The UK’s happiness hotspots

Let’s take a look at the happiest places to live in the UK! Is your town on the list?

It’s all been quite doom and gloom lately, hasn’t it? But spring has finally sprung and with that comes a lot more to be optimistic about. And, if you’re considering relocating in the next year or so, you might be wondering where you should next call home, and how to decide.

There are lots of factor that go into a decision like this, but ultimately, you’re trying to work out where you’ll be happiest. After all, they say happiness starts at home. But what does that entail exactly? The Happy at Home Index by Rightmove asked more than 26,000 people across Britain how they feel about various aspects of where they live, to find the happiest places to live.

So, without further ado, here are the results, as well as how much a property in the area could cost you.

The top 10 happiest places to live are:

Earning this year’s crown was Richmond Upon Thames; made up of 14 neighbourhoods, including Richmond, Twickenham, Hampton, Barnes and Kew, and is well known for its green spaces. Residents scored the area highly for feeling a sense of belonging and being comfortable to be themselves.

The second-place spot, Winchester is a new entrant in the chart for 2023, having not made the top 20 the year before. In third is the iconic Welsh town of Monmouth, which became the UK’s first ‘Bee Town’ in 2020, recognising the council’s work to make the town a better place for pollinators.

What makes people happy about living in an area?

When we’re searching for somewhere to call home, of course there are aspects such as price, schools, doctors and other facilities. But those don’t necessarily translate into happiness about living in an area. It’s often the less tangible things that result in happiness. The happiness measures used in Rightmove’s survey were:

  • Pride about the area you live in
  • Feeling a sense of belonging
  • Feeling a real sense of community spirit
  • People are generally polite and friendly
  • Freedom to be oneself
  • Nature and green spaces
  • Earning enough to live comfortably in the area
  • Artistic and cultural activities
  • Employment opportunities and desirable jobs
  • Sports and recreational activities
  • Essential local services, such as doctors, schools
  • Non-essential amenities such as restaurants, shops
  • Public transport connections

Generally speaking, the survey analysis found that people care more about having access to nature and green spaces than public transport, shops and restaurants. Overall, people living in rural areas where generally happier than those in cities. This was especially true for those living near a national park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Best places to retire

The cost-of-living crisis has seen every possible expense rise in recent years. But for those planning to retire in 2024, you may be considering a move; perhaps back to your hometown, to the country, or to explore somewhere completely new.

We decided to explore which parts of the UK are the best spots to spend retirement. We’ve created an in-depth ranking based on overall satisfaction rating, the typical cost of a home in each area, local crime rate, proximity to parks, and distance to essential facilities. Our results highlight the areas of the UK that can offer people the best value for their money.

In first place, claiming the title of the best place to retire to, is Pendle, in Lancashire. Here, wellbeing was ranked 8.10, which is the highest wellbeing ranking out of the top ten. Known for its picturesque landscapes and historical significance, Pendle has friendly communities and nearby hospitals and doctors’ practices. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic place to spend retirement, whether strolling through historic villages or enjoying the tranquil countryside.

Second place is Hyndburn with an overall rating of 70.80. Also situated in Lancashire, Hyndburn encompasses towns like Accrington and Rishton. Known for its industrial heritage, it has diverse landscapes, including parks and moorland. The area features historical landmarks such as Accrington’s Haworth Art Gallery. Hyndburn has house prices at a low of £124,976, with a 16-minute drive to any key services.

Placed in third is Stoke-on-Trent with an overall rating of 67.95. Stoke-on-Trent claims the title of shortest distance to a park or green space, being 279.60 meters away on average. Rich in industrial heritage, it offers museums like the Gladstone Pottery Museum and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, reflecting its cultural and artistic significance.

Why are people moving home?

There are many reasons to move, but this year’s Happy at Home respondents have shone some light on the biggest motivators. Practical considerations such as reducing energy costs, upsizing or downsizing were all mentioned, but the survey found that the overriding reason for people considering a move is to find an area that makes them happier.

Rightmove revealed a high number of searches were for new areas outside the city that are still commutable on office days, and for cheaper properties that are in need of renovation. For the first time, the survey asked people whether they thought they might be happier if they moved somewhere else in Great Britain. Around 30% said yes, with the most chosen areas being coastal spots such as Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

Search for your local Howden branch

So, you’ve found your ‘happy ever after’ home. You then need home insurance to provide you with the right protection – at the right price. Our team of insurance experts are here to help you find a home insurance policy that’s tailored to your specific needs. And with over 200 local high street branches, and more set to open, there’s a Howden team ready to help, wherever you are – even if you are thinking of moving!

And, you’ll also be able to speak to our branch experts about our new Money Savings eBook. After all, we’re on a mission to not only help you save money on your insurance, but also on your shopping, energy bills and more! Click here to download your copy for FREE.

To speak with your nearest team, simply search Howden Insurance, find your local branch and give them a ring or stop by for a visit.

Sources: Which?, Rightmove

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