Stroud in Gloucestershire voted best place to live in the UK as judges greet the town’s ‘independent spirt’


Stroud in Gloucestershire has been voted the best place to live in the UK, as the jury praised its transport links, countryside, schools and ‘independent spirit’.

The city topped the Sunday Times list of 78 sites across the country looking for areas for improvement, well-designed homes, and community spirit.

And Stroud, with an average house price of £ 265,000 and an average rent of £ 700 pcm, was voted the best in the country.

The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Attend Regional Winners

National winner: Stroud, Gloucestershire

Southwest: Frome, Somerset

Southeast: Surrey Hills, Surrey

London: Teddington, Richmond

North and North East: Ilkley, West Yorkshire

North West: Altrincham, Cheshire

Midlands: Stamford, Lincolnshire

East: Woodbridge, Suffolk

Scotland: North Berwick

Wales: Usk, Monmouthshire

Northern Ireland: Holywood, Co Down

Helen Davies, real estate editor for The Times and Sunday Times, said: “This guide has never been more important. The pandemic has taught us how much we depend on our homes, our communities and our environment.

Now that working from home is common, it’s no surprise that many of us are rethinking our priorities and thinking hard about where we really want to live.

‘Our focus this year was on community, countryside and convenience. It hasn’t been a year for big cities or small villages.

Instead, it’s small towns that have shone: big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough to make everyone feel connected.

Stroud was chosen as our winner because all the basics have been covered in perfect style: it has excellent schools, convenient transport links and easy access to lots of beautiful green space.

“Best of all, it has a uniquely independent spirit that is evident in the impressive local food scene and in the dazzling weekly farmers market that brings the city and surrounding countryside together.”

Covid restrictions meant that the judges could not make as many visits as usual to see the UK’s cities and towns.

Instead, they used chats with residents who wanted to share their love for their home.

The pandemic also changed priorities as it focused on countryside, community and convenience this year.

National winner: Stroud, Gloucestershire

The overall winner was praised for his independent spirit and is known for its farmers’ market with 50 stalls on Saturdays, as well as farm shops with local produce serving fruits, vegetables and meat.

The town also has Woodruffs, Britain’s first organic cafe, and it’s where Extinction Rebellion was founded.

The capital of the southwestern Cotswolds and located at the point where the five Golden Valleys diverge, designer Jasper Conran once described it as the ‘Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’.

South West: Frome, Somerset

Home to over 300 Grade I listed buildings, Frome in Somerset is known for its cobblestones and scenic streets.

The birthplace of 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, is also known for the sense of community that emerged during the pandemic.

Judges for the guide described it as, “beautiful … tasteful Farrow & Ball tones and historic architecture and packs way above its weight for independent shops and schools.”

Southeast: Surrey Hills, Surrey

Surrey Hills will be known to many as the backdrop to several Hollywood films, including The Holiday, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and James Bond romps with Skyfall.

It is an area of ​​outstanding natural beauty and also offers incredible views along well-trodden walking, running and cycling routes.

Starter homes here cost £ 413,000, with the top end of the market reaching £ 1.6 million.

London: Teddington, Richmond

Teddington in Richmond was voted the best place to live in London for its wide streets and 1,000 acre Bushy Park, the perfect place to decamp during lockdown life.

It is located 18 kilometers southwest of central London on the north bank of the River Thames.

Judges noted it for its nurturing community and nature.

North and North East: Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Ilkey in West Yorkshire has been praised by judges for his ‘good looks and throbbing community heart’.

The picturesque town lies in the Wharfe Valley and is just a short walk to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Houses start at £ 229,000 and can go up to £ 785,000.

North West: Altrincham, Cheshire

Altrincham, Cheshire, was voted the best place to live in the northwest with judges sold on the ‘extremely social and fiercely independent market’ and improved shopping street.

Located eight miles outside Manchester city center, it was last year’s winner of the Sunday Times UK’s best residence.

About a decade ago it was widely believed to be Britain’s worst shopping street.

Midlands: Stamford, Lincolnshire

Market town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, is known for its 600 Grade II listed buildings, including a telephone booth and priories.

During the pandemic, an army of volunteers joined Support Our Stamford to help deliver recipes and shop for those unable to leave their homes.

Judges said of the city, “This is England at its traditional best.”

East: Woodbridge, Suffolk

Voted the best place to live in the East, Woodbridge is known for its brightly colored buildings, alleys and alleys.

The historic riverside town sits on the banks of the River Deben and has independent shops and local markets.

Life is all about the water with popular wild swimming as well as a regatta and the Maritime Woodbridge festival.

Scotland: North Berwick

The seaside town of North Berwick in East Lothian received the award for the best place to live in Scotland.

With beaches and coastal scenery, life revolves around the sea in the picturesque town.

It is 30 minutes from Edinburgh and houses start at £ 240,000.

Wales: Usk, Monmouthshire

The Welsh conqueror Usk has an 11th-century castle and one of the country’s most famous salmon rivers, the River Usk.

A city path encompasses 28 sites of historical interest and is known as the ‘Welsh Flower City’, that’s his passion for it.

Judges said of the city, “The Welsh hiraeth – the call from home – is at its strongest here.”

Northern Ireland: Holywood, Co Down

With specialty shops including fashion boutiques, delis and galleries, Holywood is also known for the Old Priory and golf.

About 30 minutes from Belfast, the seaside town is also just five minutes from George Best Belfast City Airport.

Starter homes here cost £ 134,000, while the top end is £ 625,000.