East Hertfordshire has been crowned the UK’s best place to live, according to an annual quality of life survey.
Containing popular market towns, such as Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford, East Hertfordshire made it to the top due to strong exam results, high life expectancy, excellent health and happiness scores, and high average earnings.
The Halifax Quality of Life survey looks at how local authority areas compare, and takes into consideration 26 different factors that home buyers may consider when choosing a place to live.
These factors include employment, earnings, housing affordability, health and wellbeing, education, traffic and crime rates.
Halifax said the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures indicate adults living in East Hertfordshire are among the most happy and content in the UK, with high average life expectancies.
Residents generally feel fit and well, with more than nine in 10 (97%) reporting good or fairly good health.
Fareham, Hart and Horsham in the South East of England came second, third and fourth, with Maldon in the East of England placed fifth.
Whilst the South East and the East of England feature four times each within the top 10, the North of England also claims two spots with Selby and Hambleton.
Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax said: “With bustling market towns and picturesque countryside, East Hertfordshire has topped the table thanks to high life expectancy, good schools and health and happiness scores, with high average earnings.
“Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a place to live, depending on time of life, and personal circumstances.
“Affordability will always be one of the most important factors, with getting a foot on the property ladder still difficult for some people.”
The South East of England claims 18 spots in the top 50 best places to live.
But just two London areas make the top 100, Richmond upon Thames (placed at 64) and Kensington and Chelsea (79th).
Wales’s highest placing is the Vale of Glamorgan at 126th.
Scotland’s is Orkney at number 18 overall and Northern Ireland’s is Lisburn and Castlereagh at 131.
Here are the top 50 places in the UK with the best quality of life, according to Halifax:
1. East Hertfordshire, East of England
2. Fareham, South East
3. Hart, South East
4. Horsham, South East
5. Maldon, East of England
6. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber
7. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
8. Babergh, East of England
9. St Edmundsbury, East of England
10. Wokingham, South East
11. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
12. South Derbyshire, East Midlands
13. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
14. Tonbridge and Malling, South East
15. Rugby, West Midlands
16. Runnymede, South East
17. Wychavon, West Midlands
18. Orkney, Scotland
19. Woking, South East
20. Warwick, West Midlands
21. South Oxfordshire, South East
22. Rushcliffe, East Midlands
23. Huntingdonshire, East of England
24. Newark and Sherwood, East Midlands
25. Rushmoor, South East
26. Forest Heath, East of England
27. Elmbridge, South East
28. Wiltshire, South West
29. Gedling, East Midlands
30. North Dorset, South West
31. Rutland, East Midlands
32. Tewkesbury, South West
33. Rochford, East of England
34. Winchester, South East
35. Bracknell Forest, South East
36. Cherwell, South East
37. Central Bedfordshire, East of England
38. Charnwood, East Midlands
39. Forest of Dean, South West
40. Vale of White Horse, South East
41. West Berkshire, South East
42. New Forest, South East
43. North Warwickshire, West Midlands
44. Guildford, South East
45. Swindon, South West
46. Lichfield, West Midlands
47. Suffolk Coastal, East of England
48. York, Yorkshire and the Humber
49. Basingstoke and Deane, South East
50. Erewash, East Midlands
And here are the local authorities which came out top for quality of life in each nation or region, according to Halifax:
– Fareham, South East
– South Derbyshire, East Midlands
– East Hertfordshire, East of England
– Rugby, West Midlands
– Richmond-upon-Thames, London
– Wiltshire, South West
– Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber
– Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
– Orkney, Scotland
– Eden, North West
– Lisburn and Castlereagh, Northern Ireland
– Darlington, North East