Complete 2023 Guide.

Best Areas To Live
In England

11 Best Areas To Live In England (2023)

Key Takeaways:

  • This page will show you the 11 best areas to live in England in 2023.
  • You’ll learn about living in each location, with information on things to do, the quality of schools, and more.
  • We’ll also explain our complete methodology for curating this list of the best areas to live in England.

From the cliffs of Dover to Hadrian’s Wall, we’ve scoured the country to determine the 11 best areas to live in England in 2023.

Specifically, we analysed community spirit, quality of schools, things to do, broadband speed, and transport links to determine the best area to live in England for families and professionals.

While our list is entirely subjective, we’ve done our best to capture the essence of an area so you can decide if a location is right for you.

So, let’s get into it:

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Stamford, Lincolnshire

Our winner for the best place to live in the UK in 2023, it’s no surprise that Stamford is also our choice for the best area to live in England.

As British as fish and chips, Stamford is a reminder of a bygone era when streets were cobbled and churches towered on green hills.

History and architectural beauty are unmissable here, with every street corner lined with gothic churches and delightful Tudor pubs.

But despite appearances, Stamford is remarkably modern, with vast broadband coverage and several schools ranked outstanding by Ofsted.

It even has a palpable community spirit that’s become so important for homebuyers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is likely best shown by the Support Our Stamford group, a fantastic community effort that’s helped hundreds of residents over 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For these reasons, Stamford in Lincolnshire is our overall winner as the best area to live in England for families.

Knutsford, Cheshire 

Located in Cheshire’s renowned golden triangle, Knutsford provides an ideal combo of comfort and convenience neatly wrapped in an affluent package.

Boasting two bougie high streets – known as Top Street and Bottom Street – and a busy social calendar that features community-run beer and music festivals, the market town always has something exciting for its residents.

That’s not to mention the jaw-dropping surrounding countryside, with wildlife reserves and historic gardens just waiting to be explored.

Better yet:

Knutsford is ideally located near Manchester if you need a big-city day out, with a direct tram line taking residents to Altrincham within 15 minutes.

Aside from this, the town has six schools rated good by Ofsted, with excellent broadband a welcome treat for remote workers.

With all this on offer, is it any wonder that K

Altrincham, Greater Manchester 

Just 15 minutes away from Knutsford, Altrincham is third on our list of England’s best areas to live.

Most people are familiar with affluent Alty for its monthly market, and for a good reason.

A hive of local produce, food stalls, and arts and crafts, Altrincham’s market has helped transform the once-sleepy suburb into a bustling Greater Manchester haven.

And yet, Alty is so much more than just a market town.

With three of the North West’s top 5 schools found here and several enchanting green spaces (like the deer park of Dunham Massey), the area provides the desired suburban bliss that so many families are searching for in 2023.

But what sets Altrincham most apart is its ideal location in Manchester.

Tram links provide direct access to popular spots like Deansgate in just 25 minutes, giving residents the best of both worlds; a quiet retreat with inner-city buzz just half an hour away.

If you’re looking for an affluent retreat in the North West, Altrincham is our pick for the best area to live in North West England.

Altrincham, Greater Manchester 

Just 15 minutes away from Knutsford, Altrincham is third on our list of England’s best areas to live.

Most people are familiar with affluent Alty for its monthly market, and for a good reason.

A hive of local produce, food stalls, and arts and crafts, Altrincham’s market has helped transform the once-sleepy suburb into a bustling Greater Manchester haven.

And yet, Alty is so much more than just a market town.

With three of the North West’s top 5 schools found here and several enchanting green spaces (like the deer park of Dunham Massey), the area provides the desired suburban bliss that so many families are searching for in 2023.

But what sets Altrincham most apart is its ideal location in Manchester.

Tram links provide direct access to popular spots like Deansgate in just 25 minutes, giving residents the best of both worlds; a quiet retreat with inner-city buzz just half an hour away.

If you’re looking for an affluent retreat in the North West, Altrincham is our pick for the best area to live in North West England.

Crystal Palace, London 

You may be surprised to see a London location on this list.

(Spoiler alert: It won’t be the last time either).

After all:

With quaint, quiet villages and eye-catching green spaces, you’d be forgiven for thinking a South London suburb seems out of place.

But you should re-think what you know about London. Crystal Palace offers a unique bohemian hotspot ranking amongst the best areas to live in England and the UK.

