Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot

The Hart district of Hampshire has been named the best place to live in the UK for the third year in a row, with Uttlesford in Essex taking second place

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The Independent Online

The Hart district of Hampshire has been named the most desirable place to live in the UK for the third year in a row.

Residents of the area, set in idyllic surroundings, were found to be the healthiest and live the longest in the country, with  97.4 per cent reporting to be in good or fairly good health.

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The average male life expectancy is 82.9 years, compared with the national average of 79 years.

As well as health, the annual quality of life survey by Halifax looks at a wide range of factors including crime rates, weather, employment and the performance of local schools.

Hart, with an 80 per cent employment rate, is significantly above the national average of 71 per cent, while the typical weekly earnings of £843 are more than one-third higher than the national average of £616.

Hart residents do however face paying a high premium to live there. The average house price in the district is 7.0 times the annual local wage - much higher than the UK average multiple of 5.8 times.

The district, which is centred on the town of Fleet, has been dubbed “a step back in time”, with 84 square miles of green wooded landscape and Hampshire's largest freshwater lake.

Nowhere in Wales or Northern Ireland made the bank’s top 50 list, but Scotland scraped in with the Orkney Islands placed at number 50. Just one area of London was included - the City of London in 38th position.

Uttlesford in Essex took second place with a 84 per cent employment rate and weekly average earnings of £819.

South Northamptonshire soared up 27 places to the third spot, Rushcliffe in Nottingham shot up from number 22 last year to seven and Winchester, which was placed at number 34 in 2012, is now in ninth place.

Continuing a trend, the South East dominated the top 50 list, claiming almost half of it, with a total of 24 mentions. Meanwhile, the East of England claimed 12 of the places.

Here are the top 10 districts to live in the UK:

1. Hart, South East

2. Uttlesford, East of England

3. South Northamptonshire, East Midlands

4. Waverley, South East

5. East Hertfordshire, East of England

6. Elmbridge, South East

7. Rushcliffe, East Midlands

8. Wokingham, South East

9. Winchester, South East

10. Chelmsford, East of England