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Revealed: The Happiest Place to Live in Great Britain

The historic market town of Hexham in Northumberland has regained its title as the happiest place to live in Great Britain.

Set in the heart of the Tyne Valley, the popular commuter town that offers all the benefits of peaceful country living with the convenience of a bustling community, great schools and a plethora of local amenities, takes back the top spot in Rightmove’s index having last been crowned the happiest place to live in 2019.

The average asking price for a home in Hexham is £297,088, an increase of 6 per cent compared to last year (£280,128) and an increase of 20 per cent compared to five years ago (£246,919). This is lower than the current national average of £342,401.36.

Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index found that residents of the town were happier than any other area with the sense of community spirit and feeling of belonging in the area. The town is also popular with residents for its access to nature and green spaces, and how friendly and polite people are.

Richmond in London rose up the ranks to take second place nationally this year, as well as being the happiest place to live in London for the seventh year running, while Harrogate took the third spot.

Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index 2021

The tenth year of the study found:

    • Those living in coastal villages were the happiest group of people in the study
    • More than two-thirds of people who moved within the last 12 months moved to a different area, and this group were happier than those who did not move home
    • Feeling a sense of belonging and being able to be yourself in your area were the most important factors for people to be happy where they live
    • Community spirit was even more important to people’s happiness this year
    • A third (seven) of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically being smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together
    • Those living in a coastal village were the happiest of all, and those living in a coastal town or city were more likely to be happy in their area than someone living in a similar home inland

Happiest Towns in the Regions

The index also ranked towns for happiness by region. For example, in the South East Hove tops the happiest place to live list followed by Horsham and then Guilford. Kendal tops the table as the happiest place to live in the North West followed by Macclesfield and then Southport while in the East of England Hitchin is the happiest place to live, followed by Woodbridge and then St Albans.

Stirling is this year’s happiest place to live in Scotland, while Llandrindod Wells, fifth place overall, is the happiest place to live in Wales. Check out the happiest places in your region, here.

The Happy at Home Index, now in its tenth year, was conducted among over 21,000 people across Great Britain and asks residents how they feel about where they live, as well as asking them to rank ten happiness factors. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data comments: “It’s been an incredibly busy year in the housing market, with a lot of people deciding that now is the right time to move. It is fascinating to see that people who moved in the last 12 months were more likely to be happy in their areas than those who did not. Whether it may be a couple looking for a small change in the same area, tenants looking for more space, or a family completely changing their lifestyle and moving from the city to the coast, this has been the year that people have really seized the opportunity to move, and turned ideas into action.” 

Ailsa Mather, Director at Andrew Coulson in Hexham, said: “The last 12 months in the market have been phenomenal. People have re-evaluated what they want out of their lives, moving closer to family and moving from the city to the countryside. Over 38 per cent of our sales in the last 12 months have been from people south of Birmingham, as more people now have the opportunity to work from home, and don’t need to be in the city five days a week.”

Mayor of Hexham Derek Kennedy said: “Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain. We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings and our Market Place is 800 years old. There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another. We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win this accolade is fantastic, thank you.”  


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Alex Wright, Editor