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Skipton tops the list as the happiest town

As all proud Yorkshiremen will be happy to tell you, they live in God’s own county.

And so it will come as no surprise to them that the land around the beautiful market town of Skipton has been named Britain’s happiest place to live.

The rolling hills, a 900-year-old castle, cobbled streets, and a popular canal make it a tourist attraction as well as a local commercial hub.

The beautiful market town of Skipton, North Yorkshire, has been named Britain’s happiest place to live

And the area boasts a range of independent shops on its high street, good schools, and the picturesque Yorkshire Dales nearby.

People around the North Yorkshire town rated their level of happiness as 8.3 out of ten – well above the national average of 7.5 in an Office for National Statistics survey. And they rated life satisfaction as 8.5, compared with a UK average of 7.7.

The survey specifically named Craven – the district centred on Skipton – as the happiest place to live, and the area also had the lowest levels of anxiety. Craven’s average anxiety rating was 2.1 out of ten, compared with a national average of 2.9.

The happiness surveys involve a series of questions added to the ONS Annual Population Survey since 2010, a large-scale poll which consults 320,000 people.


1. Skipton, North Yorkshire

2. Orkney Islands

3. Mid Suffolk

4. Suffolk Coastal

5. Oadby and Wigston, Leicestershire

6. Richmondshire, North Yorkshire

7. North Warwickshire

8. Woking, Surrey

9. Western Isles

10. Eden, Cumbria

Those taking part are asked to say on a scale of one to ten how happy they were yesterday, how satisfied they were with their life, how much they felt their life was worthwhile, and how anxious they felt.

When asked if their lives were worthwhile, residents of Islington in north London and Cheltenham in Gloucestershire reported the lowest rating – both scoring 7.4 out of ten, while North Warwickshire came out on top with 8.7 against a UK average of 7.9.

Although the UK generally reported higher levels of happiness, there were signs that some suburbs were less cheerful.

The area around Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, reported a below-average rating of 6.9 out of ten.

Broadly, the West Country and the Home Counties were among the happiest areas of the country, while parts of South Wales and the North East were among the least happy.

The Western Isles was voted the ninth happiest place to live in Britain (pictured here, the Isle of Lewis) 

The Western Isles was voted the ninth happiest place to live in Britain (pictured here, the Isle of Lewis) 

ONS spokesman Matthew Steel said: ‘The figures may surprise some, showing a small increase in both happiness and life satisfaction during a period that has seen political change and uncertainty.

‘It is worth noting employment rates rose during the period covered by this report, and other ONS analysis showed people perceiving an improvement in their own financial situations and in the overall economy. These are factors we believe may account for [an] increased sense of personal wellbeing.’

The report added: ‘Employment or job satisfaction, our health, the quality of our relationships and our personal financial security are just some of the aspects of our lives shown to have an effect. Over time, changes and differences between areas could be related to these factors.’


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