The people have spoken : happiest places to live in Great Britain revealed in new survey

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Warwickshire town knocks Essex’s Leigh-on-Sea off the national top spot, while Richmond is still the happiest borough in London.

Leamington Spa has been named the happiest place to live in Great Britain, knocking Leigh-on-Sea off the top spot.

The Warwickshire town scored the highest in Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home study, which asked over 17,000 people across 159 areas of the country how happy they are where they live.

The results were based on how they ranked 12 factors ranging from community spirit and safety to green spaces and local amenities.

Leamington Spa was rated by locals as a friendly place with a strong sense of belonging where residents feel they can be themselves.

‘LESS CROWDED BATH’

Samantha Holton, town centre specialist at Knight Frank estate agents, described the town as “a less crowded version of Bath”, noting that its sense of history resonates with buyers.

She said: “The town is popular with young professionals due to its excellent transport links and easy commute to city centres such as Coventry, Birmingham and London, while families are attracted to the town due to the range of state, private and grammar schools and amenities the town has to offer.”

“From gin bars and live music venues to comedy at The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa has a variety of entertainment. There are over 200 restaurants, pubs and coffee shops in the town centre. There seems to be a new venue opening on a weekly basis and current hotspots include Coffee Architects, Restaurant 23 and The Star & Garter.” 

HOW MUCH IS A HOUSE?

House prices in Leamington Spa currently average at £330,848 — up £20,000 on last year and slightly higher than the national average of £310,000.

The style of property available, especially the Georgian, Regency and Victorian houses, has contributed to Leamington’s appeal, with the “best in class” homes found on streets such as Lansdowne Circus, Binswod Avenue and Milverton Terrace.

“London buyers are able to take advantage of the price gap that currently exists between London and “country” properties,” said Holton. “This price difference is nearly the widest it has ever been, giving them more bricks and mortar for their buck in country markets.”

STRONG TRANSPORT LINKS

Leamington Spa offers great access to the surrounding towns, as well as direct trains to London Marylebone in 80 minutes.

Clive Thompson, office manager at EHB Residential estate agents, noted that strong local employment is also a major draw, with Jaguar Landrover continuing to expand and the likes of Aston Martin, National Grid, Warwick University and the computer games industry all choosing the town as a base.

“Leamington Spa continues to remain a highly desirable and popular place to live and it seems all residents would agree,” he said. “We simply see lots of buyers move to the area and stay.

“Having found a town which offers many cultural and leisure facilities with easy access to and from you can see why many are proud to call Leamington Spa home.”

THE OTHER HAPPIEST PLACES

Last year’s winner, Leigh-on-Sea, came second in the 2017 survey. The seaside town in Essex offers the perfect coastal retreat for stressed-out Londoners, with its sea views, abundance of community events and direct 45-minute commute into the city.

The Wirral peninsula in the northwest is in third with its five nature reserves and quick commutes to Liverpool and Manchester.

Spa towns dominate this year, with Harrogate, Tunbridge Wells and Epsom joining Leamington Spa in the top ten.

Three-time winner Harrogate in North Yorkshire has dropped from third to fourth place, but residents continue to praise the famous spa town’s beautiful scenery, friendly spirit and cherished local businesses such as Bettys Tea Room.

The leafy, affluent town of Tunbridge Wells in Kent came fifth, its chic independent shops, buzzy cafes and acclaimed restaurants getting the thumbs up from locals. Found at the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it takes just under an hour to reach London Charing Cross by train.

THE TOP 10 HAPPIEST PLACES TO LIVE

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