The Times has once again flexed their UK-borough-ranking muscles to bring to the general public their annual list of The Best Places To Live In The UK. And while our lovely capital didn’t quite make the cut for the number one spot, a number of London boroughs were singled out for praise. And they even crowned a winner for London – so if you live in one particular area you can pride yourself on living in the best place to live in London in 2023.
But this list isn’t intended to spark controversy or inter-borough feuds. Instead, it’s a celebration of what makes the UK so special. A celebration of our country’s towns, cities, and villages. But we’d still be bragging if we came out on top!
The best places in London
North London’s Crouch End, in Haringey, was the surprise winner for London. The Times gave the area top honours, citing “A creative edge and friendly neighbours[that] give this lofty northern enclave social capital in the capital”. But how much of a surprise is it really, when we think about it? Crouch End has made countless appearances across Secret London roundups of the best places to go, things to do, and food and drink to devour.
They’re in possession of one of the UK’s best cocktail bars (Little Mercies), one of our favourite coffee shops (Beam), and one of the best London lidos! They’ve also got great spaces for running, dog-walking, and even cherry blossom spotting. Regardless of what you’re after from somewhere to live – Crouch End has it!
The area also has a delightfully in-between feel of being both metropolitan and suburban at the same time. All the convenience of a city with everything London has to offer, and leafy, tree-lined streets of gorgeous terraced houses.
The Times also heaped praise on a few other London areas as being among the best places to live. Six other areas were singled out as being particularly great: Beckenham, Earlsfield, Hackney Borders (specifically “De Beauvoir Town and Haggerston, where N1 meets E8”), King’s Cross, Notting Hill, and Woolwich. It’s a delightful blend of well-known, touristy places (they’re touristy for a reason!), historic hubs, and bustling areas full of creativity, art, and great food and drinks.
The Best Places To Live 2023
Topping the list for the best places to live in the UK in 2023 is Wadhurst, East Sussex (which is just an hour out of London!). The Times described the south-eastern town thusly: “Rolling hills, glittering night skies and a thriving high street — the Sussex market town has it all”.
Rounding out the top five best places to live in 2023 were Chichester in West Sussex, Cirencester in Gloucestershire, London’s Crouch End, and Donaghadee in Co Down, Northern Ireland.
Are we bitter that a London borough didn’t top the list? Only maybe. But we made it into the top five at least! Not bad when you factor in how important house prices matter in the ranking – and we all know that London’s house prices are just a tiny bit excessive.
How they chose
To pick their best places to live, The Times’ ‘expert judges’ went all across the UK, visiting towns and chatting to the locals to make their decision. But they also made sure to check some important data: what the schools are like, and their inspection scores and dates; what transport is like – including links to London and other parts of the country, and green alternatives; the Wi-Fi speeds (an essential consideration!), and house prices in the area.
Additionally, The Times’ list particularly favoured places with thriving high streets, plenty of open spaces, and community spirit. What good is a gorgeous place, after all, if there isn’t also a supportive and friendly vibe?
See the full list of the Time’s Best Places To Live 2023 here.