Although Crystal Palace has a lot in common with other London areas, including booming high streets and world-class transport links, the similarities end there.

Crystal Palace isn’t a typical London area. Filled with beautiful parks, top-class schools, and stunning period mansions, Crystal Palace has village-like goodness you’d never expect from the capital.

For this reason, Crystal Palace is our pick for the best area to live in London, England, in 2023.

Ilkley, West Yorkshire 

The perfect blend of beauty and convenience amid a green backdrop, the spa town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire ranks amongst the best places to live in England this year.

Offering locals spectacular views of the Yorkshire Dales, Ilkley is one of the best rural areas to live in England.

You’re unlikely to find more beautiful landscapes than here, showing off its scenery with stunning hiking trails, riverside gardens, and beautiful nature reserves.

But the little town – that’s home to over 14,000 residents – is so much more than eye-candy.

With five schools ranked outstanding by Ofsted, a strong community spirit, and a surprisingly busy high street, Ilkley offers all the home comforts you’ll need.

Although houses are on the pricier side at over £450k on average, you’ll be paying for one of England’s most esteemed locations.

It’ll come as no surprise, then, that Ilkley took the number one spot for the UK’s best place to live in 2023, according to the Sunday Times.

Norwich, Norfolk 

Norwich is next on our list of the best places to live in England in 2023.

Although a “small” city, Norwich has a long tapestry of rich history to rival any in the country.

From its Norman castle to its uniquely pointed gothic Cathedral, Norwich has welcomed incomers to its cobbled streets since the 15th century.

But Norwich remains firmly in the 21st century, with sleek modern architecture at the Sainsbury Centre and Goldsmith Street – the latter winning a Stirling prize.

However, while beauty is important, Norwich also has the substance and infrastructure behind its pretty exterior.

With a top 10 ranking UK school (the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form), great transport connections, and Britain’s best outdoor market, this UNESCO City of Literature is a page-turner for families in 2022.

Trawden, Lancashire 

A sense of community can be the lifeblood of any village, and this is especially true in Trawden.

Locals get things done here, with a 2000-strong population frequently battling the odds to rescue several local landmarks.

The hamlet saved its beloved community centre back in 2014 and has since raised a whopping £520,000 to rescue the village’s last pub.

As the Sunday Times said, “everything [in Trawden] is done for the locals, by the locals.”

Widely considered one of the best areas to live in North West England, the Lancashire village is well-positioned with some speedy transport links putting several nearby towns within a 10-minute drive.

(Likely a good thing, as the village has just one shop – the Trawden Forest Community Centre, Library & Shop).

Colne and the M65 are just 10 minutes up the road, with the likes of Burnley, Preston, and Central Manchester within an hour’s commute.

Although broadband speeds and schools aren’t a knock-out like other locations mentioned, Trawden remains one of England’s best places to live for community-minded residents.

Stroud, Gloucestershire 

A hit amongst young people thanks to its ethical and eco-conscience spirit, Stroud in Gloucestershire ranks eighth in our list of the best places to live in England.

The quiet Cotswolds town was the birthplace of the Extinction Rebellion and shows this strong sense of social justice for all to see.

Aside from its famous vegan pizzas and prolific Green Party voting, Stroud is the home of the world’s first vegan and carbon-neutral football club, the Forest Green Rovers.

Unfortunately, the town was hit hard by Covid, with several shop fronts, previously holding local chain stores and big brands, now left abandoned.

However, as the previous winner of the Sunday Times’ best place to live in 2021, Stroud is back on the up.

With a prolific farmer’s market, independent stores, and a popular shopping centre, the town shows that it still belongs on the list of the best places to live in England.

Bristol, South West

A previous winner of the prestigious Sunday Times accolade in 2017, Bristol still holds up as one of the best places to live in England in 2023.

The famed port city on the south coast is awash with character, with independent coffee shops and restaurants a familiar sight on its streets.

And like Stroud, Bristol also does its bit for the planet, named the UK’s most vegan-friendly city in 2021.

It even has its own rebellious edge, with a rich history of riots and dethroning’s – a point of pride for ‘Brizzle’s’ residents.

Two great universities, a burgeoning economy of tech and media jobs, and good schools make the area a treat for families and professionals alike.

The question is:

“Where should you live in Bristol in 2023?”

Excitingly, you’ve got plenty of choices, with Clifton, Redland, Cotham, Bishopston, and St Andrews all major communities awaiting newcomers.

