The company’s “happy at home” index asked more than 21,000 people across Britain how they feel about a range of aspects of where they live.
Happiness was measured by friendliness and community spirit, whether people feel they can be themselves, nature and green spaces, local opportunities to develop skills, schools, restaurants, shops and sports facilities.
St Ives in Cornwall was crowned the winner in last year’s poll - here are the results from this year.
Here are the happiest places to live in Britain
The list is accompanied by the average asking price for a home and the average monthly asking rental price.
1. Hexham, North East: £297,088, £842
2. Richmond-upon-Thames, London: £1,196,892, £3,235
3. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber: £353,624, £1,163
4. Hove, South East: £525,906, £1,879
5. Llandrindod Wells, Wales: £193,601, £445
6. Stirling, Scotland: £191,226, £877
7. Monmouth, Wales: £312,649, £929
8. St Ives, South West: £494,393, £1,150
9. Anglesey, Wales: £278,391, £776
10. Leamington Spa, West Midlands: £350,981, £1,203
11. Perth, Scotland: £167,160, £679
12. Hitchin, East of England: £491,223, £1,392
13. Woodbridge, East of England: £427,542, £1,129
14. Kendal, North West: £258,961, £837
15. Macclesfield, North West: £277,772, £981
16. Exeter, South West: £303,215, £1,234
17. Salisbury, South West: £318,806, £1,090
18. Horsham, South East: £433,892, £1,433
19. St Albans, East of England: £632,320, £1,888
20. Guildford, South East: £542,947, £1,913
Why is Hexham the happiest place to live?
Houses in the market town of Hexham have lower asking prices than the average across Britain.
The average price for a house in Hexham is £297,088 whereas across Britain it is £342,410.
The price of houses in Hexham is a quarter of those in the London suburb of Richmond which came second place in this year’s poll - houses in this area are just shy of £1.2million.
Mayor of Hexham Derek Kennedy said: “We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings, and our market place is 800 years old.
“There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another.”
Mr Kennedy added the town has many local sporting events such as park runs, cricket, tennis, and has “Hadrian’s Wall on our doorstep.”
The local council has recently introduced free live music events and Mr Kennedy notes the “big ambitions to progress our sustainable development.”
“We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win this accolade is fantastic,” he said.
What are the other best towns to live in?
Harrogate in North Yorkshire took third place with its Victorian spa heritage, boutique shops and afternoon tea establishments.
The area “boasts a thriving high street with many international retail brands, a booming hospitality industry and excellent state and private schools,” Daryll Digpal, managing director at Beadnall Copley in Harrogate, said.
In Scotland the happiest place to live is Stirling, while in Wales the happiest place was identified as Llandrindod Wells.
The study found that people living in coastal towns were the happiest.
Around a third of the top 20 happiest towns are market towns, the study revealed.
What else did the UK poll find?
The study found that more than two-thirds of people relocated to a different area in the last year and 64% of these people feel happier where they now live.
8 in 10 of those who moved from a town to a village said they feel much happier.
The pandemic has been a factor in prompting people to move in order to better their lifestyles.
“It’s been an incredibly busy year in the housing market, with a lot of people deciding that now is the right time to move,” Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said.
The property website predicts 1.5 million house sales will have taken place in 2021.
Happiest places to live in England’s regions
- North East, Hexham
- London, Richmond-upon-Thames
- Yorkshire and the Humber, Harrogate
- South East, Hove
- South West, St Ives
- West Midlands, Leamington Spa
- East of England, Hitchin
- North West, Kendal
- East Midlands, Chesterfield
Here are Scotland’s top 10 happiest places to live
Here are the top 10 happiest places to live in Wales
1. Llandrindod Wells
9. City of Newport
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