Orkney Islands retain crown as 'Britain's best rural place to live'

The Orkney Islands have been identified as Britain's best rural place to live for the second year in a row.

The latest Halifax 2018 Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey put Rutland in the East Midlands in second place, followed by Wychavon in the West Midlands and Winchester and Waverley in the South East.

The annual study looks at aspects of life including employment, education as well as social and environmental factors to make the findings.

The Orkney Islands kept the top spot after scoring well on employment levels, average spend per pupil on education, low anxiety levels, low crime rates, low primary class sizes and consistently high scores in life satisfaction and happiness.

In second place, residents in Rutland residents have some of the biggest homes in rural Britain, with an average of 6.4 habitable rooms, Halifax said.

The North East of England had no places in Halifax's top 50, with Northumberland ranked at number 95.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, and Halifax, said: "With strong education and employment levels, low crime rates and residents loving life, not to mention breathtaking wide open spaces, the Orkney Islands have retained the crown of Britain's best rural place to live."

Looking at how rural quality of life varies across the country, he said rural areas in the South East receive higher weekly earnings, while those in the East Midlands have larger property sizes.

Mr Galley continued: "On the southern coast, sunnier climates shine through in the rankings, while, lower house prices-to-earnings, wellbeing and class sizes give northern areas the desirability factor."

Here are the top 50 rural areas in Britain with the best quality of life, according to Halifax:
1. Orkney Islands, Scotland
2. Rutland, East Midlands
3. Wychavon, West Midlands
4. Winchester, South East
5. Waverley, South East
6. Craven, Yorkshire and the Humber
7. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
8. Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands
9. Uttlesford, East of England
10. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
11. South Oxfordshire, South East
12. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber
13. St Edmundsbury, East of England
14. Suffolk Coastal, East of England
15. Purbeck, South West
16. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
17. West Oxfordshire, South East
18. Harborough, East Midlands
19. Monmouthshire, Wales
20. Eden, North West
21. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
22. Tewkesbury, South West
23. Chichester, South East
24. Babergh, East of England
25. Maldon, East of England
26. Cotswold, South West
27. Aylesbury Vale, South East
28. Wiltshire, South West
29. West Dorset, South West
30. East Devon, South West
31. Mid Devon, South West
32. Rushcliffe, East Midlands
33. Malvern Hills, West Midlands
34. South Norfolk, East of England
35. South Lakeland, North West
36. Vale of White Horse, South East
37. South Hams, South West
38. Huntingdonshire, East of England
39. Horsham, South East
40. North Warwickshire, West Midlands
41. Shetland Islands, Scotland
42. East Hampshire, South East
43. Central Bedfordshire, East of England
44. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands
45. North Devon, South West
46. Mid Suffolk, East of England
47. East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire and The Humber
48. Teignbridge, South West
49. Ribble Valley, North West
50. North Kesteven, East Midlands

And here are the top rural places to live in each region and their overall position in the rankings, according to Halifax:
- Scotland, Orkney Islands, 1
- East Midlands, Rutland, 2
-West Midlands, Wychavon, 3
- South East, Winchester, 4
- Yorkshire and the Humber, Craven, 6
- East of England, Uttlesford, 9
- South West, Purbeck, 15
- Wales, Monmouthshire, 19
- North West, Eden, 20
- North East, Northumberland, 95

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