Yorkshire’s five happiest towns and cities… and the unhappiest

Yorkshire-01

Property website Rightmove has revealed Yorkshire’s most happiest towns as part of its annual happy at Home Index.
The survey takes into account factors such as neighbourliness, a sense of belonging, community activities and access to nature and green spaces. Harrogate made the national top five, coming in at fourth in a list it topped between 2013 and 2015. This year’s winner was Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire.

1. Harrogate
National ranking: 4th
Harrogate has been on a roll in the annual Rightmove Happy at Home Index – it topped the charts from 2013 until 2015. This year, it still makes the top five, but has been edged out by rival spa town Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.
Excellent shopping, low crime rates, ample green space and top-performing schools, as well as an historic town centre – it’s no wonder Harrogate residents are smiling.
2. Skipton
National ranking: 14th
The district of Craven, which includes the market town of Skipton, recently topped an Office for National Statistics survey on wellbeing and satisfaction, and it’s appeared in the top 20 in Rightmove’s index too.
A wonderful castle, strong community spirit, state grammar schools, the Dales on the doorstep, good rail links to Leeds and Bradford, but cheaper house prices than other areas of the county.
3. Sheffield
National ranking: 27th
Sheffield makes the top 30. It’s one of the greenest cities in Europe, close to the Peak District National Park and full of public parks. Unlike its rival Leeds, it’s still got a beautifully-preserved botanical garden, above, and winter gardens too. Cheaper house prices than other major UK cities, a thriving university sector and a strong outdoors culture make Sheffield a happy place to call home.
4. York
National ranking: 49th
York just edges into the top 50. It may be a tourist trap, but residents are pretty happy here; it’s a safe city with excellent transport links to London, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Leeds, good schools and incredibly beautiful historic architecture which can never fail to make the spirits soar.
5. Wakefield
National ranking: 64th
Wakefield is on the up. It has cheaper property than neighbouring Leeds but offers an easy commute into the city, and in recent years has had something of a cultural re-awakening. The Hepworth Gallery is a gem, one of Yorkshire’s leading arts attractions, and a walk round the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is tonic for the soul.
Not quite so happy…
Huddersfield came 75th in the national rankings and Leeds was close behind in 77th. Halifax and Hull squeezed inside the top 100, at 92 and 93 respectively.
Not quite so happy are Barnsley (117th), Doncaster (130th) and Yorkshire’s most miserable town, Bradford (137th).