Harrogate loses title of Happiest Place to Live in Britain

Harrogate has lost its title of being the '˜happiest place to in Britain to live' after dropping to third in the rankings.

Flowers on Montpellier Hill in Harrogate. Picture: Adrian Murray
Flowers on Montpellier Hill in Harrogate. Picture: Adrian Murray

After three years of topping the list, compiled by property website Rightmove, Harrogate has finally lost top spot Leigh-on-Sea, a seaside resort in Essex.

Troon, another seaside resort on the west coast of Scotland, took second place with Harrogate having to settle for third.

Harrogate had even been dubbed ‘Happygate’ after dominating the list for the past three years but still came out on top for the best nature and green spaces.

Almost 24,000 people across Great Britian took part in the survey with residents ranking twelve factors about their local area to determine the overall list.

The factors ranged from how friendly the neighbours are and how much people feel that they can be themselves, to how good the local services are.

As well as topping nature and green spaces, Harrogate scored high for opportunities to develop skills, essential local services and non essential amenities, including shops and restaurants.

However, Harrogate fell out of the top ten for ‘Earning enough to live comfortably’ and ninth for ‘ I can be myself’ and ‘Artistic and cultural activities’.

Despite the drop, Visit Harrogate Director Mike Newby said he was not downhearted by the rankings and stressed there was “still an awful lot to keep people happy”.

She said: “It’s a bit like the Olympics, it’s not the gold but it’s a fantastic bronze and I’m delighted all the same.

“One of the significant things is that we still came top on the green spaces which is fantastic and, as far as I’m concerned that’s still a good enough reason to come and visit.

“We are very high up in the list so we must be doing something right, it’s a safe place with plenty to do. This is out of 206 different places so we’re still doing incredibly well.

“This still gets Harrogate on the map as a great place to come and visit so I hope people will continue to come and see that for themselves.”

Abiola Oni, Rightmove’s research manager, said: “It seems the saying that we do like to ‘be beside the seaside’ is true, whether you’re down in the East of England or up in Scotland.

“Space is also one of the most important things when people are looking for a new home, so it’s not surprising that places with open spaces have featured in the top 10.”