Revealed: Best rural places to live in 2018

The UK places with the best rural quality of life are revealed in the latest annual survey by British bank Halifax.

Rutland in the East Midlands has been ranked the best rural place to live in England – pipped to the post by Orkney as the best rural place to live in the UK as a whole.

It marks a big rise in the rankings for Rutland, which was in 19th position last year, and pushes Wychavon in the West Midlands to third place.

The survey assesses a range of factors, including health, employment, crime rates as well as education, housing, broadband speed, pollution, weather and leisure facilities.

Craven in North Yorkshire has the happiest adults in the country, according to the survey, with Copeland in Cumbria home to the lowest average house price to earnings ratio.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “The winning formula for quality of life in the countryside seems to consistently include high employment levels and top scores on wellbeing, along with low school class sizes and high average spend per pupil – more than twice the national average.

“However, there is more variety and balance across the country scoring strongly across each category this year, with rural areas in the south east receiving higher weekly earnings, while the East Midlands have larger property sizes.

“On the southern coast, sunnier climates shine through in the rankings, while, lower house prices to earnings, wellbeing and class sizes give northern areas the desirability factor.”

The Orkney Islands scored well on high employment, high spend per pupil on education, low crime rate and good overall life satisfaction and happiness.

People in Rutland had high average life expectancy of 82 years for males and 85 years for females, with nearly all adults considering themselves to be in good health.

Nine out of ten homes in Rutland have super-fast broadband and 6.4 habitable rooms per home – some of the biggest in the country.

Schools in Rutland also performed well, with 70% of 15-year-olds achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A to C – among the highest in the UK.

Wychavon in the West Midlands, and Winchester and Waverley scored well on personal well-being and life expectancy, with Waverley boasting the highest wages of £921 per week.

Almost one third of the top 50 best rural places to live are in the south and east – including nine districts in the south-east and 10 each in the south-west and East Anglia.

Top areas outside these regions include Craven and Richmondshire, both in Yorkshire; Stratford upon Avon in the West Midlands; and Monmouthshire in Wales.

The top rural places to live in 2018 are as follows:

Rank Place Region
1 Orkney Islands Scotland
2 Rutland East Midlands
3 Wychavon West Midlands
4 Winchester South East
5 Waverley South East
6 Craven Yorkshire & the Humber
7 Richmondshire Yorkshire & the Humber
8 Stratford-upon-Avon West Midlands
9 Uttlesford East of England
10 Ryedale Yorkshire & the Humber
11 South Oxfordshire South East
12 Selby Yorkshire & the Humber
13 St Edmundsbury East of England
14 Suffolk Coastal East of England
15 Purbeck South West
16 Hambleton Yorkshire & the Humber
17 West Oxfordshire South East
18 Harborough East Midlands
19 Monmouthshire Wales
20 Eden North West
21 South Cambridgeshire East of England
22 Tewkesbury South West
23 Chichester South East
24 Babergh East of England
25 Maldon East of England
26 Cotswold South West
27 Aylesbury Vale South East
28 Wiltshire South West
29 West Dorset South West
30 East Devon South West
31 Mid Devon South West
32 Rishcliffe East Midlands
33 Malvern Hills West Midlands
34 South Norfolk East of England
35 South Lakeland North West
36 Vale of White Horse South East
37 South Hams South West
38 Huntingdonshire East of England
39 Horsham South East
40 North Warwickshire West Midlands
41 Shetland Islands Scotland
42 East Hampshire South East
43 Central Bedfordshire East of England
44 Derbyshire Dales East Midlands
45 North Devon South West
46 Mid Suffolk East of England
47 East Riding of Yorkshire Yorkshire & the Humber
48 Teignbridge South West
49 Ribble Valley North West
50 North Kesteven East Midlands
Source: Halifax


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