Best place to live in UK has been announced - and the results will surprise you 2 months ago

Best place to live in UK has been announced - and the results will surprise you

Some of the usual suspects didn't make the cut because they're now so expensive

The best places to live in UK have been announced - and the results may not be what you were expecting.

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The picturesque spa town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire has been crowned the best place to live by The Sunday Times in what is the tenth edition of its Best Places to Live guide.

Ilkley took the lead ahead of 70 other locations that the publication thinks represent the very best of the UK.

The town was praised for its great schools, varied high street, incredible scenery and handy rail links. Judges were also wowed by its sport clubs, opportunities for young people and energetic community spirit. Volunteering is a huge part of life in Ilkley, the judges said, with the cinema and marketplace both launched by locals.

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The Grove, Ilkley (Credit: Leadinglights)

Other winning regional locations included the village of Trawden in Lancashire, where residents worked together to save the pub, shop and community centre. Uppingham in Rutland was also crowned as a top location for its sophisticated take on rural living. Slaithwaite, the canal-side mill village, saw another victory for West Yorkshire this year too.

When it comes to London, Crystal Palace was named the best place to live.

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In Wales it was Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire, where there are loads of independent shops in the town centre. In Northern Ireland it was Ballycastle in Co Antrim - a super friendly place with a great home-grown food culture and beautiful coastal scenery, according to judges.

Meanwhile in Scotland it was the Isle of Bute, which has a great creative and entrepreneurial spirit, highlighted by its businesses set up by Syrian refugees who relocated there - plus, it's only a 90 minute commute from Glasgow.

A section of the ruins of the former Crystal Palace, in Crystal Palace Park (Credit: whitemay)
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Many entries were small villages, showing just how much our priorities have changed since covid arrived and made us all work from home.

Hathersage in the Peak District got a shout-out for the 1930s heated pool that has recently been renovated there. So did London's suburban celeb-spot Hanwell, the Shipston Proms in Warwickshire and the revival of picking unharvested crops to give to food charities in Deal, Kent.

You may be surprised that places such as Edinburgh, York and Cambridge are nowhere to be seen on this list - but the simple fact is that it's just too expensive to live in these destinations now and other locations offer way better value, judges said.

Cornwall wasn't included because of the housing market problem which has been created by people buying second homes in the area.

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The village of Kilchattan Bay at sunset on the Isle of Bute, Scotland (Credit: Scott O'Neill) The village of Kilchattan Bay at sunset on the Isle of Bute, Scotland (Credit: Scott O'Neill)

Speaking about how the list has changed over the years, the guide's editor Helen Davies said: "When we launched the inaugural list, it was all about schools and smart supermarkets. London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains.

"These days there’s more mention of festivals, bookshops, markets, living car-free, wild swimming spots and energetic communities who’ll stop at nothing to improve where they live.

"This year we have discovered more new best places to live, from resurgent city centres in the North, rejuvenated suburbs across the country, hidden villages in the South West, and a commutable Scottish island."

You can check out the top 10 overall winners below:

  1. Ilkley
  2. Norwich
  3. Crystal Palace
  4. Uppingham
  5. Slaithwaite
  6. Ballycastle
  7. Trawden
  8. Isle of Bute
  9. Sevenoaks
  10. Chalke Valley
  11. Llandeilo

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