Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2022: best cities, towns and villages to live in the UK according to new list

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These are the best 70 places to live across the UK, including Ilkley, Crystal Palace, Llandeilo, Ballycastle and the Isle of Bute

The 2022 edition of the eagerly anticipated  Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide has been released - and a West Yorkshire spa town has been given the coveted top spot.

Ilkley in West Yorkshire has topped a list of 70 locations which represent the best of the UK in what is the 10th Best Places to Live Guide from the newspaper.

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So, why was Ilkley ranked the best, what are the other places on the list, and how was the list compiled?

This is what you need to know.

Why was Ilkley ranked the best place to live in the UK?

Ilkley in West Yorkshire has won the top spot in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2022, because of its top schools, interesting shops, picturesque scenery and convenient rail links.

The judges were impressed by the town’s sports clubs and the opportunities they offer for young people.

They also praised the energetic community spirit and noted that volunteering is a big part of life there, and said that the town’s “lovely” cinema and “thriving” market were all launched by locals.

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Guide editor Tim Palmer said Ilkley has everything you need, including “top-class schools, a buzzing high street and breathtaking views.”

Which other locations are included on the list?

Another area in West Yorkshire, the village of Slaithwaite has also been named the best place to live in the North and Northeast of England as part of the guide.

Crystal Palace was chosen as the best place to live in London in the guide, and in Wales Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire took the top spot.

Meanwhile, Ballycastle in Co Antrim took the prize in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Bute in Argyll claimed the coveted first place in Scotland.

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What is the full list of winners?

The full 70 locations listed on the Sunday Times Best Places to Live are below.

Apart from the regional winners highlighted, the other locations are not ranked and are listed in alphabetical order.

North and Northeast

  • Winner: Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire 
  • Cawthorne, South Yorkshire  
  • Great Ayton, Cleveland Hills, North Yorkshire 
  • Harrogate, North Yorkshire 
  • Hovingham, North Yorkshire  
  • Ilkley, West Yorkshire 
  • Leeds city centre 
  • Morpeth, Northumberland 
  • Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear 

East of England

  • Winner: Norwich
  • Boxford, Suffolk
  • Great Massingham, Norfolk
  • Leigh-on-sea, Essex
  • St Ives, Cambridgeshire
  • Saffron Waldon, Essex
  • Woodbright, Suffolk


  • Winner: Crystal Palace
  • Hanwell
  • King’s Cross
  • New Malden
  • Teddington
  • Victoria Park


  • Winner: Uppingham, Rutland
  • Birmingham
  • Ellesmere, Shropshire
  • Hathersage, Derbyshire
  • Lincoln Cliff Villages, Lincolnshire
  • Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
  • Shipston-on-stour, Warwickshire

Northern Ireland

  • Winner: Ballycastle, Co Antrim
  • Londonderry
  • Helen’s Bay, Co Down


  • Trawden, Lancashire
  • Altricham, Great Manchester
  • Chrisleton, Cheshire
  • Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria
  • Prestwich, Great Manchester
  • West Kirby, Merseyside


  • Winner: Isle of Bute, Argyll
  • Braemar, Aberdeenshire
  • Culross, Fife
  • Dunblane, Stirling
  • Shawlands, Glasgow
  • Melrose, Borders
  • North Berwick, East Lothian


  • Winner: Sevenoaks, Kent
  • Brighton
  • Cookham, Berkshire
  • Deal, Kent
  • Englefield Green, Surrey
  • Farnham, Surrey
  • Olney, Buckinghamshire
  • Reading, Berkshire
  • St Albans, Hertfordshire
  • Test Valley, Hampshire


  • Winner: Chalke Valley, Wiltshire
  • Bridport, Dorset
  • Bristol
  • Budleigh Salterton, Dorset
  • Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire
  • Dartmoor, Devon
  • Sherborne, Dorset
  • Stroud, Gloucestershire
  • Wellow, Somerset


  • Winner: Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire
  • Conwy, Gwynedd
  • Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Ruthin, Denbighshire
  • St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
  • Usk, Monmouthshire

Which locations missed out on a place on the list?

Soaring house prices saw a number of locations which have featured on previous guides left on the list this year.

Edinburgh missed out on a place on the list because of its overheated housing market, which judges said was caused, in part, by a surfeit of short-term holiday lets.

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There was no place either for former overall winners York and Cambridge, as judges said house prices are now so high in these areas that other locations offer better value for money.

The judges also decided not to include Cornwall due to problems caused in the county’s housing market by incomers buying second homes.

Who are the judges?

The judging panel is made up of people who are contributors and writers with local expertise, and also three members of the Sunday Times editorial team.

The judges from the Sunday Times editorial team are Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times home section and best places to live,  and Tim Palmer and Jayne Dowle, both best places to live judges and writers.

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