Harrogate and Skipton named in list of Britain's top 10 happiest towns

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Two Yorkshire towns have scored highly on the annual Happy at Home Index.

Rightmove surveyed over 22,000 people who were asked to rate their town on 12 'happiness factors' - including access to green space, community spirit, safety, sports and recreational opportunities, local services, amenities and cultural activities.

Harrogate

Harrogate

Harrogate was the second-happiest town in Britain this year, beaten only by Hexham in Northumberland. Skipton was fourth, behind the London borough of Richmond-on-Thames.

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York (29) and Halifax (43) also appeared in the top 50. A total of 194 towns and cities were included in the research.

Grimsby (162), Wakefield (166), Bradford (173) and Doncaster (187) all came near the bottom of the table.

Harrogate's advantages were extolled by local estate agent James Wort, from Strutt & Parker's Harrogate office:-

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle

"Centrally located between Leeds, York and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Harrogate offers residents the best of city living with the ease of life in the countryside. Homebuyers here really can have it all. Direct rail lines to Leeds and York deliver passengers to these larger cities in less than 40 minutes, though the town’s many local shops, restaurants and cafés are incentive enough for Harrogate residents to stay close to home.

“Since the Victorian era, people have flocked to Harrogate’s famed spas and mineral baths. From restored vintage gems like the Turkish Baths to upmarket modern spas like the one at the Rudding Park Hotel, there are plenty of places to relax and restore the senses.

"The Yorkshire Dales National Park is just a short drive from Harrogate, but there is also a wealth of green space and parkland within the town limits as well. One up-and-coming area for Harrogate residential property is Beech Grove, which runs along The Stray. Here there are several attractive apartment blocks with gorgeous views of the gardens below, as well as secured parking. Some of Harrogate’s best schools are located in the southern part of town, where young families are driving the sales of residences in that area.”

However, Harrogate's average property price of £341,524 is higher than the national average of £302,808.

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The town has a strong track record in the Happy at Home Index, having topped the national charts in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It dropped to third in 2016 and fourth in 2017.

In 2018, Skipton was the happiest Yorkshire town, and 15th nationally.

In 2014, Hull was number seven in the national top 10, but this year it has dropped to 148th.

In 2018, The Sunday Times dropped Harrogate from their annual Best Places to Live guide for the first time since its publication, stating bluntly that they were worried about its ever-increasing property prices.

""We’re anxious: flats for £12million, and it’s just not as fun as it was. It’s certainly no match for Leeds. Yorkshire’s biggest city has shopping as good as anywhere in the UK, even if you still need to think hard about where to settle."

Harrogate Council hit back, pointing out that although a developer had promoted £12million apartments, they had never submitted a planning application for the scheme.