Expats who move to the UK might not always be able to choose where they live if they are tied to a specific job, but those with a choice might find that the best places to be are not the most obvious.

For example, six of the areas with the lowest CO2 emissions are in London, the lowest annual rainfall is in Essex, while the sunniest place is the Isle of Wight just off the south coast of England.

England Counties

Overall the best place to live is Hart in North East Hampshire and the second best is the Orkney Islands off the North coast of Scotland, according to the 2017 Halifax quality of life survey.

But having such great quality of life comes at a price for those wishing to live in Hart as the average price of a home is £419,231, some 8.8 times the average annual local income, compared to the national average of 7.3.

Hart is judged to be such a good place to live as residents feel fit and well. Indeed the town has the longest average female life expectancy in the UK of 86.7 years, and third longest for males at 82.5. It also has one of the highest employment rates.

The Orkneys have the highest employment rate in the UK at 87% with 96.6% of residents having good or fairly good health. As in previous years, the Orkneys scores strongly on a low a crime rate, lack of traffic, low population density and small school class sizes. It may be a remote location, but residents appear to be the least anxious and amongst the happiest and most satisfied in the country.

‘Hart seems to have been offering residents an unrivalled mix of living standards for five of the last six years. Along with Hart, many areas in southern England score strongly in categories including the labour markets and health. Northern areas tend to perform well on education and benefit from more affordable properties with lower house prices to earnings,’ said Russell Galley, Halifax managing director.

The research shows that two thirds of top 50 areas for the best places to live are in southern England, including Wokingham sixth, South Oxfordshire fourteenth and St Albans fifteenth.

Overall the healthiest districts are all in the South, with Hart and Wokingham both having 97% or more households rating themselves in good or fairly good health. Seven of the top 10 areas are found in the South East, with the remaining found in the East of England and Scotland.

When it comes to education primary school class sizes are smallest in Scotland, with nine of the 10 local authority districts with the smallest primary school classes here. The Western Isles has the lowest in the UK with 17.3 compared to a national average of 27.

The best exam results in England are in Kingston upon Thames at 75.7% and Trafford at 71.4%, both above the UK average of 59.5%.

Adults in Craven in North Yorkshire have the highest average rating for life satisfaction in the UK. Based on a score out of 10, the adults in this area had an average rating of 8.5 compared with a national average of 7.7.

The happiest adults are in Craven, with an average rating of 8.3, significantly higher than the UK average of 7.5 and the town comes out top with fewer adults being anxious with an average rating of two compared to the national average of 2.9.