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The best places for families to live

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St Bees in Cumbria has come out top in new research into the best location to bring up a family.


St Bees in Cumbria is the best place to bring up a family in England and Wales, according to the latest Family Hotspots research from Family Investments.

The annual report analyses all 2,400 postcodes in England and Wales using 71 different factors to determine the best locations for families. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t included in the study as they do not collect or report data in the same way.

The key areas considered include education, safety, property, population, amenities and childcare with information gathered on things like Key Stage Two and Key Stage Four results, property affordability, availability of green spaces, quality of childcare, local crime figures, and average salary.

Why St Bees is best for families

St Bees is a newcomer to the top 20, but has taken pole position thanks to its low crime rates, affordable house prices and its exceptional exam results.

The area, which has the postcode CA27, is a tiny coastal village 50 miles south of the Scottish border with a population of just 1,800.

It’s been a popular holiday destination for over 150 years and according to the report has a thriving community spirit. Unique local traditions include the annual Pram Race and the Tractor Trundle.

The area is known for its Norman Priory dating from 1200 and its 430-year old St Bees Independent Boarding School, which counts Rowan Atkinson as a former pupil.

Other towns in Cumbria that made the top 20 include Moor Row (6th) and Dalton-in-Furness (12th).

The top 20 places for families to live

Below are the top 20 family friendly hotspots for England and Wales according to the findings of the Family Investments research.

Four key categories are summarised here, but in total 71 were used to compile the results. The overall score is out of a maximum of 30.

Rank

Place

Postcode

% achieve Key Stage 4 Maths & English A*- C

Crime per capita

Average price for two-bedroom property

Median annual salary

Overall score*

1

St Bees, Cumbria

CA27

78.0%

0.11

£138,930

£27,243

23.36

2

Wokingham, Berkshire

RG41

69.5%

0.08

£254,375

£28,647

22.90

3

Faringdon, Oxfordshire

SN7

73.0%

0.10

£188,309

£24,794

22.34

4

Lower Earley, Berkshire

RG6

82.0%

0.11

£225,825

£28,647

22.19

5

Swanland, East Yorkshire

HU14

80.0%

0.07

£167,413

£20,727

22.00

6

Moor Row, Cumbria

CA24

-

0.17

£79,014

£27,243

21.82

7

Sandbach, Cheshire

CW11

69.5%

0.17

£139,245

£21,944

21.68

8

Longridge, Lancashire

PR3

63.5%

0.13

£165,671

£19,146

21.56

9

Hixon, Staffordshire

ST18

80.5%

0.05

£175,273

£22,480

21.48

10

Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

CW4

73.0%

0.10

£191,226

£21,944

21.40

11

Wooler, Northumberland

NE71

-

0.12

£110,052

£19,640

21.27

12

Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria

LA15

61.0%

0.22

£92,952

£21,351

21.14

13

Church Crookham, Hampshire

GU52

87.0%

0.10

£254,039

£28,361

21.13

14

Crowthorne, Berkshire

RG45

86.5%

0.08

£240,452

£26,775

21.08

15

Sandhurst, Berkshire

GU47

68%

0.10

£219,595

£26,775

21.03

16

Settle, North Yorkshire

BD24

68.5%

0.14

£163,601

£17,202

21.03

17

Cheadle, Staffordshire

ST10

74.5%

0.10

£125,329

£21,247

21.03

18

Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire

HP18

58.0%

0.08

£278,375

£22,885

21.02

19

Clitheroe, Lancashire

BB7

74.7%

0.21

£140,710

£22,417

20.92

20

Woodley, Berkshire

RG5

45.3%

0.10

£227,640

£28,647

20.82

Source: Family Investments research

*Overall scores are shown to two decimal places, which is why some postcodes appear equal on this measure.

N.B. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t included as they do not collect or report data in the same way.

Other ideal locations

The second best place for families to live was Wokingham in Berkshire.

The market town, which came sixth last year, has improved its position thanks to higher than average Key Stage Two and Key Stage Four results, as well as higher than average salary levels.

But rising house prices kept it off the top spot - an average two-bedroom property now costs £254,000, making the area the second most expensive in the top 20 after Long Crendon in Buckinghamshire, where prices average £278,000.

Two other Berkshire locations feature within the top 20 Family Hotspots - Crowthorne in 14th and Woodley in 20th.

Half of the top 20 areas were located in the North of England, a 15% rise compared to last year, which the report attributes to rising house prices in the South at a time of low increases in average salaries.

Swanland in East Yorkshire was the second highest ranking northern area after St Bees in Cumbria, with 80% of local children achieving A*-C grades at GCSE and nearly 43% of childcare ranked outstanding by Ofsted.

Plymouth was found to be the best city for families, Bexley (DA5) was the top area in Greater London and Swanland in Hull (HU14) was the top commuter location.

Find out about your area

If you’re looking to move to a new area and raise a family, this research could help you make up your mind on where to settle down.

If the area you have in mind didn’t make the top 20 you can still check how it stacks up using the Family Friendly Hotspots online tool.

Do you agree with the results of the research? Where is the best place to live in the UK based on your experiences?

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