Where should you buy your next home? From scenic suburban towns to historical capital cities, we take a look at some of the best places to live in Britain.
The UK is home to some fantastic towns and cities – from hip urban centres, to quaint country villages. But when you’re looking to buy a house it can be difficult to decide on a suitable location.
What makes a ‘great place to live’ is very subjective and can vary from person to person. But there are some common factors most of us take into consideration when deciding where we should live, such as the cost of living, quality of schools, crime rate, transport links, employment opportunities, access to the countryside, and social activities and facilities.
Here are some of the UK towns and cities that make the grade.
Situated just 35 minutes from London, Chelmsford frequently makes it onto lists of the best commuter towns. And it’s not difficult to see why. As well as providing easy access into the capital, Chelmsford is a vibrant location in its own right, offering residents great shopping, sports and leisure facilities, plenty of green spaces and a wide array of dining and nightlife options.
Developers are catching on to Chelmsford’s potential, and new housing developments are starting to pop up. One such development is the Beaulieu estate, just three miles from the centre of Chelmsford, which offers a range of new build properties. The development includes plenty of amenities, and looks likely to have a positive impact on the local housing market, with Chelmsford estate agents already reporting a surge of interest in the area. The surrounding villages, such as Writtle, Danbury and Great Baddow, also provide quiet residential accommodation with excellent schools, which is perfect for families.
With its good schools, exciting culture and nightlife, and proximity to the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, it’s little surprise that Bristol was recently named as the best UK city to live in in the annual Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in Britain list. The report also praised the city for its low unemployment rate (one of the lowest in the country) and its ‘beautiful and varied housing stock.’ Good transport links are another key selling point for the city, with train times to London set to drop to just 80 minutes by 2017.
Bristol is also known for its independent nature and commitment to art and culture. Gloucester Rd has a huge array of independent shops to explore, and the city hosts an exciting programme of summer festivals, including, music festival Love Saves The Day, Mayfest which brings theatre to unusual venues, and the Food Connections festival which celebrates Bristol’s diverse food culture.
In April of this year, the Scottish capital retained its title as the best city in the UK for the third year running – as decided by a poll run by The Telegraph newspaper. What’s more, a new quality of life survey conducted by USwitch last year found that Edinburgh is also the top place to live in Britain, offering low crime rates, affordable living costs, and higher than average salaries.
Despite its somewhat inclement weather, Edinburgh certainly has plenty to offer. It is often praised for having a unique character, and with its historic buildings – from the medieval tenements of the Old Town to the Georgian elegance of the New Town, and even its own castle! – it’s undoubtedly a beautiful and fascinating city in which to live.
The second Essex location on our list, the suburban town of Brentwood is small but perfectly formed, benefiting from good schools, low unemployment, and an expanding high street and shopping area, as well as being surrounded by scenic, unspoilt countryside.
Another key advantage of Brentwood is its fantastic transport links into London. Situated 20 miles from Charing Cross, the town offers easy access to the M25, and has trains to Liverpool Street running every 10 minutes at peak times. The arrival of Crossrail in 2018 will make it easier than ever for commuters to reach the capital – and Brentwood’s recent reclassification as a London Zone 9 area will see the price of an annual travel card dropping by nearly £1,000!
When it comes to great places to live, the UK has plenty to choose from – these are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just a matter of deciding what’s most important to you and your family – whether that’s good schools, convenient transport links, or a buzzy nightlife. If one of the above destinations appeal to you, why not take a trip and explore the area. That way you can ensure it’s the right location for you before you take the plunge.