An aerial view of houses and trees

Where are the 10 happiest places to live in Great Britain?

Each year, we ask people to tell us what makes them happy about where they live, and what makes it special. Our annual Happy at Home Index, now in its 12th year, helps us understand what really makes the residents of some areas happier than others, as well as the things that make a place feel like home. 

The survey asks residents how they feel about their area based on 13 happiness factors. These include things like the club-together community spirit of a local area, having green space on the doorstep, or the sense of belonging in a local community.  

This year, more than 26,000 people living in towns, cities and villages across Great Britain have told us how they feel about their local areas, and the things that are the most important to them. And based on the scores people gave their local areas, we’ve ranked the happiest places to live.   

Top spot: Richmond upon Thames

This year is the first time we’ve seen a London area take the top spot. Taking the crown from last year’s winner, St. Ives in Cornwall, Richmond upon Thames has been named the happiest place to live in Great Britain. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says: “I’m delighted for Richmond to win this award. It has so much of what makes London so special – its access to beautiful green spaces, its real sense of community, and an array of shops, cafes and local culture that makes it stand out.” 

The south-west London borough is home to two Royal Parks, world-famous botanical gardens and the arty enclave of Eel Pie Island – is home to the local areas of Twickenham, Hampton and Richmond itself.  

Dawn Platt, Associate Director of Chestertons’ Richmond branch, says: “Richmond really has got it all. Access to nature, schools, entertainment, good eateries, bars and shops. On top of access to nature, schools, entertainment, good eateries, bars and shops, the borough benefits from a riverside location and great transport links.

“Thanks to its lifestyle offerings, it’s not difficult to see why Richmond has established itself as one of London’s most sought-after locations nor why residents are happy living here.  Due to its community feel, many see Richmond as an area to settle down in long-term,” she adds.

The city of Winchester in Hampshire is in second place, and the town of Monmouth in Wales in third. 

The top 10 happiest areas in 2023, as voted by residents

Rank Place Region
1 Richmond upon Thames Greater London
2 Winchester South East
3 Monmouth Wales
4 Wokingham South East
5 Cirencester South West
6 Skipton Yorkshire and The Humber
7 Hemel Hempstead East of England
8 Kensington and Chelsea Greater London
9 St Ives South West
10 Hexham North East

So, what really makes people happy about living in an area?

While amenities like shops and restaurants, and facilities like doctors and schools are important, they aren’t necessarily the things that contribute the most strongly to people feeling happy about living in an area.  

As we’ve seen in our Happy at Home surveys from previous years, it’s the less tangible things that people deem to be the most significant factors that contribute to happiness. These include feeling a sense of belonging and community spirit, as well as having the freedom to be themselves. 

Happiness Measures Rank
I feel proud about the area I live in 1
I feel a sense of belonging 2
There’s a real sense of community spirit 3
Generally, the people are friendly and polite 4
I can be myself 5
Nature and green spaces 6
I earn enough to live comfortably in my area 7
Artistic and cultural activities 8
Employment opportunities and desirable jobs 9
Sports and recreational activities 10
Essential local services e.g. doctors, schools 11
Non-essential amenities e.g. restaurants, shops 12
Public transport connections i.e. bus, train, tram 13

Finding happiness with a home move

There are many different motivators for moving, and this year people told us they were looking to find their next home for a variety of reasons. And while practical considerations like reducing energy costs and moving to a different sized home feature on the list, the overriding reason for people looking to move is to find an area to make them happier. 

Our property expert, Tim Bannister, says: Searching for new areas outside of the city that are still commutable on office days and looking for cheaper properties that are in need of renovation are just some of the actions we’ve seen determined movers take this year. With the results of this year’s study highlighting that residents continue to value living near green spaces and natural beauty, estate agents who are not already doing so should consider making sure that they clearly highlight nearby green spots to appeal to potential buyers.”

This year, for the first time, we asked people whether they thought they might be happier if they moved to to somewhere else in Great Britain. And around 1 in 3 (30%) of residents who responded to the survey told us they thought they would be happier living in a different area. And over half of those would consider moving to an entirely different region of Great Britain. The close-to-the-coast areas of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset were the most popular choices for would-be relocators.  

Read a full summary of this year’s Happy at Home survey here, as well as finding out where all other areas of Great Britain ranked.  

The header image for this article was provided courtesy of Priory LM, Richmond

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