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And the best rural place to live in Britain is…

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Written by: Christina Hoghton
04/04/2018
This year's winner is a perfect destination for those who want the quiet life....

Britain’s best rural places to live have been revealed – and the Orkney Islands are top for the second year running.

They held onto a top score on employment rate (87%) and average spend per pupil on education (£9,662), a top three place in low anxiety levels, crime rate, primary class size and consistently high scores in life satisfaction and happiness.

Making up the rest of the top five in Halifax’s 2018 Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey are Rutland (East Midlands) in second place, followed by Wychavon (West Midlands) and Winchester and Waverley (South East).

Quality of life

Rutland in the East Midlands has the second best quality of life, scoring well across the measures, with a high average life expectancy (male 82 years and female 85 years) and 97% of adults considering themselves to be in good health.

Rutland residents also have some of the biggest homes in rural Britain – with an average of 6.4 habitable rooms – and nine out of 10 homes (92%) having superfast broadband. School performance is the highest in England with 71% of 15+ year-olds achieving five or more GCSE results at grades A-C.

Wychavon, Winchester and Waverley all performed well in the Personal Well-Being Survey, as well as having high male and female life expectancy. Residents in Waverley also take home the highest weekly wage in the UK (£921).

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “The winning formula for quality of life in the countryside seems to consistently include high employment levels and top scores on wellbeing, along with low school class sizes and high average spend per pupil – more than twice the national average.

“However, there is more variety and balance across the country scoring strongly across each category this year, with rural areas in the South East receiving higher weekly earnings, while the East Midlands have larger property sizes. On the southern coast, sunnier climates shine through in the rankings, while, lower house prices to earnings, wellbeing and class sizes give northern areas the desirability factor.”

Escape to the country

Almost a third of the top 50 best places to live are in southern and east England, including include nine districts in the South East and 10 each in both the South West and the East of England.

Six areas in Yorkshire and the Humber make the top 50 – these include Craven and Richmondshire (6th and 7th place respectively), as well as Stratford on Avon in the West Midlands (8th) and Monmouthshire in Wales (19st).

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