United Kingdom

Cornish coastal town St Ives is the happiest place to live in Great Britain, study shows

St Ives has been named the happiest place to live in Great Britain, according to a Rightmove study.

The former fishing community in Cornwall topped the leaderboard - with other coastal and rural areas also scoring highly.

Those living in St Ives were found to be happier than any other area with their surrounding nature, green spaces and friendly neighbours.

Skipton in North Yorkshire took second place and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire came third in the survey of 21,000 people.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove director of property data, said: 'Since lockdown we've since a trend towards more people looking to live in smaller communities, and so it's very fitting to see that the picturesque town of St Ives has taken the top spot in 2020.'

The average price of a home in St Ives is £413,414, with demand for property rising by 120 per cent in the last year, according to Rightmove.

St Ives in Cornwall (pictured) topped the leaderboard - with other coastal and rural areas also scoring highly

The most expensive place on the list was Richmond in Surrey where the average house can set a person back £869,864.           

The happiest place in Wales - Llandrindod Wells - was also the cheapest place to buy with homes costing £150,963 on average.

The spa town also ranked fourth overall, and was found to be the place in Great Britain where residents felt able to be themselves most often.

Perth was the happiest place in Scotland, fifth happiest overall and also the second cheapest place in the top 20 to buy a home - at £163,303.

It also had one of the strongest community spirits of anywhere in Britain. 

Those living in St Ives (pictured) were found to be happier than any other area with their nature, green spaces and friendly neighbours

Mr Bannister added: 'Our latest research shows that despite all the challenges that this year has brought, many people have been able to reconnect with their local area and community which has had a positive effect on how they feel about where they live.

'Overall, I think lockdown has enabled people to rediscover what's on their doorstep, and spending more time in their local areas has made people value their surroundings and communities so much more. 

'This year's study shows a greater appreciation for green spaces and nature, and a strong correlation between people living in coastal and rural areas and how happy people are where they live. 

'Obviously for many people this year has not been a happy one, so we wanted to use our report to shine a light on the happiest places only, and to find out how lockdown has changed how people feel about where they live.' 

A narrow steep street leads to St Ives harbour. Tim Bannister, Rightmove director of property data, said: 'Since lockdown we've since a trend towards more people looking to live in smaller communities so it's fitting to see St Ives has taken the top spot in 2020'

Jessie Wright, senior negotiator at Bradleys Estate Agents in St Ives, said she wasn't surprised by the findings.

She said: 'I think there are a number of reasons why people are so happy living down here, but we’ve all definitely become more appreciative of our hometown over the lockdown period. 

'The freedom to go for a swim in the sea or a run along the beach when we were only allowed one hour of outdoor exercise made lots of people realise that we have so much space to enjoy, coupled with wonderful countryside scenery and stunning beaches.'   

Top 20 happy places

  Average Asking Price  Average rent pcm (2 beds) 
1St Ives South West £413,414 £719
Skipton Yorks & Humber £335,008£549 
Leamington Spa West Midlands £226,130 £878 
Llandrindod Wells Wales £150,963 £422 
Perth Scotland £163,303 £556 
Kendal North West £231,597 £624 
Stratford-upon-Avon West Midlands £354,337 £807 
Dorchester South West £325,903 £801 
Harrogate Yorks & Humber £336,968 £821 
10 Richmond London £869,864 £1,829 
11 Falmouth South West £310,540 £912 
12 Hexham North East £276,246 £608 
13 Weymouth South West £279,484 £690 
14 Shrewsbury West Midlands £255,843 £613 
15 Tonbridge South East £453,687 £1,056 
16 Plymouth South West  £209,311 £668 
17 Poole South West £406,774 £989 
18 Northwich North West £215,808 £551 
19 Barnstaple South West £232,323 £589 
20 Guildford South West £549,497 £1,188 

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