Residents of the Northumberland market town of Hexham will have a smile on their faces today after they gained the title of the happiest place to live in Britain.
They join residents in other parts of the North of England – including Harrogate, Skipton, Altrincham and Southport – which also appeared in the top 10 list compiled by property website Rightmove.
Richmond-upon-Thames in London, Dorchester in the South West and Sevenoaks in the South East were also in the top 10 as were Llandrindod Wells and Monmouth, both in Wales.
Historic Hexham has been named the happiest place to live by property website Rightmove
More than 22,000 people responded to Rightmove’s happy at home index survey.
They were asked questions such as the extent to which they feel a sense of community spirit, feel safe, earn enough to live comfortably and whether locals are friendly and polite.
|RANK||PLACE||REGION||AVERAGE ASKING PRICE|
|2||Harrogate||Yorkshire and The Humber||£341,524|
|3||Richmond upon Thames||Greater London||£815,717|
|4||Skipton||Yorkshire and The Humber||£233,274|
|15||Kingston upon Thames||Greater London||£579,250|
|19||Leamington Spa||West Midlands||£332,796|
|24||Hemel Hempstead||East of England||£397,174|
They were also asked about local amenities such as sports facilities, arts and culture, shops, restaurants, doctors’ surgeries, schools and green spaces.
Historic Hexham is host to a farmers’ market as well as Viking-themed events, an array of independent shops and Hexham Old Gaol – reputed to be England’s earliest purpose-built prison.
The town is a tourist gateway to Hadrian’s Wall and Hexham Abbey, with its 1,300-year-old history, stands at its heart.
This four-bed semi-detached house in Cockshaw, Hexham is for sale for £275,000 via estate agent Andrew Coulson
Cultural Hexham has more than 200 historic buildings (pictured: Hexham Abbey)
The average price tag on a home in Hexham is £254,237, according to Rightmove
Bob Hull, mayor of Hexham, said: ‘We have a really strong sense of community up here, which I think is a major reason why residents feel so happy living in Hexham.
‘We have a community-owned cinema and a thriving theatre and arts centre.
|3||East of England|
|7||Yorkshire and The Humber|
‘Our parks have won various Green Flag awards and we’re just half an hour from Newcastle and a major airport.
‘We also boast lots of cultural heritage; the town is a gateway to Hadrian’s Wall, and we have more than 200 listed buildings, which is one of the highest ratios per building of towns this size.’
House hunters in Hexham may also find they can get more of a bargain now than a year ago.
Rightmove said the average price tag on a home there is £254,237 – 5 per cent lower than in 2018, but 9 per cent higher than five years ago.
Homes in Hexham are typically priced at nearly £50,000 less than the national average of £302,808.
Richard Walker, operations co-ordinator at Finest Properties in Hexham, said: ‘The character of this historic market town is easy to see, from the glorious Hexham Abbey that dominates the skyline to the winding streets that are home to independent shops, fabulous restaurants and the weekly market.’
Looking on a broader geographical level, Rightmove found the South West to be the happiest region, followed by the South East and the East.
This three-bedroom house in Llandrindod Wells, Wales, is for sale for £150,000 via estate agents James Dean
This two-bed house in Skipton, Yorkshire, is on the market for £159,950 via estate agent Harrison Boothman
Galashiels returned the highest score for nature and green spaces in Britain and was named as Scotland’s happiest place to live. It finished in 11th place overall.
Llandrindod Wells was identified as the happiest place to live in Wales, coming in fifth place overall across Britain.
Rightmove’s Lydia Yao said: ‘This just goes to show that people place enormous value on living somewhere that they’re proud to call home.
‘Our results also show that having friendly neighbours and being able to be yourself remain hugely important factors when measuring the happiest places to live in Great Britain.’
Leigh-on-Sea in Essex came top in last year’s survey. This year, it slipped to 37th.
This two-bed semi-detached in Richmond is for sale for £800,000 via Hamptons estate agent
|Place||National Rank||Regional Rank|
|Richmond upon Thames||3||1|
|Kingston upon Thames||15||2|
|Kensington and Chelsea||28||3|
|City of London||133||17|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||146||20|
|Barking and Dagenham||194||33|