The ideal place to live in the UK: and it's not where you think

Sarah Coles
Cornwall Views
Cornwall Views

Mayfair might be the most expensive, and Poole in Dorset may have the hottest property by the seaside, but they have both been roundly trounced in a new survey of the best place to live in the UK. The title has been taken by the Cornish seaside idyll, St Ives.

St Ives
Rightmove Director and Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside explained: "Many people choose to holiday by the sea, and given the choice of where to live they would like to make that a permanent arrangement. But it also seems many like the features of a smart town or city, so one near the coast seems the ideal location to live." St Ives has the amenities, the weather, and the seaside. As a classic seaside town it is a natural choice for the top spot.

Poole in Dorset
Poole was second. The fact that Poole didn't make the top spot perhaps demonstrates that people aren't completely sold on the idea of paying over the odds for their seaside idyll. There's also the risk that if somehow you could afford to make the move, you'd be living cheek-by-jowl with multimillionaires and all the ego that tends to come with having bucket-loads of cash.

Third place went to a seaside location with the added benefit of being a stone's throw from London. It means that as well as those flocking to Brighton for all it has to offer, commuters could also envisage their seaside idyll making financial sense. The influx of sophisticated urbanites to Brighton over the last two decades in particular also makes it a cultural hot spot, with plenty of high and low culture available on the doorstep.

The Scottish capital was named fourth. The historic town has the huge advantage of being on a workable scale, so there's the chance to live in a city and still be able to walk to work in less time than it takes a Londoner to queue for a packed tube carriage. Technically Edinburgh is by the sea too, but with a summer season blighted by fog it's unlikely to attract many for the sun-worshipping opportunities.

York came in fifth place. The beauty and history of the city, and the famous welcoming hospitality of the locals, make it a naturally attractive place for those looking for a home city packed with entertainment, culture, and tea shops.

Ideal homes

The survey also asked people to identify their requirements of a perfect place to live. They found that people prioritised being within walking distance of the pub over the proximity of parks and supermarkets. And when asked to describe the ideal property, rather than going for a blinged-up footballing mansion, they chose a detached house with three bedrooms, one kitchen, two living rooms, two bathrooms, a garden and a utility room.

Shipside said: "While we gave people the chance to choose a home fit for royalty, on average they said they would be happy in a more modest home with plenty of space and practical features, instead of rattling around in a massive mansion. This shows that the perfect home for many is one that they know they could possibly live in one day, depending on where they are looking to buy, rather than a pipe dream."

The top 10
1. St Ives
2. Poole
3. Brighton
4. Edinburgh
5. York
6. Liverpool
7. Harrogate
8. Bristol
9. Cardiff
10. Dartmouth

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