Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2016: Winchester UK’s best place to live

Hampshire’s cathedral city, Winchester, moved up three places from its 2015 ranking to take the top spot in the bank’s latest annual best place to live audit.

Winchester cathedral
The annual survey assesses residents' health and life expectancy, employment and earnings and personal wellbeing, as well as access to superfast broadband, crime rates, average sunshine hours and rainfall. This year, Halifax introduced two new measures – the number of pubs and gyms per head – to refresh the study and broaden its scope.Explaining the change, Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, said: “With more and more emphasis being placed on achieving a good work-life balance, the 2016 Halifax Quality of Life Survey includes a leisure category for the first time. This has had an impact on the rankings, especially at the top.”

A win for Winchester

Halifax awarded the local authority district of Winchester the title of best place to live in the UK based on its residents’ health and life expectancy, employment and earnings, and high scores in personal well-being surveys. People who live in Winchester also have access to a good number of leisure facilities for socialising and downtime.

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“Looking across a wide range of indicators considered by our research, residents of Winchester in Hampshire enjoy the best quality of life in the UK, benefiting from a combination of above average weekly earnings, low crime rate and good health,” said Mr Ellis.“On the other hand, there is a cost associated with a high quality of life with house prices in Winchester 9.7 times the average annual local income – significantly higher than the UK average of 7.2.”

Island life takes Orkneys to number two

New entry into the top 20, the Orkneys in northern Scotland, knocked the enterprise and innovation hotspot South Oxfordshire out of second place and into thirteenth place ths year.Performing well on employment (87.6%), close to 100 per cent of Orkney residents also enjoy good or fairly good health (96.6%). Orkney also scores well on measures for crime, traffic and population density, while islanders appear to be the least anxious and among the happiest and most satisfied in the country, and have a large number of pubs to choose from, as well as highest pupil spend on education.

Where to live for greatest life satisfaction and educational attainment

Assessing only on the Office for National Statistics' measures of life happiness, a sense of it being worthwhile and satisfaction, Mid & East Antrim, Northern Ireland, came out top or joint top across the board.East Dunbartonshire also posted the highest percentage of 15+ year olds with five or more GCSEs grades A-C grade, or five or more SCQFs A-C grades, with 97.9 per cent.

The top ten best places to live in the UK for quality of life

  1. Winchester, South East
  2. Orkney Islands, Scotland
  3. Wychavon, West Midlands
  4. Derbyshire Dales, East Midlands
  5. Hambleton, Yorkshire and The Humber
  6. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
  7. Purbeck, South West
  8. St Albans, East of England
  9. Wokingham, South East
  10. Chiltern, South East

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