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It's grand up north: Harrogate voted the happiest place to live in Britain


Adam Sherwin
Wednesday 21 May 2014 16:37 BST
Happiness is... a pavement café in the Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate
Happiness is... a pavement café in the Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate (Alamy)

Why slum it down South when Harrogate delivers Georgian grandeur and the delights of Betty’s Tea Rooms? The Yorkshire spa town has retained its position as the happiest place to live in Britain, a nationwide poll has found.

Harrogate claimed the top spot in the Rightmove Happy at Home index, compiled from 50,000 respondents, for the second year running, finishing ahead of Inverness.

Neighbourliness, recreational pursuits and safety were cited as important factors helping Harrogate residents enjoy a sense of well-being.

Surrounded by stunning North Yorkshire countryside and famed for its historic Royal Baths and the genteel Betty’s Tea Room, Harrogate is also staking a claim as culinary centre. The Michelin-starred Yorke Arms restaurant, led by chef Frances Atkins, is located in the nearby village of Ramsgill.

Harrogate will receive international recognition this summer when the Tour de France peloton races through it on both days of the Grand Depart Weekend.

There is better value to be had in the property market, with an average house price of £260,326 in Harrogate, only slightly up on 2007, compared to an average of £592,763 in London, where asking prices have risen by £80,000 since the start of 2014.

Councillor Michael Newby, Mayor of the Harrogate Borough said: “Harrogate offers a wonderful environment for residents. There are restaurants, cafés and bars to cater for virtually every taste, and a retail sector second to none. The district has some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, if not in Europe and beyond. There is also a great community feel which certainly make life a lot happier for many people.”

Meanwhile, for all of their hipster hangouts, Hackney and Hoxton do not offer the same quality of life as Harrogate. East London topped the “worst place to live” poll, ahead of Ilford.

Respondents were asked to rank 12 distinct factors about their home life to assess how happy, or not, they are with the towns and communities that they call home. People in Croydon voted their own community the most unsafe place to live, while East Londoners, who came bottom for neighbourliness.

Kirkcaldy in Fife – where a six-bedroom detached house with eight acres of land can be bought for less than £800,000 – came top for space, with West London the worst for room to breathe.

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