Good neighbours can be a selling point for some properties, but what about the wider area? An engaged community can improve quality of life. From the person who stops to have a chat on the way to the local shops, to making friends with staff in nearby restaurants, friendly places can lift your mood and widen your social circle.
Here are Britain’s top 10 friendliest places to live.
1. Houghton, Cambridgeshire
This Cambridgeshire village is set around a charming square with a community shop, pubs, tea room and antiques shop. There is a National Trust working watermill dating back to the 18th century.
“Locals are always happy to suggest walks, give directions or recommend the best place for lunch,” says Richard Carpenter from Fine & Country St Neots. “The primary school is a community hub, where local parents chat about the endless social activities in the village, including ‘supper safaris’ where locals go from house to house, enjoying one course at each stop.
“The village cricket pitch comes to life at the weekends with players and spectators enjoying the friendly atmosphere. Houghton must be one of the friendliest places. Families that want to move always ask us to find them a new home in the village to keep them close to friends. Those moving into the area quickly become part of the village life and, like the locals, never want to move out the village.”
2. Monmouth, Monmouthshire
Monmouth is a Welsh border market town that is known as the birthplace of King Henry V.
“We have an amazing community spirit here in Monmouth,” says Katie Garn from Fine & Country Monmouth. “It’s the type of place where you can walk down the street and everyone says good morning. We look out for each other and care about our local town. We have numerous events throughout the year, including the Monmouth Show, an extremely popular event, and Monmouth Festival is one of the largest free festivals in the UK.
“We are entering Monmouth Raft Race this month, which is a fun charity event for a local cause. I believe we are privileged to live in a town which is so pretty and perfect.”
3. Keswick, Cumbria
Not only is this Lake District town known as a friendly residence for humans, it was named one of the most dog-friendly places by the Kennel Club in 2012.
Keswick has become a major centre for tourism in the north lakes. The locals are friendly to tourists, and are always eager to welcome those choosing to live permanently in the pretty market town. There are shops and restaurants, as well as museums and the opportunity to take a boat trip around Lake Derwentwater.
4. Falmouth, Cornwall
Locals are proud to call Falmouth their cosmopolitan home. Unlike some seaside towns, it thrives all year round. Locals note that people always stop to chat to friends and neighbours when they’re out, and nearly everyone is happy to talk.
Top places to enjoy include the harbour and numerous beaches in the area.
5. Stornoway, Scotland
People living in this town have a lot of reasons to be happy, with great employment rates and excellent work-life balance.
Vikings were the first to discover this remote island off the coast of Scotland. They called the natural harbour Steering Bay, which translated phonetically to become Stornoway. Now, around a third of the island’s residents live here, and they’re considerably friendlier than their sea-faring ancestors. From fishermen to the staff in local restaurants, everyone offers a warm welcome.
6. York, Yorkshire
York has been named the friendliest city in the UK, with 42 per cent of locals having a neighbour they could call for help if they lost a key, according to research by City University.
The schools are highly rated, with several options for ‘Outstanding’ schools, according to Ofsted. Locals love living there because of York’s multiple theatres, museums and great connections to Edinburgh and London. If culture doesn’t strike your fancy, never fear: the city is home to over 300 pubs.
Best known for its regatta, Henley has also become notable for the number and range of charity events it hosts. It is welcoming to all, with lots of options for dog-friendly restaurants and pubs. Henley is particularly pretty in the summer as all the flowers bloom, and the town regularly wins prizes in the Britain in Bloom competition.
It has been voted one of the best places to live by The Times, and there is no shortage of activities and events with festivals both on and off the water.
This naval city was named second in the country in a ‘Heart Warming Index’, which is judged on the number of people who get to know their neighbours and people in the community. Most of the people in Plymouth get to know each other as they cycle by. Plymouth is one of the most bicycle-friendly places in the country, one of the indicators of an active, flourishing community.
From its naval traditions to its penchant for the bicycle, it’s no wonder that Plymouth is one of the friendliest places in the UK.
Norwich was named the happiest city to work in a recent study by the Guardian. Why are employees so happy? Because they feel like they know their neighbours. Norwich is known for its friendly, outgoing residents, and it’s not uncommon to say hello to someone on the street or for your local barista to know your name.
England’s only UNESCO city of literature is affordable, picturesque, and boasts some truly spectacular English countryside.
In addition to being the home of Hovis Hill, the site of one of the most famous Hovis bread commercials, Shaftesbury is one of the friendliest towns in the UK. A rural community, 93 per cent of Shaftesbury residents feel like they live in an area where neighbours look out for one another.
Shaftesbury is full of gorgeous countryside, which gives the local community plenty of space for hiking and walking.
Are you interested in moving to one of Britain’s friendliest places to live? Get in touch with a Fine & Country agent and find your dream home.