Just one quick thing before I begin: the best place to live is objectively London. But it appears The Sunday Times have other ideas after considering things like house prices (bore off), so we had no chance.
Anyway! They chose a winner, and that winner is Wadhurst in East Sussex, which, we’ll admit, does look fairly nice. Plus, it’s only an hour from London Bridge.
Sitting within The High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wadhurst is a charming market town boasting convenient links into London, a decent high street, good schools and some seriously stunning scenery.
How did The Sunday Times decide?
The Sunday Times took all sorts of things into account when deciding where in the country would reign for 2023, including what they found to be most important of all: a thriving high street that has everything you could ever need (within reason). They also looked into house prices, transport links, Ofsted reports, and wifi speeds.
Of course, while numbers can say a lot, they can’t speak for actual quality of life—so The Sunday Times sent a team of judges to towns, villages and cities all over the country. While they were there they snooped about looking for evidence of community spirit and gorgeous open spaces, and generally chatted to the people who live there in order to get the low down.
What is so great about Wadhurst then?
Ultimately, Wadhurst took the crown, with upwards of 70 other spots making the longlist. The judges discovered the real heroes who live there, including The Wadhurst Warriors: a group of dads who fundraise for the town, organising everything from the town’s Christmas decorations—which have previously included a donated tree decorated with hundreds of children’s wishes—to the upcoming celebrations for the King’s coronation.
There is plenty to do in the town too, from monthly farmers’ markets to amateur dramatics groups – and, of course, there are some great local walks (and cycling routes if you’re two-wheel inclined). Bewl Water is right there, for example: a vast reservoir surrounded by 800 acres of parkland. There’s also Bedgebury Forest and Snape Wood, perfect for kids and dogs alike.
There’s all the usual stuff you might need, such as dentists, butchers, florists and dog groomers, as well as some lovely independent businesses. The Artful Grocers, for example, is both a grocery store and refill shop, as well as a café and children’s area. La Petite France is also worth a shout out for its regular raclette and wine nights, and the White Hart for its gloriously good value Sunday roasts.
It’s supposedly a great spot for that elusive work-life balance—what with it being just an hour from London via train (there are trains to London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Cannon Street taking from 52 minutes), and less than 45 minutes from the seaside. The gorgeous coastal village of Rye is just a 40 minute drive away.
All in all, I guess we can see the appeal. But we’ll be staying put, thanks. (Or perhaps we’ll move to Crouch End, the Best Place to Live in London for 2023.)
Also published on Medium.