A Surrey town has been named one of the happiest places to live in the UK – thanks to its striking cathedral and the famous High Street setts.
The Happy at Home Index, compiled by Rightmove, considered property prices, and asked residents how they feel about where they live based on 10 happiness factors.
And Guildford came out as the 20th happiest place in all of the UK.
It was also named the second happiest in the South East – narrowly missing out on the top spot to Tonbridge.
The town is known locally as a hub for education, science and sport, and is home to Surrey Research Park, Surrey Sports Park and the University of Surrey.
Richmond upon Thames – just over the Surrey border – has been named the happiest place to live in London for the sixth year in a row.
It came tenth on the UK-wide list, while Perth led the way for Scotland and Llandrindod Wells took top spot in Wales.
The idyllic coastal town of St Ives, in Cornwall, a world-renowned surfing hotspot, was crowned the happiest place to live in Great Britain.
The Happy at Home Index credited the area’s nature and green spaces, and friendly neighbours.
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said: “Our latest research shows that despite all the challenges that this year has brought, many people have been able to reconnect with their local area and community which has had a positive effect on how they feel about where they live.
The top 20 happiest places, according to Rightmove
|RANK||PLACE||REGION||AVERAGE ASKING PRICE||AVERAGE ASKING RENT PCM (2 BEDS)|
|1||St Ives||South West||£413,414||£719|
|2||Skipton||Yorkshire & The Humber||£226,130||£549|
|3||Leamington Spa||West Midlands||£335,008||£878|
|9||Harrogate||Yorkshire & The Humber||£336,968||£821|
|10||Richmond upon Thames||London||£869,864||£1,879|
“Overall, I think lockdown has enabled people to rediscover what’s on their doorstep, and spending more time in their local areas has made people value their surroundings and communities so much more.
“This year’s study shows a greater appreciation for green spaces and nature, and a strong correlation between people living in coastal and rural areas and how happy people are where they live.
“Since lockdown we’ve since a trend towards more people looking to live in smaller communities.”
The 2020 study, with over 21,000 respondents, found that coastal areas in general are where people feel happiest. Five of the top 20 happiest places this year are coastal locations.
As well as St Ives, these are Falmouth, Weymouth, Plymouth, and Poole – all places in the South West.
Happiest places in the South East
Furthermore, people living in rural and coastal areas were found to be happier with where they live than respondents living in cities and urban areas, which reflects a nationwide trend of people desiring better access to outdoor spaces.
The study also discovered that people living in rural and coastal locations were more likely to have developed a greater affinity with their local area during the initial lockdown period.
Of the people who plan to buy or rent in the next 12 months, over half (56%) claimed they now place greater importance on access to nature and green spaces when deciding on the area and home they want to live in.
This trend is most notable amongst younger home-movers in the 18-34 age group.