Scotland’s Orkney Islands the best rural area to live

Ryan Bembridge

April 3, 2017

The Orkney Islands in Scotland is the best rural place to live in Great Britain, Halifax has concluded.

Employment and average earnings are high while crime rates and anxiety levels are low, though homes in the Ockneys are some of the smallest in Britain with 4.5 rooms per property (pictured is Stromness, the second most populated town in the Orkneys).

For those who don’t like the idea of living on a small island Worcestershire’s Wychavon has the second best quality of life as well as some of the biggest houses, with 6.1 habitable rooms per house.

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It also scored well life expectancy, health, and earnings and while 92% of homes have superfast broadband.

Of the top 50 areas represented in Halifax’s 2017 Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey 11 are in the South East, nine in the South West with eight each in the East of England and East Midlands.

Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, said: “With one of the lowest population densities and traffic levels in Scotland, some of the most stunning scenery in the British Isles and the lowest levels of anxiety and highest life satisfaction ratings, the Orkneys offer a quality of life unmatched elsewhere in rural Britain.

“While the employment rate is significantly higher than the national average, there is more and more emphasis being placed on achieving a good work-life balance. The 2017 Rural Quality of Life Survey includes a leisure category for the first time.

“This shows that residents in the Orkneys have a good choice of pubs from which to choose.

“Rural areas in the South tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy, while in the rural north areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and both lower traffic flows and population densities.”

The UK’s largest homes are found in Uttlesford in Essex, Chiltern and Rutland, which all have an average of 6.4 habitable rooms.

Harborough in Leicestershire is one of the best for internet access in (99%), closely followed by Test Valley and Arun (98%), and Tendring (97%).

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