Salisbury named UK's best place to live year after Novichok poison attack

Salisbury Cathedral Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Salisbury has been named the best place to live in the UK, just over a year since a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in a nerve agent attack.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with Novichok by Russian spies in March last year and were lucky to survive the horrific ordeal.

But that hasn't stopped the Wiltshire city from clinching the prestigious Sunday Times 2019 title.

One of the judges said Salisbury had shown “real collective spirit” in wake of the poisonings, which brought global attention to the quaint southern city.

Members of the military wear protective clothing as work continues on the home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA
A judge said the city had shown “real collective spirit” in wake of the poisonings. Credit: PA

The incident later claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, who died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded.

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times Home editor, said: “Salisbury has shown real collective spirit in dealing with a chemical attack that saw the cathedral city become the centre of world headlines for all the wrong reasons.

“There are still parts of the city where the clean-up continues, but to bounce back and be even stronger is a sure sign of a very special community, which is one of the reasons we have chosen Salisbury as the best place to live in Britain in 2019.

“It remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place. It’s handy for coast, countryside and London, has some of the best schools in the southwest, a great market and it’s very strong culturally, too.”

Salisbury Cathedral illuminated by Advent art installation. Credit: PA
The Wiltshire city topped the list of the UK's best places to live. Credit: PA

The Isle of Dogs in the borough of Tower Hamlets was named the best place to live in Greater London, Dundee the top place to live in Scotland, Crickhowell in Powys was judged the cream of the crop in Wales, while Holywood in County Down came out in front for Northern Ireland.

The judging panel used their own expert knowledge alongside statistics, including house prices, provided by Habito and TwentyCi.

Previous winners of the top title in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live include York last year, Bristol in 2017 and Hampshire in 2016.