Garrington Property Finders are delighted to present the Best Places to Live 2024 in England and Wales.
Many of the most desirable places to live in England and Wales became better value in 2023 as property prices fell.
Official Land Registry data shows that in the 12 months to the end of November, the average home in England fell in value by £9,000 (2.9%), with the average cost of a home in Wales falling by £5,000 (2.4%).
The Nationwide calculates that by the end of the year, average prices in England were down 2.9% compared to the end of 2022 – while prices dipped 1.9% in Wales.
With prices now stabilising and the cost of borrowing coming down as lenders cut interest rates, the property market has made a brisk start to 2024.
Finding a home in 2024
Garrington has analysed data to uncover the best places to live in the country and has created a tool that enables house hunters opportunity to compare places they’re considering when shortlisting locations.
If you’re considering a move this year, our Best Places to Live 2024 guide can help you identify places in the area you’re interested in that offer the optimum blend of quality of life and strong value.
Our data analysts have identified more than 1400 cities, towns and villages across England and Wales that all score highly in at least one of five selection criteria – natural beauty and flood risk, wellbeing, heritage, schools and employment plus value for money.
We’re making our national ranking available for free, and you can use the interactive tool below to explore the entire league table – whether you’re curious to see how your current hometown scores or want some suggestions for places with more of what matters most to you.
Top ranked locations 2024
The home counties have led the way in this year’s results with the top three best places to live all being possible commuter hotspots.
At a glance, these are the locations that ranked highest in this year – these are the Best Places to Live 2024:
Top of this year’s ranking is Twyford, a picture-postcard village in Berkshire sandwiched between Bucklebury, the Princess of Wales’s childhood home, and her royal residence in Windsor.
Twyford’s pristine, pollution-free air and low crime rate propelled it to 15th place in the wellbeing category, while its fast train links to central London via the Elizabeth Line, coupled with the quality of its schools, high broadband speeds and proximity to high-paying jobs lifted it to 30th place in the schools, employment and connectivity category.
Twyford is regarded as an attractive place to reside, offering residents a blend of peaceful countryside living with convenient access to amenities and transport links to London, making it a favourable choice for both families and professionals.
At £767,521 for a typical family home, property prices in the village are well above the national average but they fell by 3% in the 12 months to September 2023 and are competitive by Berkshire standards – propelling Twyford to 26th place in the value for money category.
How they compare: The top 20 best places to live 2024 | England and Wales
The top places were hotly contested, with the top 10 locations being closely matched on scores. After Twyford took the crown, second place fell to St Albans, and Epsom in Surrey took the third place position.
2. St Albans, Hertfordshire
Second-placed St Albans in Hertfordshire has had a more strained relationship with royalty – it was burnt to the ground by Queen Boudicca during her revolt against Roman rule nearly two thousand years ago. These days its abundance of listed and historic buildings, museums, and theatres earned it 82nd place in the heritage category of our 2024 ranking.
St Albans is celebrated for its rich history, vibrant community, and excellent transport links to London, making it a highly desirable location for individuals seeking a balance between historical charm and modern convenience.
Located just 20 miles from London, the cathedral city is popular with commuters and boasts many good schools, which may explain why the price of the average-sized family home in St Albans bucked the national trend in 2023 by rising 0.4% in the year to September to £972,494.
While St Albans has been a desirable destination for millennia – and has high prices to match – 2023’s reset in property prices has propelled several other locations into our top 20 for the first time.
3. Epsom, Surrey
The third-placed town in our Best Places to Live 2024 ranking also has a royal connection. For nearly two and a half centuries, Epsom in Surrey has been home to the Derby, an annual highlight of the racing calendar and a firm favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth.
Chief among them is fifth-placed Bowdon, an immaculate village near Manchester with tree-lined avenues that are home to well-heeled but discreet residents including a sprinkling of footballers and celebrities. At £709,000 for a typical family home, Bowdon’s property prices are among the highest in Greater Manchester, but their 5.9% fall in the 12 months to September 2023 won the village second place in the value for money category of our ranking.
Prices also fell in Clitheroe, another northern hotspot and perennial high achiever in the annual ranking. The ancient market town in Lancashire’s picturesque Ribble Valley came 23rd overall after the average price of a family home dipped 3.2% to £342,652.
The North of England’s second highest ranking was achieved by 15th-placed Marple in Greater Manchester.
The town is within easy reach of the big city – it boasts two train stations and is just 10 miles from central Manchester – but offers a gentler pace of life. Marple’s rural location and famous canalside walks earned it 33rd place in the natural beauty category of our ranking.
The highest ranked location in the Midlands is fourth-placed New Mills in Derbyshire. The Peak District town enjoys commanding views of a natural rocky gorge known as The Torrs and boasts a mix of independent shops, cafés and pubs, as well as a lively programme of events and a thriving arts scene.
It is the most affordable location in the top 20, with the price of a typical family home there falling 1.4% in 2023 to £409,662 – barely half as much as a comparable property in Epsom, the Surrey hotspot ranked just one place higher.
Find your perfect place to live
To learn more about individual locations within the Best Places to Live 2024 rankings you can use the tool below to compare hundreds of cities, towns and villages across England and Wales.
Simply type the first three letters of the place you’re looking for into the interactive box. Alternatively, you can view all the locations in a region by selecting ‘browse by region’. Click the ‘Pin me’ button to view scores for two places side by side.
Getting expert help
If you feel you’d benefit from the guidance and expertise of a professional property buying agent, please get in touch for a no obligation discussion about your plans to move and the services we offer.
Garrington’s Best Places to Live 2024 report is an impartial, objective ranking based on publicly available data. The ranking is not based on subjective or personal opinions.
Our data team compiled data in a total of 18 categories, including proximity to open space, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, numbers of listed and period homes, air quality, crime figures and the percentage of homes with their closest primary school ranked Outstanding by Ofsted.
The analysis included a total of 1429 locations including 52 with a population of over 200000, 92 larger towns with a population between 75000 and 200000, 353 medium towns with a population between 20000 and 75000 and 921 small towns/large villages with a population between 5000 and 20000.
Our report is NOT a league table of the ‘best and worst places to live’. On the contrary, the research only ranks the best places to live, so being included – whether at number 1 or number 1429 – is to be applauded.
A wide range of data sources have been used to create the Best Places to Live 2024 report’s proprietary research methodology. These include:
The Office for National Statistics, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Land Registry, Royal Mail, Ordnance Survey, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, DEFRA, BEIS, NapTAN (Ministry for Transport), PCT, Historic England and Dataloft.