St Bees, a coastal village in Cumbria, has been named as the best place for families due to low crime rates, excellent school education and affordable housing.
The number of top 20 places in the Midlands and North of England has risen by 15% due to rising house prices in the South at a time of low increases in average salaries, according to the annual family hotspots report from finance firm Family Investment.
The annual report, which was first launched in 2012, analyses postcode data across 71 different data sets from education, safety and childcare costs to local amenities, affordable property and green spaces to reveal the top locations for families.
Located 50 miles from the Scottish border and with a population of just 1,800, St Bees in Cumbria earns the 2014 top spot. A newcomer to the report, it owes its success to a low crime rate and a lower than average house price of just £139,000.
In second place is the market town of Wokingham in Berkshire, 33 miles west of London which was the top location last year but has gone down the rankings due to increasing house prices. An average two bedroom property now costs £254,000.
Faringdon in Oxfordshire is third due to its excellent schools. The town, which is located in the Vale of the White Horse, also holds the accolade of being the first Fairtrade Town in the South East of England.
‘The rural village of St Bees is well deserving of its title as the best place in the UK for families. It has a heritage that stretches back over 1,000 years, the schools achieve excellent results and locals tell us that it has a small but very close-knit community making it a great location for families,’ said Steve Ferrari, head of customer insights at Family Investments.
‘Deciding where to live is one of the most important financial and lifestyle choices families will make in their lifetimes. Our report is designed to help people navigate this decision by showing them how areas of England and Wales score on some of the major factors that play a part in everyday family life whether that’s the quality of local schools or the area’s crime rates,’ he added.
Four locations within the top 20 are positioned along the M6 corridor between Birmingham and Manchester, making them convenient for commuters to those cities: Sandbach in Cheshire, Hixon in Staffordshire, Holmes Chapel in Cheshire and Cheadle in Staffordshire.
No London location makes it into the charts for 2014, largely due to the cost of property in the capital. However, the top three locations in Greater London are Bexley, Banstead and Epsom with no inner London locations made it onto the list.