The best place to live in the UK in 2018

Sunday Times list takes into account jobs, life expectancy, schools, broadband speed, culture, community spirit, shops and more

(Image credit: Getty Images)

York has knocked Bristol off the top spot in a prestigious list of the best places to live in Britain this year.

The walled Roman city in North Yorkshire, home to York Minster, has topped The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list “because of its combination of ancient beauty and a recent modernisation”, says the Evening Standard.

“You can’t deny the romantic beauty of York,” writes the guide. “The period buildings, meandering river and the iconic Minster have ensured this city a billing in every Best Places list.”

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“But it has hitherto been denied the top spot because it has always been a bit, well, old – and we’re not just talking about the 2,000 years of history that started with the Romans. No longer.

“York today is a mini metropolis, with cool cafes, destination restaurants and innovative companies – plus the fastest internet in Britain.”

Places were ranked on factors including jobs, schools, shops and broadband speed, says the BBC.

Bermondsey was named the best place to live in London, while in Wales, Mumbles in Swansea came out top. Frome, Somerset, was top in the South West, while in Scotland, Melrose in the borders was commended.

Ballyhackamore, “dubbed the 'brunch capital of Belfast'”, according to Sky News, won in Northern Ireland.

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times Home editor, said: “Choosing the right location to put down roots is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make.

“Which is why we're here to help - and what Best Places to Live in Britain is all about.

“We're championing York this year in honour of its bold approach to bringing the historic city into the 21st century without losing any character or community spirit.”

Here's the guide's regional best picks:

East - Chelmsford, Essex

Forget the usual Essex jokes says the Sunday Times, “Chelmsford is nothing like the Towie stereotypes”. Long popular with aspirational families, the newly designated city boasts excellent schools as well as Anglia Ruskin University.

“Granted, it’s a bit rough around the edges,” says the guide, “but we give Chelmsford a gold star for its energy and optimism.”

Average property value: £353,000 (according to Rightmove)

South East - Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Described by the guide as a “jewel in the commuter crown”, Berkhamsted is affluent and attractive; its medieval centre is filled with chic shops and great places to eat. It is also a “Transition Town”, encouraging its residents to think about sustainability.

Average property value: £644,000

London - Bermondsey

Home to Maltby Street Market, the White Cube gallery, the Fashion and Textile Museum and independent cinema Kino Bermondsey, the former south London dock area “is known as a food and cultural hotspot”, says Country Living.

Average property value: £620,000

Midlands - Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire

With the possible exception of sea views, “there's something for everybody in the broadest, most varied and least heralded of regions”, says the guide. Located near Stratford-upon-Avon this quiet market town retains its crown as the best place in the Midlands to live, boasting all the charm of the Cotswolds, but without the tourists.

Average property value: £302,000

South West - Frome, Somerset

This part of the UK often tops lists of the best places in the country to live. Nearby Bristol topped last year’s guide, but this year Frome comes out top in the region, with the transformation of the St Catherine’s town centre “leading the revival of this previously down-at-heel town”.

Average property value: £279,000

North East - Tynemouth, Northumberland

Home to a thriving cafe culture, elegant architecture and blissful scenery, “this historic borough is no longer a sleepy seaside town”, says Country Living.

Average property value: £320,000

North West - Altrincham, Greater Manchester

Just over a mile from Manchester city centre, Altrincham has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past decade. A £6m regeneration has made this slice of suburbia “cool”, says the guide, and with the region expected to see the UK’s biggest house price rises over the next five years, there’s never been a better time to move.

Average property value: £440,000

Wales - Mumbles, Swansea

Situated on the western edge of Swansea Bay, this once run-down seaside town has been given a facelift in recent years, with redevelopment of the foreshore and headland by Mumbles Pier next on the cards.

Average property value: £246,000

Scotland - Melrose, Scottish Borders

Located an hour from Edinburgh, Melrose has often been described as the closest thing to a Cotswold village north of the border. As well as superb schools, it also has a thriving literary festival, while the surrounding countryside is great for walking and mountain-biking, and the nearby Cairngorms is perfect for skiing.

Average property value: £227,000

Northern Ireland - Ballyhackamore, Belfast

“There is an attractive swagger about Belfast” at the moment says The Sunday Times, and nowhere is more appealing to settle down and bring up kids than Ballyhackamore, a once unheralded corner east of the centre that has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in recent years.

Average property value: £132,000

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