Penrith named one of the best places to live in the North West by The Sunday Times

  • People in Penrith shared their views on the announcement

Penrith has been named one of the best places to live in the North West.

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide has been announced for 2023, with Liverpool coming in at number one.

The judges praised Liverpool for its booming science and tech scene, new football stadium rising from the docks and the neighbouring Ten Streets area that is emerging as a creative district.

Its community spirit, watersports, boot camps on the beach, independent shops, and quirky places to eat and drink were also mentioned.

Helen Davies, the editor of Best Places to Live 2023, said: "When times are tough, where we live matters more than ever.

"Attractive surroundings, good neighbours and a comfortable home are the best defences when the stresses of modern life seem overwhelming. 

"This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2023 from Orkney to Felixstowe, the Chew Valley to Manchester city centre.

"Whether you’re downsizing, trading up or getting onto the property ladder, there will be somewhere to suit you."

Wadhurst in East Sussex was named the overall winner of Best Places to Live. It was praised by judges for its "good schools, convenient transport connections, an amazingly well-stocked high street and stunning scenery".

They said that it offers "pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature".

Five facts about Penrith

  • The Coronation Garden, off Portland Place, was created as a community garden in 1938 to celebrate King George VI's Coronation.

  • Following the death of Richard Neville (‘the Kingmaker’), 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury, in 1471, the castle was granted to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III. He lived at the castle between 1471 and 1485. His role was to secure the county against the Scots and keep rival local families under control.

  • Mary Wilson, wife of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, attended Penrith. Her father, the Reverend Daniel Baldwin, was Congregational Minister of Penrith.

  • The Toffee Shop in Penrith boasts the late Queen Elizabeth II as one of their customers.

  • William Wordsworth, the poet, attended the school in the Tudor house near Saint Andrew's Church.

What the judges said about Penrith

With its handsome red sandstone buildings and windswept scenery, Penrith is a go-to location for lovers of the great outdoors of all ages, and families who like the highly rated selective schools, and WFH-ers who like the excellent road and rail connections.

Everyone appreciates the engaging community vibe, which comes to the fore in traditions such as the annual agricultural show and October’s Winter Droving, when 20,000 people descend on the town to watch street performances and a fiery torchlit procession. 

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2023: Northwest  

Apart from the regional winner, the other locations are not ranked, but listed in alphabetical order.     

  • Liverpool

There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Liverpool - not just Eurovision, but also the booming reputation for science and tech and grand projects such as the new Everton Stadium and new film studios.

Good-value houses are the big attraction – this is one great city where you can buy a house without breaking the bank - but you also get a lively city centre and beautiful beaches close at hand.

Our top districts in the city this year are both affordable: Waterloo for seaside, sunsets and independent shops, and Toxteth for its cultural and community vibe. 

  • Manchester

After a couple of years when its street cred was in danger of being washed away by a tide of investment flats, the original northern powerhouse is reasserting its cultural bragging rights.

Much has already been written about Ancoats, but its historic mills, warehouses and new-build blocks set the benchmark for hip urban living.

There’s talk of at least 1,500 more homes, but in the meantime, a new 'mobility hub', with car parking, charging points, car and bike sharing clubs, will keep things moving.         

  • Rawtenstall, Lancashire

An improving town centre that’s home to interesting bars and restaurants and a buzzing weekend street food and bar scene - as well as Mr Fitzpatrick’s, believed to be the last temperance bar in Britain - mean this old shoemaking town is a worthy rival to fashionable Ramsbottom a few miles to the south, especially among first-time buyers and young families who are snapping up the good-value two-up two-down cottages. 

  • Sale, Greater Manchester

A welcoming and well-connected Greater Manchester location Sale is emerging from the shadow of Altrincham thanks to its excellent reputation for state schools, Metrolink tram connections, and the creation of a new town-centre hub in Stanley Square with cafes, restaurants and independent shops.      

  • Stockport, Greater Manchester

What was once a bog-standard former mill town has reinvented itself as a funky, family-friendly alternative to Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

As well as brilliant independent shops, cafes and bars, it has good parks, decent schools, fast train links to Manchester and suburbs with a house for every style and budget. 

  • Tarporley, Cheshire

Tarporley is Cheshire at its most well-heeled and welcoming. Families love the excellent schools and the high street is both glamorous and practical, with boutiques and interior shops side by side with a pharmacy and hardware store.  

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