The best place to be a kid is.... Norwich

The city that has given us Stephen Fry and Alan Partridge has been named as the happiest place for children to grow up

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The city that has given us Stephen Fry and Alan Partridge has triumphed once again by being named the happiest place for children to grow up in the UK.

Norwich was voted top because of a combination of open spaces, parks and safe roads as well as other factors that contribute to a happy and secure childhood.

The only apparent downside to the East Anglian city was that it lacks hills for sledging in the winter.

Leeds and Sheffield came second and third respectively, according to the poll of 2,000 parents by Panda Soft Drinks.

Researchers looked at the facilities and amenities which parents believed are important for a happy childhood, and combined it with how many of these they felt were offered where they lived.

The most popular feature for a fulfilling childhood was a garden to play in.

Other factors were having friends who live nearby, good street lighting and areas safe enough for children to cycle in.

Being by the beach was also deemed important, thus earning coastal towns like Newquay, Truro and Plymouth a place in the top 20.

The survey also showed that while parents said their favourite activity as a child was playing outdoors with friends, their own children preferred playing indoors.

Nearly eight in ten parents believed their children spend less time outdoors than they did themselves.

Nina Uttley, brand manager for Panda Soft Drinks, said: “A happy childhood does not depend on the latest games, expensive gadgets and access to theme parks.

“This survey shows just how vital the great outdoors can be.

“Even if you live in an urban area, easy access to parks or playgrounds and a short drive to the beach of woodland can give children the active upbringing they deserve.

The UK's 20 happiest places to be a child

1. Norwich

2. Leeds

3. Sheffield

4. Portsmouth

5. Glasgow

6. Birmingham

7. Bristol

8. Cardiff

9. Manchester

10. Truro

11. Newcastle

12. Liverpool

13. Newquay

14. Plymouth

15. Canterbury

16. London

17. Ipswich

18. Exeter / Brighton (joint)


20. Edinburgh