Where are the best places to live in 2021?

Published Jan 14, 2021 – 4 mins read

Garrington unveils the definitive league table of post-lockdown living – the best places to live in 2021.

2020 didn’t just change the way we live and work. It also made many of us reflect on where we live – and what we want from our home.

Lockdown restrictions meant millions of us stopped travelling to work in 2020.

At the start of 2021, more than a third (34%) of Britons were still working entirely from home.

Perching a laptop on the kitchen table or kicking the children off the sofa so you can use it to work might do for a week or two.

But there’s nothing like working from home every day to make you question whether your home still works for you.

That’s why the property market is booming, as thousands of people buy homes better suited to lockdown living and long-term homeworking.

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

At Garrington, we’ve helped many of them with their search, with more space, somewhere comfortable to work and a better standard of life coming top of many buyers’ wishlists.

Where most of us once chose a home based on its proximity to our place of work, the ability to work from home has now given millions of us a freer hand with where we live.

More home for your money

People’s new priorities have redrawn the property map and created scores of new hotspots where the living is good, and where better value means you can get more home for your money.

With the UK starting 2021 under a strict lockdown, many of us might never go back to a daily commute.

So if this is the year you finally cut the cord on travelling into the office, where should you live?

To help you choose, Garrington’s property experts have crunched the numbers on nearly 1400 cities, towns and villages across England and Wales. – ranking each one to create the definitive league table of post-Covid property hotspots.

Given that you may be working from home for much, or even all of the time, brilliant broadband is a must.

That’s why our ranking only lists places where the overwhelming majority (95%) of homes have access to superfast broadband.

More home for your money
Canterbury, Kent

But what makes the difference between a good and a great place to live?

Once you’ve got the space and broadband speed you need, we think three factors matter most.

Here’s how we scored them for our league table:

  • Natural beauty: Each location was scored for its proximity to open water, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Architectural beauty: Marks were awarded for the number of listed and period homes, as well as modern ultra-energy-efficient homes
  • Quality of life: Each area was ranked for its air quality, crime figures and how many farm shops there are within a three-mile radius
Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Our league table gives each location a ranking in each of these three categories, as well an overall ranking.

It couldn’t be easier to use, whether you’re looking for a fresh start or are just curious to know how your hometown scored in our ranking.

Remember only places where 95% of homes have access to superfast broadband made the cut, so if you can’t see the exact place you’re searching for, try somewhere nearby.

To get started, type the first three letters of the place you’re looking for into the interactive box below:

Where are the very best places to live in 2021?

great place to live uk
Bath, Somerset

The overall winner, Bath in Somerset, scored highly across the board.

Its famous Georgian grandeur – which once inspired Jane Austen and now attracts a constant stream of TV and film crews to the city – saw it crowned in the architectural category.

Bath’s proximity to rolling hills and manicured open spaces powered it to 40th place in the natural beauty category.

The top 15 results can be seen in the table below:

RankTown/cityCountyNatural beautyArchitectural beautyQuality of lifeFamily home cost*
3Bradford on AvonWiltshire1930251£520,000
6RyeEast Sussex168205£480,000
7St IvesCornwall4745202£600,000
8SettleNorth Yorkshire229847£340,000
9WiltonNorth Yorkshire675693£430,000
14LewesEast Sussex988634£700,000
15Lyme RegisDorset5771240£520,000

*Land Registry data, average price for a 1500ft2 family home during the 12 months to September 2020.

To see our full research report, please click on the report cover below:

National Market Review Winter 2021

A selection of some of the highest ranking best places to live

By looking beyond price, our ranking threw up a few surprises.

While top-ranked Bath has been a desirable destination since the Romans put it on the map nearly 2000 years ago – and has sky-high prices to match – other high-scoring places offer greater value.

Ilfracombe, Devon

For example, at £325,000, an average-sized family home in fourth-placed Ilfracombe costs just half what it would in Bath.

The seaside town in North Devon, which is a hub for foodies, boasts fine sandy beaches and a 20m high Damien Hirst sculpture and is the cheapest of the top 15 locations.  

Ilfracombe, Devon

Rye, East Sussex

Nestled between the green rolling hills of the South Downs and the English Channel, the East Sussex town of Rye clinched the top spot in the natural beauty category.

Its medieval cobbled streets are packed with half-timbered houses, cosy cafes and ancient inns, and the town’s winning combination of beach walks and architectural splendour propelled it to sixth place overall in our ranking.

At £480,000 for an average-sized family home, Rye’s property prices place it in the mid-budget category of our ranking.

Rye Sussex
Rye, East Sussex

Langport, Somerset

Those on a tighter budget might want to consider the ancient market town of Langport in Somerset, where family homes typically cost £100,000 less, at an average of £380,000.

Set amid the striking open moorland of the Somerset Levels, 12th placed Langport prides itself on being one of England’s smallest towns – and its narrow streets bristle with almost as much history as nearby Glastonbury.

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

There’s a festival connection too at 13th placed Hay-on-Wye.

For over three decades, the picturesque Welsh town has hosted an annual literary festival that Bill Clinton once described as “the Woodstock of the mind”.

While the festival and Hay’s abundance of bookshops have earned it worldwide fame as the “Town of Books”, its stunning location amid lakes, forests and the nearby Black Mountains makes it a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and earned it the 10th highest score in the natural beauty category of our ranking.

Finding the best places to live

If you feel you’d benefit from the guidance and expertise that can be offered by a professional buying agent please do get in touch for a no obligation discussion about your plans to move and the services we offer.

Tell Garrington about your search for a new home.