Best place to live in the UK revealed

Orkney has been crowned the UK’s best place to live in an annual quality of life survey.

With its breathtaking landscapes and archaeological treasures, Orkney has been the runner-up for the past two years in Halifax’s quality of life survey.

The survey looks at a range of data covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education, health, personal wellbeing and leisure to rank the areas with the best quality of life.

High employment levels, low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary school class sizes and good health and happiness scores helped propel Orkney to the top spot, Halifax said.

Quality of life
Marwick Head in Orkney (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Orkney is also a relatively affordable place to live – with an average house price of £173,349, standing at 5.2 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared with the national average ratio of 7.3.

Richmondshire in North Yorkshire took second place.

Excellent personal wellbeing scores, low crime rates and amounts of traffic – and a large number of pubs compared with the population size – helped secure Richmondshire’s place as the runner-up.

Richmondshire is followed by Rutland in the East Midlands, Hambleton in North Yorkshire and Eden in Cumbria.

London has just two areas in the top 50 – Westminster (15) and Richmond-upon-Thames (40).

Parts of the South score well on employment, earnings, life expectancy and health and the weather, while the North tends to fare better in terms of housing affordability, lower traffic flows and population densities and lower primary school sizes.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “Orkney has consistently been considered one of the best places to live in the UK and Orcadians will be delighted to hear they have now taken the crown.

“Its remote location may not be for everyone, but this comes with the benefit of having high employment, low crime rates, smaller class sizes and more affordable housing.”

He continued: “While the South East continues to have the most locations in the top 50, we’ve seen northern areas perform particularly well on education, while they also benefit from lower house prices when compared to average earnings.”

Here are the top 50 places in the UK in Halifax’s 2019 quality of life survey:

1. Orkney, Scotland
2. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
3. Rutland, East Midlands
4. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
5. Eden, North West
6. South Oxfordshire, South East
7. Cotswold, South West
8. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
9. St Albans, East of England
10. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands
11. Vale of White Horse, South East
12. Waverley, South East
13. Hart, South East
14. East Hertfordshire, East of England
15. Westminster, London
16. Winchester, South East
17. Rushmoor, South East
18. Uttlesford, East of England
19. Wychavon, West Midlands
20. Harborough, East Midlands
21. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
22. Rushcliffe, East Midlands
23. Ribble Valley, North West
24. Surrey Heath, South East
25. Wokingham, South East
26. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber
27. Babergh, East of England
28. West Oxfordshire, South East
29. South Buckinghamshire, South East
30. Windsor and Maidenhead, South East
31. Warwick, West Midlands
32. Elmbridge, South East
33. Chichester, South East
34. Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands
35. Lichfield, West Midlands
36. Malvern Hills, West Midlands
37. Rochford, East of England
38. Chiltern, South East
39. Shetland, Scotland
40. Richmond-upon-Thames, London
41. West Berkshire, South East
42. Basingstoke and Deane, South East
43. South Hams, South West
44. Fareham, South East
45. St Edmundsbury, East of England
46. Wycombe, South East
47. Mid Suffolk, East of England
48. Monmouthshire, Wales
49. Daventry, East Midlands
50. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber

And here is the local authority district with the best quality of life in each region in 2019, according to Halifax’s quality of life survey:

– South Oxfordshire, South East
– Rutland, East Midlands
– St Albans, East of England
– Wychavon, West Midlands
– Westminster, London
– Cotswold, South West
– Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
– Monmouthshire, Wales
– Orkney, Scotland
– Eden, North West
– Lisburn and Castlereagh, Northern Ireland
– Northumberland, North East