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The Happiest Place to Live in Great Britain Has Been Revealed

hexham northumberland happiest place to live
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Northumberland market town of Hexham is the happiest place to live in the UK, according to the annual Rightmove Happy at Home Index for 2021.

Residents of the market town are happier than any other area, and have the highest sense of community spirit and feeling of belonging in the area. Hexham also earned the crown in 2019, which is popular with residents for its access to nature and green spaces, as well as the jovial demeanor of its townspeople. 

To move to Hexham, the average asking price for a home is £297,088. With house prices hitting record highs this year, it’s perhaps not surprising that this is an increase of 6% compared to last year, and an increase of 20% compared to five years ago. 

In Scotland, Sterling was declared the happiest place to live, while Llandrindod Wells retained the crown in Wales. Richmond upon Thames in London took second place nationally, and is the happiest place to live in London for the seventh consecutive year.

What is the Happy at Home Index?

Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index is now in its 10th year, and uses the responses of more than 21,000 people across the UK to explain how they feel about where they live. Respondents are asked to rank 10 happiness factors, such as being able to be yourself in your area and having a sense of belonging.

The findings showed that having a sense of community is key to overall happiness. A third (seven) of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically being smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together.

The historic Hexham Abbey in the historic market town of Hexham

The historic Hexham Abbey (Image credit: Getty Images)

Moreover, those who moved house are happier in their area than those who haven’t, regardless of where they have moved. The stamp duty holiday this year was a key factor in the record-breaking housing market, and Rightmove predicts that by the end of the year 1.5 million transactions will have taken place. 

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “It’s been an incredibly busy year in the housing market, with a lot of people deciding that now is the right time to move. It is fascinating to see that people who moved in the last 12 months were more likely to be happy in their areas than those who did not. 

“Whether it may be a couple looking for a small change in the same area, tenants looking for more space, or a family completely changing their lifestyle and moving from the city to the coast, this has been the year that people have really seized the opportunity to move, and turned ideas into action.”

Britain’s 20 happiest places to live with average asking property prices

1. Hexham, Northumberland, £297,088
2. Richmond-upon-Thames, Greater London, £1,196,892
3. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber, £353,624
4. Hove, East Sussex, £525,906
5. Llandrindod Wells, Wales, £193,601
6. Stirling, Scotland, £191,226
7. Monmouth, Wales, £312,649
8. St Ives, Cornwall, £494,393
9. Anglesey, Wales, £278,391
10. Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, £350,981
11. Perth, Scotland, £167,160
12. Hitchin, Hertfordshire, £491,223
13. Woodbridge, Suffolk, £427,542
14. Kendal, Cumbria, £258,961
15. Macclesfield, Cheshire, £277,772
16. Exeter, Devon, £303,215
17. Salisbury, Wiltshire, £318,806
18. Horsham, West Sussex, £433,892
19. St Albans, Hertfordshire, £632,320
20. Guildford, Surrey, £542,947

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.