Skip navigation

Best places to live in Britain

River Welland in Stamford, LincolnshireStamford in Lincolnshire is the most desirable location in the country, according to new research. We look at the best places to live in Britain.

Where is the best place to live in Britain and what makes it the ideal location?

Well, based on transport links, quality of schools, natural beauty, low crime rate, property prices, cultural life and unemployment figures, it is Stamford in Lincolnshire.

Coming second to Stamford is Kendal in Cumbria, followed by Wye in Kent, and Thornbury, near Bristol, in the south-west of England.

Local attractions

This is according to the new "Best places to live in Britain" guide published by the Sunday Times.

The newspaper says each area was also assessed on its own individual features, for example, local festivals, fascinating architecture or proximity to an airport.

Eleanor Mills is editor of the guide and author of the newspaper’s "Beyond the Brochure" property column.

Mills says: "Scampering around Britain for my column I find there are particular bits of our crowded island which always retain a particular attraction for people. 

"We have built on this basic information to create a definitive guide."

Stamford, Lincolnshire

"The ducks are quacking and the river sparkles in the spring sunshine.

"Across the green of Stamford’s famous water meadows, young families and couples enjoy the day, sipping takeaway coffees from the cosy independent cafes such as the Fine Food Store, that line the gloriously Georgian high street."

This was the guide’s stirring description of this northern town.

One of Stamford’s claims to fame is that it has served as a backdrop for period TV dramas such as Pride & Prejudice and Middlemarch.

It was also Britain’s first conservation area.

"More rural than Hertfordshire, classier than Essex and more original (and cheaper) than Surrey."

Stamford is the Cotswolds without the cars, snobs and tourists, according to the newspaper.

Kendal, Cumbria

Narrow paved street in Kendal, CumbriaThis "picturesque" Lake District town has "superlative shopping, bags of community spirit and an enviable location in the heart of one of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes".

Kendal’s town council describes the old market town thus: "The town’s unique blend of history, culture and shopping make it a very popular destination for visitors.

"For many years Kendal was one of the most important wool towns in the country, even more important than West Yorkshire.

"The town was also a stopping off point for cattle drives from Scotland as well as a very important market (which still continues today)."

Wye, Kent

Wye Crown in Kent"Nestling in the spectacular scenery of the North Downs, with easy access to endless walking and cycling routes," says the Sunday Times.

The newspaper also praises Wye’s transport links.

Wye is a 20-minute drive from Canterbury, and boasts its own train station which will whisk you to  Ashford International, the gateway to the Continent, in just six minutes.

All in all, "a great all-rounder, popular with families and retirees".

Thornbury, Gloucestershire

St Mary's Church in Thornbury, GloucestershireFree parking in the centre of town? Yes, really!

This, plus the fact the centre of town boasts a traditional greengrocer and ironmonger, made it a favourite in the guide.

The town’s transport links were also praised, with the M4 and M5 nearby, and Bristol only a 15-minute drive away.

"Thornbury is also set in beautiful countryside, with the Severn estuary, beaches and the Wye valley a short drive away.

"Community spirit with big city conveniences – and great countryside – on the doorstep," is how the Sunday Times sums it up.

What do you think?

If money was no object, where would be your ideal place to live in Britain? 

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.

Like this? Share it


Get a FREE BRIAN toy when you buy home insurance (Ts&Cs apply).

Home Insurance

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

View more from Naphtalia

Most popular articles