A corner of the Home Counties that’s packed with popular market towns has been named as the best place to live in Britain for 2020. 

Commuter belt favourite East Hertfordshire includes market towns such as Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford, and was given the title after scoring well on several factors.

These include strong exam results, high life expectancy, excellent health and happiness scores and high average earnings.

The annual Halifax quality of life survey considered a number of factors, such as health

The annual Halifax quality of life survey considered a number of factors, such as health

East Hertfordshire - which includes market towns such as Hertford - is the best place to live

East Hertfordshire – which includes market towns such as Hertford – is the best place to live

It was followed by Fareham, Hart and Horsham – all in the South – in the annual Halifax quality of life survey. 

The South East and the East of England both feature four times within the top 10, while the North also makes the line-up due to Selby and Hambleton, which are ranked sixth and seventh respectively.

Sarah Broughton, of buying agent Prime Purchase, said: ‘It’s not surprising that East Hertfordshire tops the chart as the best place to live. 

‘The countryside is unspoilt with attractive villages, good footpaths and some excellent pubs. 

‘There are good schools and easy accessibility to London if that’s what you need, but yet it is still rural.

‘The market town of Bishop’s Stortford, in particular, is attractive and vibrant, and the easy commute to London make it a great place for families to live.’

THE 50 BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN BRITAIN
Local AuthorityRegion2020 Rank
East HertfordshireEast of England1
FarehamSouth East2
HartSouth East3
HorshamSouth East4
MaldonEast of England5
SelbyYorkshire and The Humber6
HambletonYorkshire and The Humber7
BaberghEast of England8
St EdmundsburyEast of England9
WokinghamSouth East10
RyedaleYorkshire and The Humber11
South DerbyshireEast Midlands12
South CambridgeshireEast of England13
Tonbridge and MallingSouth East14
RugbyWest Midlands15
RunnymedeSouth East16
WychavonWest Midlands17
Orkney IslandsScotland18
WokingSouth East19
WarwickWest Midlands20
South OxfordshireSouth East21
RushcliffeEast Midlands22
HuntingdonshireEast of England23
Newark and SherwoodEast Midlands24
RushmoorSouth East25
Forest HeathEast of England26
ElmbridgeSouth East27
WiltshireSouth West28
GedlingEast Midlands29
North DorsetSouth West30
RutlandEast Midlands31
TewkesburySouth West32
RochfordEast of England33
WinchesterSouth East34
Bracknell ForestSouth East35
CherwellSouth East36
Central BedfordshireEast of England37
CharnwoodEast Midlands38
Forest of DeanSouth West39
Vale of White HorseSouth East40
West BerkshireSouth East41
New ForestSouth East42
North WarwickshireWest Midlands43
GuildfordSouth East44
SwindonSouth West45
LichfieldWest Midlands46
Suffolk CoastalEast of England47
YorkYorkshire and The Humber48
Basingstoke and DeaneSouth East49
ErewashEast Midlands50
Source: Halifax   
East Hertfordshire also includes the market town of Bishop's Stortford

East Hertfordshire also includes the market town of Bishop’s Stortford

Russell Galley, from Halifax, adds: ‘With bustling market towns and picturesque countryside, East Hertfordshire has topped the table thanks to high life expectancy, good schools and health and happiness scores, with high average earnings.

‘Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a place to live, depending on time of life, and personal circumstances. 

‘Affordability will always be one of the most important factors, with getting a foot on the property ladder still difficult for some people.’

WHY EAST HERTFORDSHIRE?

What makes East Hertfordshire such a good place to live, according to the survey?

• Residents feel fit and well with 97 per cent reporting good or fairly good health.

• East Hertfordshire has the 12th highest weekly earnings of any local authority across England, Scotland and Wales.

• The latest ONS figures indicate adults living in East Hertfordshire are among the most happy and content in Britain, with high life expectancies.

• Schools in the area also achieve excellent exam results, with 73.3% achieving grade 9-4 in English and maths.

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Hambleton in North Yorkshire is among the best places to live, ranked in seventh place

Hambleton in North Yorkshire is among the best places to live, ranked in seventh place

LOCAL AUTHORITY WITH BEST QUALITY OF LIFE IN EACH REGION 
Local AuthorityRegion
South DerbyshireEast Midlands
Richmond upon ThamesLondon
DarlingtonNorth East
EdenNorth West
Lisburn and CastlereaghNorthern Ireland
Orkney IslandsScotland
FarehamSouth East
WiltshireSouth West
The Vale of GlamorganWales
RugbyWest Midlands
SelbyYorkshire and The Humber
Source: Halifax  
Only two London areas make the top 100 - including Richmond-upon-Thames

Only two London areas make the top 100 – including Richmond-upon-Thames

The South East is the highest ranking region, with 18 local authorities securing spots in the top 50 best places to live.

These include Wokingham in tenth position, Winchester at 34 and the New Forest at 42.

The East of England comes second which, alongside the overall winner, boasts another nine entries in the top 50. 

These include St Edmundsbury in ninth position, Rochford at 33 and Central Bedfordshire at 37.

In third place is the East Midlands, featuring seven times, including South Derbyshire at 12, Rutland at 31 and Charnwood at 38.

Selby in sixth place and Hambleton in seventh place, along with Ryedale at number 11 and York at 48 – all in Yorkshire and Humberside – are the only places in the North of England to make the top 50.

The Scottish Orkney Islands are the only locality north of the border to feature and no London local authorities appear in the top 50.

Only two London areas make the top 100. They are Richmond-upon-Thames at 64 and Kensington and Chelsea at 79. Wales’ highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan at 126.

Selbyin North Yorkshire is among the best places to live, ranked in sixth place

Selbyin North Yorkshire is among the best places to live, ranked in sixth place

Wales' highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan, ranked 126 in the Halifax survey

Wales’ highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan, ranked 126 in the Halifax survey

Factors relating to wellbeing played a significant role in securing the top three places for East Hertfordshire, Fareham, and Hart – with high scores on general health and happiness.

East Hertfordshire and Hart score well on life expectancy, where males can expect to live an average of 82.5 years, three years above the national average and females to 85, which is two years above the national average.

Those living in Hart and Fareham score highly for life satisfaction – 8.2 out of 10 on average, compared to 7.8 for Britain.

Employment levels are also significantly higher – 87.2 per cent in Hart and 82.2 per cent in Fareham, compared to 75 per cent for the rest of the country.

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