Birmingham, West Midlands

We’ve covered small cities, quaint villages, community-led towns, and expansive coastal retreats.

So, now it’s time to talk about a BIG city – Birmingham.

Home of the Peaky Blinders, Birmingham is poised to see a surge in popularity in the coming years.

HS2 is set for arrival, while the Commonwealth Games will shine the light on the city in the summer.

But the true shining star of Birmingham is the glistening diamond of the Jewellery Quarter.

Undoubtedly Birmingham’s most attractive neighbourhood, the area is overflowing with hidden gems like restaurants, cafés, art galleries, and music events.

Other top areas can be found south of the city centre, with Stirchley, Bournville and King’s Heath ranking amongst the best for families.

But the UK’s second-largest city is also the ultimate destination for young people in 2023.

Over 40% of the local population is under 25, with world-class schools and five top universities helping to build Brum’s buzz.

As one of the UK’s best cities and featuring a booming property market at a surprisingly affordable price, Birmingham ranks highly amongst the best areas to live in England.

King’s Cross, London

For many, the magic of King’s Cross began in 1997, when Harry Potter started his journey aboard the Hogwarts Express.

But outside Platform 9¾, the area was anything but magical.

Run-down and underutilised, King’s Cross was mainly the crossing point for passersby heading to a bouncing event late at night.

However, fast-forward to 2023, the area is now unrecognisable as a contemporary, cool, and central neighbourhood in the heart of London.

The vibrant neighbourhood houses some massive commercial names like Google and Meta, attracting a population of high-paying young professionals.

Despite its central location, King’s Cross is no stranger to greenery, with stunning pocket parks and stretches of canals to explore on your morning run.

And with a booming local shopping scene, great local schools, and some seriously impressive transport links (it’s London, after all), it’s obvious that King’s Cross is one of the best areas to live in London AND England in 2023.

Download 2023 Best Areas To Live Guide

Honourable Mentions 

England is an incredible place to live, with major cities, small towns, and quaint villages providing fantastic opportunities in 2023.

But with SO many places to pick from, it’s impossible to include every great place on this list.

And since life is about opinions, we’ve decided to include some honourable mentions from the Sunday Times’ list.

Their annual (and prestigious) list of the best places to live in the UK is one of the best barometers of a location’s appeal.

And since their team of judges tour each area to speak with residents, they’ve got a unique insight into local life.

They’ve now released their 2023 list, discussing the best places to live in each region.

You can find their top picks for England below (you might notice some familiar faces):

  • Ilkley – The best place to live in the UK.
  • Norwich – The best place to live in the East of England.
  • Crystal Palace – The best place to live in London.
  • Uppingham – The best place to live in the Midlands.
  • Slaithwaite – The best place to live in North and North East England.
  • Trawden – The best place to live in North West England.
  • Sevenoaks – The best place to live in South East England.
  • Chalke Valley – The best place to live in South West England.

You can check out their full list of regional winners and the best places to live in England in 2023 by clicking the link.

Our Methodology: How We Chose the Best Areas to Live in England <h2>

With Covid-19 and its impact on UK life here to stay, our 2023 list has tried to capture the changing priorities of house hunters.

A desire for green space and community spirit has rapidly increased, with residents looking to recapture their link to the outside world post lockdown.

(However, this could change as we enter 2023, with a return to the city on the cards as many return to work).

Broadband’s importance is higher than ever, with many of the population still working from home taking Zoom meetings.

We also factored in things to do in an area, such as sports clubs or shops. A good location needs to keep your mind occupied, especially in rural areas.

And, as always, good quality schools are still an ever-present box to tick.

However, we haven’t placed a huge emphasis on affordability, which is widely considered one of the most important factors in a house move.

While this may seem questionable — especially since property prices have reached record highs in 2023 — we’ve had to omit affordability to capture the cream of the crop.

This is a list of the BEST places to live in England, after all – it’s hard to find coveted areas at a reasonable price point.

However, if you’re interested in how much each area will set you back, you’ll find the average house price for each of our winners in the table below:

City/Town/Village

Average House Price

Stamford

£376,912

Knutsford

£505,035

Altrincham

£519,649

Crystal Palace

£479,506

Illkley

£460,551

Norwich

£227,108

Trawden

£215,011

Stroud

£333,678

Bristol

£334,010

Birmingham

£217,659

King’s Cross

£743,327