The Happiest Places in the UK

The three top priorities for choosing a new home are, according to the saying, ‘location, location, location. Of course, there are lots of other priorities but there is no arguing the importance of location.

Different surveys have different criteria for deciding the happiest places to live in the UK and the best places to live:

  • Rightmove: determines happiness levels based on 12 factors  including local services, the level of community spirit, the quality of cultural activities in the area, a sense of belonging, earning enough to live comfortably and ‘being able to be themselves.’

  • The Halifax: Quality of Life Survey is based on factors including low crime rates, rainfall and sunshine, qualifications of residents, the health of residents, life satisfaction, anxiety levels and employment and wages.

  • The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in The UK list is based upon a variety of elements including an area’s transport links, quality of schooling, community spirit and cultural pursuits.

  • Best UK Cities for Living and Working 2020 – Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Demos survey: which takes jobs, health, house affordability and environment into account. 


Taking all these criteria in mind, our own experience in the southern counties, along with the opinions of our customers and potential house buyers, we have put together our list of the Top 10 Happiest Places in Britain.

1) St Albans, Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire tops the charts in most of the surveys offering rich culture and excellent commuting links – and St Albans has been cited as The Sunday Times’ Best Place to Live in the South East 2020. The Sunday Times’ says that in St Albans ‘… a host of independent shops, bustling markets, a pub culture that’s second to none are just some of the reasons to get the ‘abbey’ habit.’

Beechcroft’s developments at King Harry Park and Maryland Place have been amongst our most popular retirement communities.  

St Albans cathedral

2) Skipton, Yorkshire

Skipton is no stranger to the lists of Britain’s Happiest Places to Live or the Best Places to Live lists – The Independent described it as a place which ‘even looks good in the rain’ and it was the Sunday Times’ inaugural Best Place to Live in 2014.

As the gateway to the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, people travel the length and breadth of the country to visit this charming market town.

Skipton, Yorkshire

3) Wallingford, Oxfordshire

South Oxfordshire was in the top 25 Happiest Places to Live in the UK in 2020 according to the Halifax survey - and Wallingford was in the Sunday Times’ top Best Places to Live 2020. The publication described Wallingford as ‘a delightful town with a packed social calendar where local pride runs deep.’

It’s easy to while away the time exploring the independent shops and antique stores, taking a stroll around the Castle Gardens, the former site of one of England’s most impressive citadels, or tracing the remains of Wallingford’s Saxon past.

As well as being home to Beechcroft’s head office Wallingford also is home to luxury developments designed exclusively for the over 55’s both Silversmith Place and Farthing House are available to buy now.

Wallingford bridge

4) Abersoch, Gwynedd, Wales

Abersoch ranked highly in the Best Places to Live in Wales in both 2019 and 2020. A popular – and very fashionable – seaside resort and sailing/watersports centre, with fine beaches and sheltered harbour. Busy bistro life plus a good choice of accommodation and attractions including pony trekking, boat trips and crafts centre.

Abersoch is also a base for six circular walks ranging from under a mile to over nine miles. For further details visit the local Tourist Information Centre managed by volunteers. For many, this has been the destination for family holidays over the years.

Beach huts in Abersoch

5) Cobham, Surrey

Set on the banks of the River Mole, within easy reach of the A3 and M25, Cobham provides everything you’ll need on a daily basis. Cobham is described as a ‘celebrity hotspot that remains refreshingly down-to-earth.’ Cobham was on the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in the UK list last year.

We really like Cobham because it has a great mix of shops, restaurants and pubs – and good transport links. We selected it because our homeowners think it’s one of the happiest places to live and they love it. Find out more about our White Lion Place development in Cobham.

Cobham high street

6) Guildford, Surrey.

Guildford, the historic vibrant country town of Surrey, with its quaint cobbled High Street and wealth of attractions, has the perfect balance between city and rural life – the shopping centre is impressive, but the town has plenty of green spaces and is surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful open spaces.

Beechcroft has a number of both luxurious retirement communities and Special Projects developments available across Surrey.

Guildford high street in Surrey

7) Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Leamington Spa is a frequent fixture on the Best Places to Live list being described, last year, by the Sunday Times as ‘an affluent old spa town that conceals a caffeinated cutting edge behind its elegant Regency facades.’ It makes an appearance on our list because its such a beautiful Georgian town with a wealth of green spaces – it seems to have much in common with another Royal town – Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Leamington Spa

8) Oxford, Oxfordshire

For anyone seeking city life, Oxford could be the perfect spot. Oxford is a beautiful city of stunning architecture, history and culture. You'll find ancient and modern colleges, fascinating museums and galleries, and plenty of parks, gardens and green spaces in which to relax. Plus, the city centre is small enough to cover on foot, and only a few minutes walk from the main rail and coach stations.

Oxford has been selected as one of the Best Places To Live and Work in the UK for the fourth year in a row. South Oxfordshire often appears on the list of Best Places to Live and it was crowned ‘The Best Place to Live in the South East’ in the Halifax Quality of Life Survey published in December 2019.

We love Oxford, which is only six miles from our Wheatley development and around 14 miles from Wallingford and Thame developments.

Oxford city centre and university

9) Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Altrincham has moved up the lists – just ten years ago Altrincham had the highest number of shop vacancies in the UK, but now it’s thriving and it’s the ‘ultimate turnaround town’. The Sunday Times describes it as ‘a revitalised centre with first-class food and drink, a great, friendly community with an ‘unspoken camaraderie’ and a thriving outdoor market.

Altrincham, Greater Manchester

10) Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire

Another town that’s consistently recognised in the Best Places to Live in the UK lists. A charming historic and thriving town with interesting and unusual features.It is becoming increasingly popular with tourists due to its wonderful mixture of shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Described by The Times as ‘Cotswolds without tours… in this popular market town where fun comes before airs and graces.”  We have chosen this area because we love the Cotswolds – beautiful villages, spectacular countryside and a relaxed way of life.   

If you love the Cotswolds be sure to explore our forthcoming collections page to find out about any new developments we are currently planning in the area and sign up to register your interest. We currently have a planned development in Burford which will be ready later in 2020.


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