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The 10 best UK cities and towns to live in

Updated February 21, 2017

A recent survey by Rightmove asked more than 25,000 British people to rate their towns in terms of how nice it was to live there. They called this the "happiness index," and once the results were tallied, they found that towns in the North of the UK dominated the top 10 cities and towns to live in.

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\#10 Carlisle

Carlisle residents score top of the list for their satisfaction with their ability to keep their homes looking nice, and also their sense of security that the local economy will resist recessions. Carlisle is only home to 100,000 people, but by area is the second largest city in England, which means that inhabitants have a lot of green area to play in.

Related: The UK's most romantic B&Bs

\#9 York

The historically beautiful city of York is surrounded by the wild countryside of Yorkshire, and its inhabitants score it highly on issues such as neighbourliness and safety. Generally, though, inhabitants of Northern cities like York are less impressed with their opportunities for recreation than those towns down South.

Related: Britain's best castles

\#8 Huddersfield

Huddersfield is almost smack-dab in the centre of the UK, and its inhabitants tend to score their satisfaction with their town highly overall. Cheaper Northern house prices may be a factor in the happiness of the residents of this town, as they have more money to spend on enthralling the residents at the annual Imbolc festival that celebrates the changing of the seasons.

Related: Weird festivals in the UK

\#7 Harrogate

Harrogate is the second Yorkshire town to make it into the top eight towns to live in. Of all the areas surveyed by Rightmove in the UK, the people living in this town are the most contented with their life. Harrogate actually has an identical score to the next four towns on the list, but for varying reasons.

Related: The UK's best golf courses

\#6 Chester

Chester in Cheshire comes in at number five on the list, with a generally high level of satisfaction of living standards. A possible explanation for its high standing could be the access to the surrounding countryside for recreation and the proximity of Chester Zoo for happy family days out.

Related: Top 10 UK weirdest wild animals

\#5 Llandudno

Wales manages to make an appearance in the top eight with a high score by inhabitants of Llandudno, a large seaside resort on the Welsh coast. This is the only coastal town on the list, but presumably the large sandy beach and the elegant Victorian town centre add to the inhabitants satisfaction with their homes.

Related: 10 hideaways on the British coast

\#4 Norwich

The furthest east town in the top eight places to live in the UK is Norwich. A city with a strong medieval influence, the narrow lanes and markets may add to the sense of pride the town's inhabitants have, and to the sense of satisfaction they feel about their houses.

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\#3 Derby

Derby residents have a general satisfaction with their lot in life, although no one particular issue stands out as specifically top-notch. Located right in the heart of the English countryside, Derby boasts museums, theme parks and heritage sites to add a bit of colour to everyday life in the town.

Related: The cheapest places to live in the UK

\#2 Edinburgh

No town from Scotland made it into the top eight of the best towns in the UK, but of all the cities in the country, people from Edinburgh were the happiest with their homes. Good infrastructure and access to amenities may have helped the city top the Scottish leagues.

Related: Low crime places to live in the United Kingdom

\#1 Derry

Derry was once the scene of sustained violence during Northern Ireland's troubles but a lot has changed. The Urbanism Awards of 2011 also gave Derry star status as the best city. This is marked down to the improvements made in the city over the last year to modernise it and regenerate older areas. The city is currently the UK's City of Culture and with Donegal on it's doorstep what else could a resident wish for.

Related: You know you're from Norn Iron if...

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About the Author

Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.

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