The ten best places to live in England and Wales

Aug 20, 2014

Data on pay, crime, health, home ownership and employment used to assess the country's top areas

David Cannon/Getty Images

Test Valley in Hampshire has been named the best place to live in England and Wales in a new index compiled by the Daily Telegraph.

Official data on average weekly incomes, crime rates, health, home ownership and economic activity was used to rank 7,137 areas.

The winner, Test Valley, includes "such quintessentially English-sounding places as Nether Wallop, Whitchurch and Michelmersh", says the Telegraph.

"The River Test, a chalk stream beloved of fly-fishing enthusiasts, meanders through ancient woodland and contains water so pure that it is used to wash the paper that makes the notes for the Bank of England," says the newspaper. "Coming ahead of 7,136 other places in the country cannot have come as a great surprise to those fortunate enough to live along its banks."

The UKCrimeStats website was used to work out the average number of crime and anti-social behaviour incidents per person, while the 2011 census showed the percentage of people in each area with a mortgage or outright ownership of a home, as well as the percentage of people who described their general health as "very good".

The index also took into account the percentage of people aged 16 to 74 who were working or looking for work and estimates of average weekly household net income.

Here are the top ten:

Test Valley, Hampshire

Wokingham, Berkshire*


East Hertfordshire


Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire

Solihull, West Midlands

St Albans, Hertfordshire

Basingstoke and Deane, Hampshire

Reading, Berkshire 

*Wokingham was broken down into several areas, three of which made it into the Telegraph's top ten. Here it is referred to just once.

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