The best place to live in England in 2020 is arguably down to the preferences of the person who’s looking for a home; an individual’s personal preferences, their lifestyle and vocation will shape what makes a location the best place to live.
This said, there are locations that stand out across the UK as offering an excellent quality of life and might appeal if you’re looking for a change of scenery and are seriously considering a move from where you currently live.
Here we list some of the best places to live in England according to feedback from some of our clients and property finders. These are also some of the locations where we are most frequently asked to find exclusive homes and why we believe they are so popular.
Aylsham is happily one of the best places to live in England, half an hour from Norwich and only a 20 minute drive from the North Norfolk coast. The market town of Aylsham is well located for residents to be able to easily enjoy Norfolk’s delights whilst also being within commuting distance of Norwich.
Families are often attracted to the area for the schools such as the highly-rated John of Gaunt Infant and Nursery School. The properties in and around the conservation area in Aylsham town centre are highly desirable such as those on Cromer Road, White Hart Street and Blickling Road.
Hambleden Valley, Buckinghamshire
The rolling hills of the Chilterns are filled with many a desirable place to live, one area that is particularly appealing and extremely sought after is the Hambleden Valley. Villages such as Hambleden, Turville, Skirmett, Fingest and Frieth are all located here. Not only are these villages incredibly picturesque, but they’re also surrounded by areas of natural beauty to enjoy and with several cosy pubs in the area you might never want to leave your village-life bubble.
Whilst local amenities are limited to the Village Store in Hambleden, Marlow and Henley are a mere 15-minute drive away for more options. Located between the M40 and M4, by road access to homes in the Hambleden Valley is relatively easy. Those wishing to commute to London can readily access train services at High Wycombe where the direct service takes 30 minutes into London Marylebone or at Maidenhead into London Paddington which takes around 40 minutes.
Chelmsford has long been an incredibly popular place for families to live in the southeast. An education powerhouse, Chelmsford boasts both excellent independent schools and many highly-rated state schools catering for all age groups.
Only a 30-minute train journey from London Liverpool Street, Chelmsford is popular with commuters. Equally, there are many key employers located in the city itself.
Some of the most sought after homes in Chelmsford are found on what is dubbed ‘the golden mile’; the area surrounding the station as it is incredibly convenient for commuters. Homes in the Old Moulsham area are also highly desirable.
Cobham in Surrey is only 25 miles from London making it ideal for those who need to reach the capital often. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are both around 40 minutes away. You can find period homes near to the semi-rural Tilt Common and the large detached, more modern homes can be found within a private estate on the edge of town.
Despite Cobham’s reputation as being a glamourous location suited to the rich and famous, it is in fact an incredibly down to earth place to live. Many families who once lived in southwest London have now relocated to the town for the excellent schools and the many activities available and classes that are run locally; there is a real sense of community in this small Surrey town.
York, North Yorkshire
York is fast becoming an incredibly trendy place to live, the city is increasingly inhabited by young professionals, is the location of exciting nouveau venues and as the first “Gigabit City” in the UK the creative industries are fast-growing.
Tourists do still visit York and are very welcome, the historical buildings and tea shops remain in situ, they’re simply now complemented by newer additions.
The historical city of Salisbury is extremely attractive, centred around Salisbury Cathedral the historic buildings are now occupied with shops and eateries. Both a popular place to live and with tourists Salisbury has a constant buzz.
Whilst it is not the shortest commute there are many who do commute daily into London, the direct service takes about 90 minutes. The schools are a huge attraction for families considering a move to this part of the country. Highly rated state primary schools include Greentrees and Sarum St Paul’s Church of England. There are two selective state secondaries, South Wilts Grammar School for Girls and Bishop Wordsworth’s which are also highly rated. Salisbury is also the location of well-known independent, Godolphin School which has been named as top independent school of the year for the southwest.
Within Greater Manchester, the market town of Altrincham is incredibly well connected to Manchester with the tram journey taking only 25 minutes to Deansgate. There are trains to Manchester Piccadilly station which take around 30 minutes. Manchester airport is a 15-minute drive away.
The area is popular with families as there are several outstanding schools in the area, Altrincham is particularly well known for its grammar schools which include Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.
Property in Altrincham can vary widely depending on which part of the town you’re looking at property for sale. The nearby villages of Hale, Hale Barns and Bowdon are particularly sought after places to live and benefit from easy access to Altrincham’s amenities.
Stamford is a recurring feature on the lists of the best places to live in England. With over 600 listed buildings Stamford is easily one of the UK’s most attractive towns. The high street has many independent shops and there is a popular weekly farmers market.
It takes around 15 minutes to reach Peterborough by train or road, many choose to live in Stamford and commute to Peterborough. Alternatively, from Peterborough, there is a train direct service that reaches London King Cross in around 50 minutes. The Stamford independent schools are renowned for their excellence making it a popular place for families to live.
Professional property finders
These are just a small sampling of the best places to live in England, there are many more to consider. Our search team are based in key locations around the UK and conduct searches for private clients across the entire country meaning they’ll have a suggestion for the best places to live in their region – many additions to those included here.