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Top 20 happiest places to live in the UK: Is your town on the list?

happiest  St Ives, Cornwall, England, UK, Holidaymakers relax in deck chairs on the harborside looking towards Porthminster beach. St Ives famous holiday resort.. (Photo by: Peter Titmuss/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
St Ives in Cornwall has been named the happiest place to live in the UK by Rightmove. Photo: Peter Titmuss/Getty

The UK’s happiest places to live have been revealed, with St Ives in Cornwall claiming the number one spot this year.

St Ives overtakes Hexham to this year’s top spot, having alternated with the market town for first place since 2019, according to Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index in 2022

The residents of St Ives scored the area highly for its sense of community spirit, the sense of belonging the residents have, and how comfortable residents feel to be themselves.

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The average asking price for a home in St Ives is £523,731, which is 6% higher than last year when it was £492,870. This is higher than the current national average asking price of £366,999.

“St Ives has a vibrant and active local community that during the winter months enjoy all the local clubs and leisure facilities," Paul Le Bas, sales business development Manager at Millerson in St Ives said.

“During the summer months we get to enjoy the three award winning beaches and great surf at Porthmeor whilst joining in with the holiday makers. All year round we are able to visit the amazing restaurants and café bars most of which are highly rated in the national press. The coastal walks are second to none. From Porthminster round to Clodgy the views are stunning as you look out over the turquoise seas. As the seasons change, so does the town. The sea shows its power with its Northly swells pounding the beaches and the town becomes a winter wonderland of festive lights for Xmas. Even Father Christmas arrives on the Lifeboat!," he added.

Galashiels in the Scottish Borders is second in this year’s list, which is the first time an area from Scotland has been ranked in the top three since 2016, and the market town of Woodbridge in Suffolk is third.

Residents of Galashiels scored it particularly highly on the friendliness and politeness of the people, and it came top in this area across Great Britain.

“It is no surprise that Galashiels is so loved by its residents. It is the largest of the Border towns, with a population of circa 15,000. Its central placement in the Borders makes it a popular location for families, giving a relaxed way of life while being in a commutable distance of Edinburgh via either the Borders Railway, bus or car,” Alice Brown, valuer at Rettie & Co. Borders, said.

“Steeped in history, Galashiels has a wide variety of housing from classic period properties to new builds, offering something for every type of buyer. The countryside surrounding Galashiels also has much to offer, especially for those with an interest in rural pursuits such as walking, trail running, biking, wild swimming, etc,” she added.

Anglesey is the happiest place to live in Wales, and Richmond upon Thames is once again the happiest place to live in London, coming top for an eighth year in a row.

Richmond topped the list for its access to sport and recreational activities and scored the highest out of any London area for its access to nature and green spaces.

UK’s Happiest Places 2022. Table: Rightmove
UK’s Happiest Places 2022. Table: Rightmove

“This year’s Happy at Home survey really shows that the things that make people happy to live in their area are not so much the physical aspects of that area but more the personal aspects, such as our sense of belonging, the community and the people,” Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said.

“The last few months have undoubtedly been difficult for many, and as we learned during another difficult period in 2020, this is often when we look to our local area and community for support and happiness,” he added.

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This year’s study was carried out as the cost-of-living squeeze rises, which was reflected in the survey results.

One in five (22%) renters said they planned to move in the next 12 months to get better value for money in their area, along with 16% of buyers. One in ten renters (11%) said they were moving to reduce energy costs, rising to 12% for buyers.

When considering what was most important about the property they might move to, a garden is most important to buyers (29%), however renters are more concerned about the energy costs of the property (20%).

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