it’s clear why St Ives has the happiest residents in the UK. It also has the highest average asking price of any of the places on the list, standing at £523,731 or £1,152 pcm.
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