A market town on the banks of the River Tyne has been named Britain’s happiest place.
With its cobbled streets and imposing abbey, picture-postcard Hexham, in Northumberland, came top in a survey to find the nation’s most contented population.
Locals rated Hexham best for community spirit, a feeling of belonging, access to nature and friendly and polite people.
Up-market Richmond, South West London, was beaten into second place in the Happy at Home Index by property website Rightmove.
Hexham taking back the crown it last held in 2019 is bound to renew interest in moving there, especially as average house prices are £297,008, well below £1.2 million in Richmond.
But last year’s winner St Ives in Cornwall slipped to eighth. Hexham mayor Derek Kennedy said: “We are a small town with great history.
“There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive, and there are excellent schools.
“We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win is fantastic.”
According to the study, 1.5 million homes have been sold this year. City dwellers are more likely to move to a town, whereas town folk more often moved to villages.
Britain’s top 20 happy places to live with property prices
1. Hexham, Northumberland, £297,088
2. Richmond-upon-Thames, south west London, £1,196,892
3. Harrogate, Yorkshire, £353,624
4. Hove, East Sussex, £525,906
5. Llandrindod Wells, Wales, £193,601
6. Stirling, Scotland, £191,226
7. Monmouth, Wales, £312,649
8. St Ives, Cornwall, £494,393
9. Anglesey, Wales, £278,391
10. Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, £350,981
11. Perth, Scotland, £167,160
12. Hitchin, Hertfordshire, £491,223
13. Woodbridge, Suffolk, £427,542
14. Kendal, Cumbria, £258,961
15. Macclesfield, Cheshire, £277,772
16. Exeter, Devon, £303,215
17. Salisbury, Wiltshire, £318,806
18. Horsham, West Sussex, £433,892
19. St Albans, Hertfordshire, £632,320
20. Guildford, Surrey, £542,947