Orkney has been crowned the UK’s best place to live in an annual quality of life survey.
With its breathtaking landscapes and archaeological treasures, Orkney has been the runner-up for the past two years in Halifax’s quality of life survey.
The survey looks at a range of data covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education, health, personal wellbeing and leisure to rank the areas with the best quality of life.
High employment levels, low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary school class sizes and good health and happiness scores helped propel Orkney to the top spot, Halifax said.
Orkney is also a relatively affordable place to live – with an average house price of £173,349, standing at 5.2 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared with the national average ratio of 7.3.
Richmondshire in North Yorkshire took second place.
Excellent personal wellbeing scores, low crime rates and amounts of traffic – and a large number of pubs compared with the population size – helped secure Richmondshire’s place as the runner-up.
Richmondshire is followed by Rutland in the East Midlands, Hambleton in North Yorkshire and Eden in Cumbria.
London has just two areas in the top 50 – Westminster (15) and Richmond-upon-Thames (40).
Parts of the South score well on employment, earnings, life expectancy and health and the weather, while the North tends to fare better in terms of housing affordability, lower traffic flows and population densities and lower primary school sizes.
Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “Orkney has consistently been considered one of the best places to live in the UK and Orcadians will be delighted to hear they have now taken the crown.
“Its remote location may not be for everyone, but this comes with the benefit of having high employment, low crime rates, smaller class sizes and more affordable housing.”
He continued: “While the South East continues to have the most locations in the top 50, we’ve seen northern areas perform particularly well on education, while they also benefit from lower house prices when compared to average earnings.”
Here are the top 50 places in the UK in Halifax’s 2019 quality of life survey:
- Orkney, Scotland
- Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
- Rutland, East Midlands
- Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
- Eden, North West
- South Oxfordshire, South East
- Cotswold, South West
- Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
- St Albans, East of England
- Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands
- Vale of White Horse, South East
- Waverley, South East
- Hart, South East
- East Hertfordshire, East of England
- Westminster, London
- Winchester, South East
- Rushmoor, South East
- Uttlesford, East of England
- Wychavon, West Midlands
- Harborough, East Midlands
- South Cambridgeshire, East of England
- Rushcliffe, East Midlands
- Ribble Valley, North West
- Surrey Heath, South East
- Wokingham, South East
- Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber
- Babergh, East of England
- West Oxfordshire, South East
- South Buckinghamshire, South East
- Windsor and Maidenhead, South East
- Warwick, West Midlands
- Elmbridge, South East
- Chichester, South East
- Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands
- Lichfield, West Midlands
- Malvern Hills, West Midlands
- Rochford, East of England
- Chiltern, South East
- Shetland, Scotland
- Richmond-upon-Thames, London
- West Berkshire, South East
- Basingstoke and Deane, South East
- South Hams, South West
- Fareham, South East
- St Edmundsbury, East of England
- Wycombe, South East
- Mid Suffolk, East of England
- Monmouthshire, Wales
- Daventry, East Midlands
- Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber
And here is the local authority district with the best quality of life in each region in 2019, according to Halifax’s quality of life survey:
– South Oxfordshire, South East – Rutland, East Midlands – St Albans, East of England – Wychavon, West Midlands – Westminster, London – Cotswold, South West – Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber – Monmouthshire, Wales – Orkney, Scotland – Eden, North West – Lisburn and Castlereagh, Northern Ireland – Northumberland, North East