Fifteen locations in the Southeast have been named among the Best Places to Live in Britain by The Sunday Times and Olney has made the list.
The accolade comes ahead of the full reveal of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, which is published on Sunday, March 18. The supplement assesses a wide range of factors, from jobs, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops, in order to compile the definitive top locations to live.
The methodology uses robust statistics, but also the knowledge of The Sunday Times’s expert panel. The judges combine the hard data with their own on-the-ground experience and insight to ensure the chosen locations truly are places where everyone can thrive.
Nearby Berkhamsted came top and was described as ‘affluent and attractive, with chic shops and great places to eat in its medieval heart’.
The Southeast has long been popular with those looking to flee London’s stratospheric house prices, and 15 locations are included in Best Places to Live this year. Lymington and Stockbridge, both in Hampshire, have retained their place from last year’s list.
Nearby Wendover also made the list.
Lymington, a port town on the Solent, has a large tourist industry due to its harbour and proximity to the New Forest. It’s a popular place to live, with predominantly Georgian buildings and sloping cobbled streets leading to the Old Town Quay, where the fishing boats still unload their catch. Average house prices range from £194,820 for a one-bedroom starter house to £830,270 for a five-bedroom family home.
Another notable inclusion is Sevenoaks, Kent, which slipped off the list last year, but returns for 2018. This is partly due to the opening of a new girls’ grammar school annexe last September after years of campaigning, adding to a choice of independents and outstanding primaries. The town is surrounded by miles of green belt and greenery in every direction, including the deer park at Knole. Highly rated new eateries include Brisket and Barrell, which serves smoked pulled pork or sausages by the weight, and Fego, for clean eating.
The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britain covers the following regions: North and Northeast, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Southeast, Wales, Southwest, East, London, Scotland and the Northwest. It also reveals the overall best place to live in the UK.
“Choosing the right location to put down roots is one of the most important decisions you’ll make,” said Helen Davies, The Sunday Times Home editor. “Which is why we’re here to help - and what Best Places to Live in Britain is all about. We’re very excited that it is a standalone magazine this year. There is much to celebrate, and Britain is scattered with thriving towns and villages, cool cities and suburbs, though people may be surprised how many traditional favourites haven’t made the cut in 2018.”
Founder and CEO at Habito, Daniel Hegarty, said: “Like London, house price growth in the Southeast is now starting to slow, which could be good news for first time buyers. While the Sunday Times Best Places to Live looks beyond house prices, we know that the process of getting a mortgage means that finding a dream home can be a nightmare. Whether you are considering using Government schemes to buy for the first time, or are looking to remortgage ahead of the Bank of England’s next interest rate rise, using a broker can help your chances and make the process as smooth as possible. With an estimated 1 in 4 people overpaying on their mortgage by £4,100 every year, even those homeowners lucky enough to be living in Lymington or Berkhamsted could potentially benefit from checking how much they could save.”
You can find your best place to live via the fully searchable website www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/bestplacestolive.
Readers can also join in the conversation online by sharing their favourite places and why they love them, using the hashtag #STbestplaces.