The picturesque north London area boasts two art house cinemas, leafy walks, record shops and independent cafes, drawing in celebrities like Simon Pegg, James McAvoy and Katherine Ryan.
Judges hailed the area’s grand Victorian houses in the tube-station free enclave describing the “lively suburb” as maintaining a market town feel.
“It’s all about the green spaces and the independent shops in this lively north London suburb,” said Helen Davies, the editor of Best Places to Live 2023
“There’s a vibrant market-town feel to the streets that radiate out from the clock tower, where you’ll find dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants. The grand Victorian and Edwardian houses draw in plenty of celebrities, there are parks galore, two cinemas, sports clubs and a swimming pool.
“Best of all, there’s a friendliness here that’s often absent in the capital – people say hello to each other on the street.”
Nationally, Wadhurst in East Sussex fended off 71 other locations to be crowned the UK’s best place to live 2023 by The Sunday Times.
Judges said the small market town offers “pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature”.
A winner was also selected for each English region as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Sunday Times’s expert judges assessed a wide range of factors from schools, transport and broadband to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
These winners were:
Scotland – Dunkeld, PerthshireThe small town was praised by judges for combining “stunning” Highland scenery with “Scandi sophistication”.
Wales – Ruthin, DenbighshireJudges said it offered the “very best of small town living” with food and craft markets, pop-up restaurants, cafes and independent shops.
Northern Ireland – Donaghadee, Co DownThe town, which is where BBC daytime TV drama Hope Street is filmed, was praised for its clean seas, beautiful views and “lively community.”
East of England – Saffron Walden, EssexJudges said “youthful vigour” was being injected into the market town as young families move in and new bars, shops and restaurants open.
Midlands – Leamington Spa, WarwickshireThe tech hub has well-tended parks, good schools, excellent transport links and will get even more of a revamp when a Creative Quarter is launched.
North and North East England – Whitley Bay, Tyne and WearThe town was said to be “catching up fast” with its affluent neighbour Tynemouth after “years in the doldrums” – with cheaper houses and connections to Newcastle which are just as good.
North West England – LiverpoolJudges said there are “lots of reasons to be optimistic” about the city from Eurovision to its reputation for science and technology and grand projects such as the new Everton stadium and film studios. Waterloo was singled out for seaside while Toxteth was praised for its “cultural and community vibe.”
South East England – Chichester, West SussexWhile Wadhurst was crowned best place to live in the UK, Chichester – which has more Ukrainian refugees per head than any other UK city – was praised for its good schools and transport links and was still deemed worthy of inclusion separately.
South West England – Cirencester, GloucestershireThe heated outdoor swimming pool was marked out as a particular highlight of the capital of the Cotswolds.
– The full list can be found online at thetimes.co.uk/bestplacestolive.