A best places to live guide to argue about for a few days
One of the big talking points this weekend will be the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.
Liverpool has been named as the Best Place to Live in the North West with the Sunday Times judges praising Liverpool for its booming science and tech scene, new football stadium rising from the docks and the neighbouring Ten Streets area that is emerging as a creative district, as well as its community spirit, watersports, boot camps on the beach, independent shops, and quirky places to eat and drink.
“There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Liverpool — not just Eurovision, but also the booming reputation for science and tech and grand projects such as the new Everton Stadium and new film studios. Good-value houses are the big attraction – this is one great city where you can buy a house without breaking the bank – but you also get a lively city centre and beautiful beaches close at hand. Our top districts in the city this year are both affordable: Waterloo for seaside, sunsets and independent shops, and Toxteth for its cultural and community vibe.”
Six other locations across the North West are featured in the comprehensive guide. Published by The Sunday Times, it includes 72 locations across the UK, is released online today 24 March, with an abridged version published as a magazine supplement on Sunday.
Helen Davies, the editor of Best Places to Live 2023, said: “When times are tough, where we live matters more than ever. Attractive surroundings, good neighbours and a comfortable home are the best defences when the stresses of modern life seem overwhelming.
“This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2023 from Orkney to Felixstowe, the Chew Valley to Manchester city centre. Whether you’re downsizing, trading up or getting onto the property ladder, there will be somewhere to suit you.”
Wadhurst in East Sussex was named the overall winner of Best Places to Live. It was praised by judges for its “good schools, convenient transport connections, an amazingly well-stocked high street and stunning scenery”. They said that it offers “pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature”.
This year’s guide – the 11th – features more new entries than ever before.
The Sunday Times’ expert judges have visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.
The sponsor, Halifax, has provided the average house price for each location, while broadband speeds were provided by Thinkbroadband.com, the UK’s leading independent guide to broadband.
Previous winners of the Best Places to Live in Britain title are: Stamford, Lincolnshire (2013); Skipton, North Yorkshire (2014); Newnham, Cambridge (2015); Winchester, Hampshire (2016); Bristol (2017), York (2018), Salisbury, Wiltshire (2019), Altrincham, Cheshire (2020) Stroud, Gloucestershire (2021) and Ilkley, West Yorkshire (2022).
The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2023: North West
There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about Liverpool — not just Eurovision, but also the booming reputation for science and tech and grand projects such as the new Everton Stadium and new film studios. Good-value houses are the big attraction – this is one great city where you can buy a house without breaking the bank – but you also get a lively city centre and beautiful beaches close at hand. Our top districts in the city this year are both affordable: Waterloo for seaside, sunsets and independent shops, and Toxteth for its cultural and community vibe.
After a couple of years when its street cred was in danger of being washed away by a tide of investment flats, the original northern powerhouse is reasserting its cultural bragging rights. Much has already been written about Ancoats, but its historic mills, warehouses and new-build blocks set the benchmark for hip urban living. There’s talk of at least 1,500 more homes, but in the meantime, a new ‘mobility hub’, with car parking, charging points, car and bike sharing clubs, will keep things moving.
With its handsome red sandstone buildings and windswept scenery, Penrith is a go-to location for lovers of the great outdoors of all ages, and families who like the highly rated selective schools, and WFH-ers who like the excellent road and rail connections. Everyone appreciates the engaging community vibe, which comes to the fore in traditions such as the annual agricultural show and October’s Winter Droving, when 20,000 people descend on the town to watch street performances and a fiery torchlit procession.
An improving town centre that’s home to interesting bars and restaurants and a buzzing weekend street food and bar scene –- as well as Mr Fitzpatrick’s, believed to be the last temperance bar in Britain — mean this old shoemaking town is a worthy rival to fashionable Ramsbottom a few miles to the south, especially among first-time buyers and young families who are snapping up the good-value two-up two-down cottages.
A welcoming and well-connected Greater Manchester location Sale is emerging from the shadow of Altrincham thanks to its excellent reputation for state schools, Metrolink tram connections, and the creation of a new town-centre hub in Stanley Square with cafes, restaurants and independent shops.
What was once a bog-standard former mill town has reinvented itself as a funky, family-friendly alternative to Manchester’s Northern Quarter. As well as brilliant independent shops, cafes and bars, it has good parks, decent schools, fast train links to Manchester and suburbs with a house for every style and budget.
Tarporley is Cheshire at its most well heeled and welcoming. Families love the excellent schools and the high street is both glamorous and practical, with boutiques and interior shops side by side with a pharmacy and hardware store.