The top ten happiest places in the UK

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If you want to be happy, steer well clear of London and head for the North of England. A new study measured 12 aspects of happiness, including neighbourliness and safety, and revealed that people are far happier in the North of England.

So where are the happiest places in the UK, and why?


Happiest

The study, by Rightmove, found that the happiest place to live in the UK is Harrogate in North Yorkshire. The spa town didn't top the charts on any of the 12 measures, but turned in a solid performance on all of them - including safety, neighbourliness and recreation. Clearly it helps that the town is beautiful, with plenty to do, and strong local amenities.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside says: "Harrogate's position demonstrates the complex web of factors that makes for a happy place to live. The top-ranked places in our survey reflect the fact that we need a healthy balance of not only confidence in the value of our homes and pride in where we live, but also all-round enjoyment of the things to do and in our area and sense of well-being in the local community."

He adds: "Average asking prices in Harrogate are up 5.6% year-on-year, outperforming the national average of 1.2% and North Yorkshire average of 0.4%, indicating that there is demand to live in the UK's happiest place."

The second happiest place is Stockport, which put in a particularly strong showing for both wellbeing and pride

North/South

Some towns in the South did better. In third place is Ipswich (boosted by a strong showing for contentment with your property), and in fourth is Exeter (which scored particularly well on neighbourliness).

Shipside adds: "While many property market and economic reports make much of the so-called north-south divide, these findings buck that particular trend and show that those living in the North are happier than those in the South. As with house prices, there are various regional hotspots of particularly happy locations but our findings overall show that it's not so grim up north after all."

Meanwhile, nine of the ten unhappiest places were in Greater London. Bottom of the list was East London, where the Olympics has failed to address all the problems of the area. This was followed by Croydon, east central London and Ilford. Dudley in the West Midlands was the only non-London location in the bottom ten.

Shipside blamed the lack of space, and increased risk of crime for the low scores in London. It also took a hit from the cost of running a home, and neighbourliness scores were lower, largely due to the frequency of home moves in the capital.

He saya: "With nine of the UK's least happy places to live in our nation's capital, it does beg the question – are those sacrifices worth it to be happy at home in London?"

Top 10

Harrogate
Stockport
Ipswich
Exeter
St Albans
Kingston upon Thames
Bath
Worcester
Bromley
Truro

Bottom 10

West London
Croydon
East Central London
Ilford
South East London
Enfield
North West London
West London
Dudley
North London

Best in Class

Top for decor: Cleveland
Top for space: Aberdeen
Top for contentment: Ipswich
Top for value: London East Central
Top for well-being: Bromley
Top for pride: Lincoln
Top for costs: Aberdeen
Top for safety: Hereford
Top for recreation: Kingston-upon-Thames
Top for neighbourliness: Exeter

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