Wiltshire village named among best places to live in Sunday Times list

A WILTSHIRE village has been named on a list of best places to live in the south west.

Tisbury, famed for nearby Wardour Castle and quaint village streets, has been named in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.

Judges said Tisbury was “well-heeled and well connected”, offering “country living at its most aspirational”.

However, Dorset town Sherborne came out top of the list, being called “handsome and historic”.

“There are more than 200 community groups covering every conceivable interest, while the opening of Sherborne House as a high-end arts and community centre later this spring will add extra cachet to a town that already has a perceptible spring in its step,” judges added.

Six other south west town made the list for the guide which, for the first time, did not feature Bristol.

Published by The Sunday Times, the guide includes 72 locations across the UK and is released today (March 15).

The south west list is:
• Sherborne, Dorset
• Cirencester, Gloucestershire
• Clevedon, Somerset
• Dartmouth, Devon
• Exmouth, Devon
• Falmouth, Cornwall
• Isle of Purbeck, Dorset
• Tisbury, Wiltshire

Cirencester in Gloucestershire makes the list of best places to live

Cirencester in Gloucestershire makes the list of best places to live

Helen Davies, editorial projects director and Best Places to Live editor, said: “This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2024, from Dunkeld to Knutsford, Falmouth to Leeds. Wherever you are on the property ladder, there will be somewhere to suit you.

“These are all places where you can feel grounded as well as upwardly mobile: they have a mature sense of community, lively, supportive high streets and an eye to the future, whether that is eco-friendly measures, transport and regeneration, or imaginative inclusion of new housing.”

The Sunday Times’ judges visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.

The overall winner, named best place to live in the UK, was North Berwick, in East Lothian.

READ MORE: Best places to live in Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset revealed

“What makes our guide unique is that we actually visit all the places we choose and talk to locals to find out what life is really like there,” Helen went on.

“That means we can see what people really love about the places they live. That might be fast commutes and high-achieving schools but also clean water to swim in, lively town centres with useful shops, the possibility of earning a living and being part of a friendly community.

“We do consider affordability, though high house prices are no barrier to inclusion – as long as they provide value for money.

“Different people may be looking for different things, but what all our best places have in common is that people love living in them and are proud to call them home.”

North Berwick in Scotland was named the UK's best place to live

North Berwick in Scotland was named the UK’s best place to live

The guide has again been sponsored by the mortgage lender Halifax, which has provided an average house price for each location.

“Where you want to live is a very personal decision,” said Kim Kinnaird, Halifax’s homes and protection director. “We know it can be daunting whether it’s deciding where to buy your first home or making a move as your circumstances change.

“There can be lots to think about around what is right for you and your family.

“With a great range of locations suited for different budgets and family situations, alongside a great mix of both rural and urban locations, this is a great place to start.”

Previous winners of the Best Places to Live in Britain title are: Stamford, Lincolnshire (2013); Skipton, North Yorkshire (2014); Newnham, Cambridge (2015); Winchester, Hampshire (2016); Bristol (2017), York (2018), Salisbury, Wiltshire (2019), Altrincham, Cheshire (2020) Stroud, Gloucestershire (2021), Ilkley, West Yorkshire (2022) and Wadhurst, East Sussex (2023).

What the judges said about the south west towns:

Winner: Sherborne, Dorset: A busy high street and high-class education help to make this community-centred, cultured town our best address in the southwest. Sherborne is handsome and historic, but it’s the friendly, energetic population that really makes it stand out. There are more than 200 community groups covering every conceivable interest, while the opening of Sherborne House as a high-end arts and community centre later this spring will add extra cachet to a town that already has a perceptible spring in its step.

Sherborne has been named the best place to live in the south west

Sherborne has been named the best place to live in the south west

Cirencester, Gloucestershire: If you want an authentic Cotswold life, one that offers markets, shops, parks, cafés and a smattering of culture, Cirencester should top your list. This ancient market town offers modern comforts and a stellar community spirit. The volunteers who run the heated open-air swimming pool were recognised last year with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service. It’s a hive of sporting activity and Cirencester Park is one the loveliest places to walk the dog, or ride a horse.

Clevedon, Somerset: Bristol’s seaside neighbour is attracting growing numbers of refugees from the city’s gruelling transport network and pitiless property market. It may not have the same grit or urban edge but it does have tree-lined avenues of smart Victorian villas, an elegant pier and, in Clevedon Marine Lake, a seawater infinity pool with a claim to being the largest in the world – an unbeatable asset for outdoor swimmers.

Clevedon Pier in Somerset

Clevedon Pier in Somerset

Dartmouth, Devon: Unlike some of its South Hams neighbours, this atmospheric nautical town is no one-season holiday wonder. There are sparkling views of the water at every turn and nearly 3,000 moorings for sailors, as well as food and music festivals, allotments and sports clubs. The Flavel Arts Centre, run by volunteers, is a highlight. This busy community hub shows films, plays and concerts and offers a supportive home for choirs and youth groups.

Exmouth, Devon: No longer a last resort for OAPs, Exmouth is filling up fast with a younger crowd, attracted by trains to Exeter, east Devon’s only naturally sandy beach and homes to suit every rung of the property ladder. Key to the town’s improvement is Sideshore, a sustainable watersports complex on the prom that opened during the pandemic and is an object lesson in how to revitalise seaside resorts with style.

Falmouth, Cornwall: Cornwall’s liveliest town offers something for people of every age. Gyllyngvase Beach is probably the best town beach in the country, culture is provided by the Poly and the Cornish Bank, the coffee scene is one of the best in the country and there’s an ever-improving choice of excellent places to eat and drink.

Corfe Castle, in the Isle of Purbeck

Corfe Castle, in the Isle of Purbeck

Isle of Purbeck, Dorset: This is the place to live a country life by the sea. There’s countryside here for everyone, with cliffs, moorland, meadows and marshes. Swanage, the largest town, is a seaside resort that’s traditional yet lively, with its high street of independent shops and a calendar packed with festivals.

Tisbury, Wiltshire: Well heeled and well connected, Tisbury and its neighbouring villages offer country living at its most aspirational. A station and upmarket high street cover the practicalities and there are festivals, a choice of great places to eat and world-class exhibitions at the lovely Messums West arts centre.

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