Happy Harrogate now voted ‘best’ in Yorkshire

The Stray, Harrogate. Pic: Harrogate council

The Stray, Harrogate. Pic: Harrogate council

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The plaudits just keep rolling in for one of Yorkshire’s finest towns - in fact make that the finest town, according to the results of a revised guide published by The Sunday Times.

Harrogate is the best place to live across Yorkshire and the North East, according to the publication’s writers who highlight the town’s independent cafes and restaurants, wealth of quality schools and the landmark Stray among the reasons for ranking it highest.

It comes after Harrogate was voted the happiest place to live in Britain for a third consecutive year back in August, in a survey carried out by property experts Rightmove.

Sunday Times home editor Helen Davies wrote: “The wealth brought to the area by affluent Victorians and Edwardians, visiting to take the waters at its spa, declined sharply in the early 20th century, and Harrogate could have subsided into down-at-heel gentility.

“Instead, it reinvented itself as a conference and cultural venue, hosting everything from the Simon Bolivar String Quartet to the annual Knitting & Stitching Show.”

The spa town was however topped in the national stakes, with Winchester in Hampshire declared the very best place to live in Britain in the second part of the Sunday Times’ Best Places To Live guide.

Winchester was found to offer the best quality of life to the most people, hosting a positive community spirit, good shops and attractive outdoor spaces.

The guide called Winchester a “historic, cultured, foodie city”, with excellent schools, top restaurants and friendly residents making it “practically perfect”.

Ms Davies said: “Winchester thoroughly deserves its status as the best place to live in Britain.

“It offers a tasty slice of authentic history, with great transport links and fine schools. It also has an irresistible mix of food, festivals and feel-good factor.”

Published annually, the guide combines data such as crime rates, house prices and school performance with local knowledge.

Besides Harrogate, the other regional winners are: Orford in Suffolk (East), Fitzrovia (London), Ledbury in Herefordshire (Midlands), Whalley in Lancashire (North West), Midhurst in West Sussex (South East), Falmouth in Cornwall (South West).

Penarth in Vale of Glamorgan was voted the best place to live in Wales; in Northern Ireland it was Ballycastle in County Antrim, and in Scotland, Stockbridge in Edinburgh.

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