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Best place to live in the UK revealed as Orkney

Orkney has been crowned the UK’s best place to live in a quality of life survey from Halifax Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

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.

Marwick Head in Orkney Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

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.

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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:

  1. Orkney, Scotland
  2. Richmondshire, Yorkshire and the Humber
  3. Rutland, East Midlands
  4. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
  5. Eden, North West
  6. South Oxfordshire, South East
  7. Cotswold, South West
  8. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
  9. St Albans, East of England
  10. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands
  11. Vale of White Horse, South East
  12. Waverley, South East
  13. Hart, South East
  14. East Hertfordshire, East of England
  15. Westminster, London
  16. Winchester, South East
  17. Rushmoor, South East
  18. Uttlesford, East of England
  19. Wychavon, West Midlands
  20. Harborough, East Midlands
  21. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
  22. Rushcliffe, East Midlands
  23. Ribble Valley, North West
  24. Surrey Heath, South East
  25. Wokingham, South East
  26. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber
  27. Babergh, East of England
  28. West Oxfordshire, South East
  29. South Buckinghamshire, South East
  30. Windsor and Maidenhead, South East
  31. Warwick, West Midlands
  32. Elmbridge, South East
  33. Chichester, South East
  34. Stratford-on-Avon, West Midlands
  35. Lichfield, West Midlands
  36. Malvern Hills, West Midlands
  37. Rochford, East of England
  38. Chiltern, South East
  39. Shetland, Scotland
  40. Richmond-upon-Thames, London
  41. West Berkshire, South East
  42. Basingstoke and Deane, South East
  43. South Hams, South West
  44. Fareham, South East
  45. St Edmundsbury, East of England
  46. Wycombe, South East
  47. Mid Suffolk, East of England
  48. Monmouthshire, Wales
  49. Daventry, East Midlands
  50. 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