United Kingdom

Top 15 best places to live in England Wales now

Fifteen hotspots have been unveiled as the most desirable places to live across England and Wales in terms of quality of life, with a particular emphasis on architecture and access to nature.

Bath in Somerset, Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, Ilfracombe in Devon and Canterbury in Kent made up the top five of the most sought-after locations to buy a home now.

After a 'transformative' year in the housing market, a growing number of buyers have been reevaluating how and where they want to live in future, with ample outdoor space a must-have for many.

Perfection: This six-bedroom house in Bath could be yours for around £2.5m

What an entrance: Scott House has a very welcoming reception room

Ideal: One of the three bathrooms at Scott House in Bath on sale via Savills

Space: Scott House in Bath has plenty of outdoor space to relax and unwind

There has been a surge in demand for homes with both adequate outdoor and internal space and access to nature over the past year, Garrington Property finders said.

But, whatever wish list a buyer comes up with, price will always be a sticking point, and the fifteen most desirable hotspots in Garrington's latest findings come with variable price tags.

Taking one example, at £325,000, an average-sized family home in fourth-placed Ilfracombe costs half of what it would in popular tourist hub Bath.

Jonathan Hopper, chief executive of Garrington, said: 'As the dust settles on an extraordinary, transformative year for the property market, thousands of people are making a fundamental reassessment of what they want from their home.

'Over a third of workers are still working entirely from home, and many of us may never go back to a daily commute. 

Stunning: This stunning four-bedroom home in Tenby could be yours for around £3m

What a view: North Cliffe house in Tenby enjoys stunning panoramic views

Comfort: One of the serene four bedrooms at North Cliffe house for sale via Fine & Country

All yours? This three-bedroom conversion in Bradford On Avon is on sale for around £1.7m

Comfort: The main living area at this home for sale via Strutt & Parker is spacious yet homely

'This cutting of the cord with the office means people are freer to work remotely at least some of the time, and we’re seeing a stream of buyers keen to explore areas where they can get more home, and a better quality of life, for their money.'

Bath in Somerset came out top of the pile in the latest findings, enjoying an idyllic blend of impressive architecture and natural beauty, while offering residents an enviable quality of life.   

Outside of the top five locations but still within the top 15, Rye in East Sussex, St Ives in Cornwall, Settle in North Yorkshire, Wilton in North Yorkshire and Aldeburgh in Suffolk all performed strongly in the rankings. 

Researchers scored each location on its proximity to open water, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. 

In the architectural category, points were awarded for the number of listed and period homes in the vicinity, as well as the proportion of modern 'ultra-energy efficient' homes in the area.

Finally, the quality of life category ranked each town, village and city for its air quality, crime figures and how many farm shops there are within a three mile radius.

The past year has been, to say the least, fairly dramatic for the property market. Chancellor Rishi Sunak's stamp duty holiday announced in July prompted a surge in sales as buyers flocked to the market to secure a deal. 

The stamp duty holiday is set to end on 31 March and the Government has indicated that it was always designed to be a 'temporary' measure during the pandemic. Even so, some experts think the Chancellor should extend the stamp duty holiday to ensure the property market remains buoyant.

This week, property website Rightmove revealed that average asking prices for homes started to fall in the past month, as sellers look to lure in buyers before the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Asking prices fell by £2,887, or 0.9 per cent over the past month, Rightmove said.

The imminent end of the stamp duty holiday and economic fallout from the pandemic are 'clouding the 2021 outlook', warned Tim Bannister, a property data director at Rightmove. 

But, fresh figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday revealed that UK house prices reached a record high of £250,000 in the year to November, with prices in London now around the £514,000 mark.  

Spacious: This four-bedroom home in Ilfracombe, Devon, could be yours for £685,000

Time to relax and play: The property in Devon is on sale via Fine & Country 

Bring the outdoors in: Outdoor and indoor spaces work together seamlessly in this home

Wow factor: Narberth in Pembrokeshire is not in Garrington's top 15 locations, but it should be

What a place: This spacious five-bedroom property for sale via Savills could be yours for £1.2m

Ideal space: The spacious kitchen at the property in Narberth 

Best mortgages

Football news:

Sociedad coach on the draw with Real Madrid: If we had scored 2-0, everything would have been different. Fair result
Only Raul and Casillas were younger than Vinicius when they played their 100th match for Real Madrid
Zidane on the draw with Sociedad: We lost two points. We had obvious moments in the first half
Wolverhampton defender Kilman is ready to play for the Ukrainian national team. Earlier it was reported that he can choose Russia
Pochettino on the new remontade with Barca: In football, even the unthinkable is possible, but we are positive
Real Madrid snapped a 5-game winning streak with a draw with Sociedad
Neymar is likely to miss the Barcelona game. PSG don't want to take any chances