Orkney Islands named again as best place to live in the UK

by Ray Clancy on April 9, 2018

They are not top of the list for expats moving to the UK, but the Orkney Islands have again been ranked as the best rural place to live in Britain.

Meanwhile, Craven in Yorkshire has the highest number of happy adults and South Cambridgeshire and Aberdeenshire have been named as the nation’s healthiest districts.

Orkney Islands

(By Kevin George/Shutterstock.com)

In second place overall is Rutland in the East Midlands, followed by Wychavon in the West Midlands, Winchester and then Waverley in the South East of England, according to the 2018 quality of life survey from lender the Halifax.

The annual study analyses key factors that combine to determine quality of life across the nation, including employment, education, social and environmental factors.

Employment is highest in the Orkney Islands at 87%, followed by the Shetland Islands at 85.5%, both well above the British average of 75.1%. The highest weekly average earnings are in Waverley at £921 per week, followed by East Hampshire at £883 compared with a national average of £655 per week.

When it comes to the weather, the sunniest place in Britain is the Isle of Wight where residents enjoy an average of 36.9 hours of sunshine a week compared to a national average of 29.8 hours and the lowest average annual rainfall 561mm is in Maldon in Essex, much lower than the average for the whole of the country of 864mm.

The healthiest districts are South Cambridgeshire and Aberdeenshire both with 96.8% or more households rating themselves in good or fairly good health. In Britain as a whole, 94.6% of households rate themselves as in good or fairly good health.

Personal well-being is based on four categories of life satisfaction, worthwhile, happiness and anxiety. Adults in Craven have the highest average rating for life satisfaction. Based on a score out of 10, the adults had an average rating of 8.5, compared with the national average of 7.7.

‘With strong education and employment levels, low crime rates and residents loving life, not to mention breath taking wide open spaces, the Orkney Islands have retained the crown of Britain’s best rural place to live,’ said Russell Galley, managing director of the Halifax.

‘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,’ he pointed out.

‘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,’ he explained.

‘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,’ he added.

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