According to this year's Quality of Life Survey from Halifax, for an impressive fifth time in six years, the tranquil district of Hart in North East Hampshire has reclaimed the crown.
Hart has catapulted back into the top spot based on residents' health and life expectancy, wellbeing, earnings, employment, a low crime rate and relatively good weather.
However, having such great quality of life would appear to come at a price, with the cost of living in Hart much higher than in many other parts of the UK – and an average house price of £419,231 standing at 8.8 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to the national average of 7.3.
Hart moved from 26th position last year having improved relative to other local authorities on average earnings, employment rate and in the ONS personal well-being survey, where it also scored strongly compared to 2016.
What makes Hart such a good place to live?
According to the survey, residents feel fit and well with more than nine in 10 (97%) reporting good or fairly good health and it has the longest average female life expectancy in the UK of 86.7 years, and third longest for males (82.5).
Hart has one of the highest employment rates with 84% of 16-64 year-olds in work and weekly average earnings of £844.
The latest ONS figures indicate adults living in Hart are amongst the most happy, satisfied and content in the UK. Residents enjoy one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
They also have a relatively good climate with more sunshine (32.5 hours per week against the national average of 29.7 hours)
The Orkney Islands have taken second place, followed by Rutland in the East Midlands, Wychavon in Worcestershire, last year’s winner Winchester in fifth place, dropping in three of the four categories in the ONS personal well-being survey but still scoring strongly on employment rate, earnings, good health and life expectancy.
Two thirds of top 50 areas for the best places to live in southern England
More than two-thirds (35) of the top 50 best places to live in the UK are in southern England, with 17 in the South East, a further nine areas in the East of England, five in the South West and four in London. These areas include Wokingham (6th), Waverley (7th), Uttlesford (11th), Westminster (13th), South Oxfordshire (14th), St Albans (15th) and Chiltern (19th).
The remaining 15 are in Yorkshire and the Humber (6), West Midlands (4) the East Midlands (2), Scotland, Wales and the North West (all 1).These areas include the North Yorkshire districts of Craven (8th), Richmondshire (9th),Ryedale (12th), Stratford upon Avon (10th), Harrogate (27st) and Monmouthshire (32nd).
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: “Hart seems to have been offering residents an unrivalled mix of living standards for five of the last six years, seeing employment rates, average earnings and ONS personal wellbeing rankings bounce back after falling from the top spot last year. “Along with Hart, many areas in southern England score strongly in categories including the labour markets and health. Northern areas tend to perform well on education and benefit from more affordable properties with lower house prices to earnings.”