1. ITV Report

Saffron Walden area named best in Britain in rural survey

The Uttlesford area of Essex has been named the best in Britain. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Britain's most desirable rural area to live has been named as Uttlesford in Essex - home to the historic town of Saffron Walden as well as Stansted Airport. Uttlesford helped to push last year's winner, Waverley in Surrey, into third place for 2014, with South Northamptonshire ranked second in Halifax's annual rural quality of life survey.

Popular with both tourists and commuters with its close links to London and Cambridge, the district of Uttlesford was formed in 1974 when several boroughs merged.

Uttlesford is home to a number of chocolate-box villages and small market towns. Credit: ITV News Anglia

As well as being the setting for Saffron Walden, which has been hailed as one of the finest preservedexamples of a medieval market town in the country and whose attractions include a museum and mazes, Uttlesford also cradles the towns of Thaxted and Great Dunmow.

Another reason people flock to Uttlesford is to pass through Stansted Airport, which employs over10,000 people and is the fourth-busiest airport in the UK, with around 17.5 million passengers a year

Stansted airport with its 18 million passengers per year is also in the Uttlesford area Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/

Other places in the Anglia region in the Top 50 rural places to live

  • 1. Uttlesford
  • 2. South Northamptonshire
  • 4. East Hertfordshire
  • 6. South Cambridgeshire
  • 10. South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
  • 12. Rutland
  • 13. East Cambridgeshire
  • 15. Maldon, Essex
  • 16. South Norfolk
  • 19. St Edmundsbury, Suffolk
  • 21. Aylesbury Vale
  • 30. Broadland, Norfolk
  • 32. Harborough
  • 40. Suffolk Coastal
  • 41. Babergh, Suffolk
  • 44. Huntingdonshire
This year is the first time Uttlesford has been crowned the winner of the Halifax survey Credit: ITV News Anglia

Halifax uses a wide range of statistics from various sources to find the top countryside idylls,including those relating to the health, personal wellbeing and life expectancy of residents, crime rates, weather, employment, school results and broadband access.

This year is the first time Uttlesford has been crowned the winner, having come second in 2013.

More on this story