Altrincham named the 'best place to live' in annual contest

Altrincham in Cheshire has been crowned as the best place to live by the Sunday Times.

Judges travelled thousands of miles around the UK, visiting locations and talking to locals.

They looked for improving towns, villages or city centres, attractive, well-designed homes, and locations bursting with community spirit.

A range of factors were assessed, from schools, transport and broadband speed to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street, to produce a guide to the UK's finest locations to call home.

Topping a list of 101 locations, Altrincham was described as "the ultimate turnaround town".

It was praised for its revitalised town centre. The Market House, a lively market with an indoor food hall, has been a major contributor to the town's upturn.

Those behind the guide said Altrincham is a town where family and community are at the heart of everything, while the National Trust's Dunham Massey, with its Georgian house and ancient deer park, adds a "well-scrubbed taste of the country".

They said it is that same spirit which is knitting people together during a time of national emergency. A Facebook group set up days ago for volunteers to visit the ill and vulnerable has already drawn thousands of people offering to help.

The market is planning to do deliveries of essential groceries for people who cannot leave the house.

"We're going to reinvent ourselves for the foreseeable future," said Altrincham market boss Nick Jones, who runs Market House food hall.

"Since we took over the market in 2013 it's been an amazing force in the local community and that's part of what makes living here so special. We desperately want to keep people's spirits up during these uncertain times."

Helen Davies, the Sunday Times Home editor, said: "Never has where you live felt more important. This year we have, along with house prices, air quality, good schools and access to green spaces, championed locations that have showcased great community spirit.

"The feeling of involvement in and concern for one's local community is being challenged - and celebrated - as never before. We wish everyone well wherever they live."

The guide used statistics, including house price information.

Previous winners of the best places to live in Britain title are Stamford, Lincolnshire (2013); Skipton, North Yorkshire (2014); Newnham, Cambridge (2015); Winchester, Hampshire (2016); Bristol (2017), York (2018) and Salisbury (2019).

Bollington in Cheshire was also ranked among the best places in the country to live.