Britain’s happiest and most miserable places to live: where does your hometown rank?

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Amy Swales

The best place to live in Britain is a hotly-contested title, fraught with hometown loyalty and confusing information.

The virtues of Bristol have been previously extolled, and Harrogate's been smugly hogging its happiness awards for a few years now. St Ives is where we'd all go if money was no object, and those of us who live in London are so consistently told we're skint and miserable that we're all running off to Birmingham (if only so we don't have to listen to the rest of the UK telling us how skint and miserable we are).

Now a new survey has put together a top 10 of the best places to live in Britain by combining both happiness and affordability data, meaning a somewhat more realistic list for all us non-lottery winners.

The research, by Hamptons International estate agents, used the Life Satisfaction Index from the Office of National Statistics, and average house price-to-income ratios in different parts of the country to come up with three lists: affordable and happy, expensive and happy, and expensive and unhappy.

So where did your hometown come?


A view of the Lake District from Causey Pike in Allerdale

The north of England and Scotland come out on top, with scenic, rural areas dominating.

Allerdale and Copeland in Cumbria come first and third, while second is Ribble Valley in Lancashire - one of the least densely populated areas in the country. Teesside and Eilean Siar, the Scottish Western Isles, also appear in the top 10 affordable and happy places to live. Fourth was Staffordshire Moorlands (pictured top).

Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons, said: “Overall it’s housing markets close to areas of outstanding natural beauty that top the list as happiest and affordable places to live. Life in the country, a good view and not too many neighbours seem to be some of the secrets to happiness.”

Allerdale’s mayor, Len Davies, said: “I was born and raised in Liverpool and now I live in paradise.

“Crime levels are remarkably low and the house prices would make people in the south faint. You can get a three-bed semi for £89,000 in a place that’s absolutely stunning. I’ve seen salmon spawning in crystal clear water and herons catching fish; I’ve been up close to a kingfisher.”


A bit of that terrible, terrible London

In news to surprise no-one, the most miserable place was named as Haringey in north London - just one of six entries from the capital in the top 10 most unhappy and least affordable areas, including Lewisham, Brent and Ealing.

View the full lists below, and click here to access the Telegraph's interactive map.

Words: Amy Swales / Images: Rex Features


Staffordshire Moorlands


Allerdale, Cumbria

Ribble Valley, Lancashire

Copeland, Cumbria

Staffordshire Moorlands, Staffordshire

Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham

North Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Humber

Darlington, County Durham

East Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire

Stafford, Staffordshire

Eilean Siar, Western Isles


Chichester, West Sussex

New Forest, Hampshire

Purbeck, Dorset

Winchester, Hampshire

Mid Sussex, West Sussex

Waverley, Surrey

Lewes, East Sussex

Uttlesford, Essex

Mole Valley, Surrey

Rochford, Essex


Haringey, London

Lewisham, London

Brentwood, Essex

Brent, London

East Hampshire, Hampshire

Oxford, Oxfordshire

Ealing, London

Hammersmith and Fulham, London

Enfield, London

Guildford, Surrey

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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