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The UK’s Best Place to Live



A Surprising Result?

A quiet market town in East Sussex has been named the best place to live in the UK – which has come as a surprise to some of its residents.


Located just an hour’s train ride from London and close to Tunbridge Wells, is the historic village of Wadhurst. Once a town of great importance in the iron industry, the town has recently also gained recognition for topping The Sunday Times’ guide for best places in the UK to live.

A Wonderful Place To Live

Judges noted that, with less than 5,000 residents, the town “offers pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature”.

The Town’s Residents

Intrigued to find out more about what makes it such a wonderful place to reside, I visited the town to speak to its proud residents.

A Popular Destination

On a windy Friday afternoon, the high street is eerily quiet, but from the amount of cars parked on the road it’s clear that this is a popular destination. From the hiking-gear clad passers by, it’s obvious that some people use it as a starting point for the many nearby walks you can do – while others are seeking refuge from the bitter wind in one of its many cafés.

The Wonderful High Street

This is one of the many things people say they like about Wadhurst – its wonderful high street – which offers anything you need, from a chemist to a doctor’s surgery, post office, butcher’s and grocer. There’s a cinema that shows films regularly, and there are plenty of groups to join, such as the History Society.

The Sense of Community

Daniel Fahy, who is the Wadhurst branch owner of Estate Agent LeGrys, isn’t at all shocked about the town’s new status. He told The Mirror: “Having worked and gone to school here and seen it evolve over the last few years, it doesn’t come as a shock.”

Noting Wadhurst’s “sense of community”, the 29-year-old adds that its other main selling point is how the “rural” town, which is surrounded by beautiful countryside, is still “accessible to bigger places like London and Tunbridge Wells”. Especially after Covid, he noticed this was something more and more people wanted.

Everything You Need

The estate agent adds that people who don’t already know the area only need to “spend half an hour walking up the high street to fall in love with it because it’s got the quaint, farmer’s town feel to it”.

He reckons the recognition might entice even more people to move to the area, which is a trend he has already noticed in the last few years.

A Friendly and Community-oriented Atmosphere

When asked whether she agreed that Wadhurst has everything you need, local resident Alison Smith, said: “I think so. If you just think about what you need day-to-day, you can get it here. We’ve got all the staples. It does work.”

Reflecting on the best thing about Wadhurst, Alison, who is the owner of Barnett’s bookshop said: “It’s extremely friendly. People drop by just to have a chat, which is lovely. And we’re really lucky with the countryside.

“If you want country-living, while being well connected, this place really does tick that box.”

Residents’ Reactions

Despite having lived in Wadhurst for 40 years, writer Annette Balfour Lynne is slightly more surprised about her hometown being the winner. What has kept the 70-year-old staying all these years is her “beautiful house” which is a “gothic fantasy in the middle of nowhere,” but she’s not sure it offers much more than any other village in the UK.

Another surprised, long-term resident is the owner of women’s clothing shop Jackie Martel.

Driving People to Visit the Town

That being said, Jackie reckons the surge of cafés, free-of-charge parking spaces and the school is beginning to drive more people to come to visit the town, which is helping other businesses thrive.

The Town’s Merits

Carolyn Keely, who helps out in Jackie’s shop as well as volunteering at nearby Scotney Castle, is also “slightly surprised” about Wadhurst’s new claim to fame. The 81-year-old, who has lived in the area for 17 years, told The Mirror: “I would have thought there were a lot of villages that are a lot prettier, but maybe they were going for what we have here. If you live in the middle of the village you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else.”

Retired nurse Helen Mcindoe also told The Mirror she was “surprised to hear” the news, because Wadhurst does have a lot of facilities, but it lacks a big open space, or centre for people to gather and sit. There’s also a huge amount of traffic that runs through the town, which is a “major bugbear” for the people who live there.

Reflecting on why it appeals to people to live there, the 76-year-old, who has lived in Wadhurst for 10 years, explained: “I think a lot of people who are my age group want to retire here because of the facilities. It also appeals to the young people, as the station is just down the road.”



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