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The 10 happiest places to live in the UK right now

In light of International Happiness Day, discover the UK postcodes where residents are said to have the best quality of life

The 10 happiest places to live in the UK right now© Alexander Spatari
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
March 20, 2024
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If the past few years have taught us anything, it's the importance of loving where you live. But where in the UK has it the sweetest?

Recent data from Rightmove shows that the UK housing market has undergone a spring revival, with a higher demand from buyers resulting in a 1.5% increase in house prices - the highest in eight months.

With the property market set to boom, there seems to be another question on everybody's minds, with global searches of 'how to be happier' reaching an all-time peak in March 2023.

Where we live has a major impact on our overall happiness. Factors such as crime rates, green spaces, economic prosperity and a sense of community contributing to our daily dose of dopamine. 

From the rolling hills of Mole Valley to the scenic countryside of Ribble Valley, a new study reveals the top 10 towns and cities where Brits are said to have the best quality of life. In light of International Happiness Day, discover where in the UK are the happiest places to live.

The beautiful English village of Downham in the Ribble valley in Lancashire.© JayKay57

1. Ribble Valley

Topping the list is Ribble Valley, with an outstanding happiness score of 78.95 out of 100. 

This charming borough in Lancashire is best known for its picturesque villages, soul-soothing countryside and warm-hearted inhabitants.

The area not only boasts the lowest crime rate, but also has an abundance of green and blue spaces, as well as one of the highest weekly earning rates (£825) and the lowest unemployment rate.

Picture of a floating wooden pier with the sunset across the lake in the background. Black swan lake - Dinton Pastures - Wokingham© Gopal Krishnan

2. Wokingham

Second is Wokingham, a market town and civil parish in Berkshire that boasts a happiness score of 71.94 out of 100. 

Low employment rates and high weekly earning averages of £785.80 make this town a popular spot for families.

Molesey is a district of two twin towns, East Molesey and West Molesey, in Surrey, United Kingdom. It is situated on the south bank of the River Thames.© by Andrea Pucci

3. Mole Valley

Hailed for its abundance of areas of outstanding natural beauty, Mole Valley occupies the south-central portion of Surrey and has a happiness score of 71.20 out of 100.

Early morning at Sonning bridge, Berkshire on the River Thames© A J Withey

4. West Berkshire

West Berkshire, home to the Princess of Wales' parents Carole and Michael Middleton, has an overall score of 70.16 thanks to its abundance of green spaces. 

It's also where Princess Kate spent most of her childhood, something she has attributed to some of her happiest early memories. 

"Life now is so busy and distracting and sometimes simple things like watching a fire on a really rainy day provides such enjoyment. I remember that from my childhood, the simple things, like going for a walk together, I try to do this with my children," said the Princess. 

"As children, we spent a lot of time outside and it's something I'm really passionate about."

SEE: Kate Middleton's parents £4.7m home is short drive from Cambridges' new Windsor cottage - inside

A person walks a dog during heavy rain in Swinley Forest near Bracknell, Berkshire.© Steve Parsons - PA Images

5. Bracknell Forest

Aerial view of the town of South Cerney in Gloucestershire nestled in the Cotswold© Allan Baxter

6. South Gloucestershire

The area of South Gloucestershire has been rated the 6th happiest in the UK, with economic prosperity in Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Thornbury, Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke contributing to the 2.1% unemployment rate.

Christmas shoppers in Guildford High Street.© Adam Davy - PA Images

7. Guildford

With transport links just 20-30 minutes from London, a stunning high street with historic buildings and beautiful architecture, Guildford has long been considered one of the happiest places to live in the UK. 

The Surrey town is also close to the Surrey Hills; one of the largest green spaces in the UK hailed for its picturesque, tranquil beauty.

Newlands Corner at sunrise© Karl Hendon

8. Waverley

Another town in Surrey, Waverley comes 8th on the list thanks to its low crime rate (43.7 per 1,000 population) and significant blue and green spaces. 

Moored Narrowboats, some used as houseboats beside towpath, Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire© Robin Bush

9. Three Rivers

The district is full of innovation, creativity and community work, with an abundance of visitor attractions, festivals, shopping, sport and leisure, culture and history and places to stay. 

While green and blue spaces in Three Rivers are the lowest of the 10 (just 9.6% per 1000 hectares), the weekly average wages here are one of the highest at £862.50.

Spring sees the flowering of oilseed rape (brassica napus) crops across many parts of southern England. Characterized by its bright yellow colour and distinctive smell, rape is used mainly as a source of vegetable oil and biodiesel. World rape production has increased tenfold in the last forty years.© Getty

10. Surrey Heath

The 10th happiest place to live in the UK is Surrey Heath; a beautiful place to live and work which once ranked highest in the Home Counties for wellbeing.

The study, conducted by GoSmokeFree, analysed factors ranging from crime rates to economic indicators from the ONS and the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA), to provide valuable insights into the regions fostering exceptional quality of life. 

The rates and percentages were transformed into an index to create a score over 100, crowning the happiest local authorities in the country where people are more likely to be stress and anxiety-free.

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