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UK Best Places To Live Guide: 2021

June 21, 2021

UK Best Places To Live Guide: 2021

Here at Buying Agent Partnership, we’re always inspired by the annual round-up of the UK’s best towns, villages and regions to live over at the Sunday Times Best Places To Live Guide – and 2021 is no exception. Looking back on a year like no other, it’s perhaps no surprise that the nation’s priorities have seemed to undergo a shift – away from the thrills and crowds of urban living, and towards green spaces and country air (though with superfast broadband increasingly becoming a must-have!).  Our regional expert property finders have scoured the very best of the UK’s cities, towns, and villages, to bring you this Buying Agent Partnership round-up of the best places on our radar, from family spots to the sleekest of city living. From the beauty spots of the Cotswolds to hidden gems in Greater Manchester,  our experts bring you their top picks of places to live in 2021.

Aerial photograph of green farms and rural dwellings in the Cotswolds.

Best Places To Live In The Cotswolds


A firm favourite of property finders and clients alike, the outstandingly beautiful region of the Cotswolds is always a hit with those looking for a tranquil and beautiful place to spend their days. Our local Buying Agent property finder, has found one place in particular to be his highlight of Cotswolds living in 2021: the beautiful hidden gem of Ilmington.

Based just fifteen minutes’ drive from both Stratford and the wider Cotswolds area, the village of Ilmington is in the far south of Warwickshire and a hotspot to those in the know. With truly panoramic countryside surroundings in an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, Ilmington is an historic village with roots dating back to the tenth century and a number of listed buildings and notable residents, including Elizabethan poet Sir Thomas Overbury and Dorothy Hodgkin, Nobel Prize Winner.

Today, Ilmington remains a busy social hub, with local amenities including two pubs, a local village church, a community hub in the form of a village hall, a primary school, community shop and even a local cafe.


The overall top pick for the Sunday Times Best Places To Live Guide, Stroud is a vibrant community town located in the western escarpment of the Cotswold Hills and a true gem of the region. A hub for surrounding market towns and villages, Stroud was a key location during the Industrial Revolution and today’s transport links reflect this historic central role: linked to London, Swindon and Gloucester by the Great Western Railway of Stroud station, and connected to the A46 to Bath and the M5.

Stroud’s many benefits include its lush green surroundings, its humming social scene (sporting events and cultural festivals mark its annual calendar) and its independent schools, which have all contributed to its designation as the UK’s top spot for 2021.

To find out more about properties in the Cotswolds, simply get in touch with our property finder buying agent here for more information!

Best Places To Live In Cornwall & Devon

Panoramic view of houses in Devon.


Keeping it southern, we now head to the UK’s best-loved holiday destination – the sandy shores of Cornwall & Devon. Our expert Director of Cornwall & Devon, Lee Heywood, brings us his top picks in the southern regions of the UK, beginning with Fowey in South Cornwall.

Home to a busy and still-bustling port, Fowey offers the last word in contemporary Cornish chic – boutique bistros and small independent shops offer visitors and residents alike the opportunity to relax and browse in style. Great Western services link Fowey through Par and St Austell which are the nearest train stations, and it’s just a 45 minute drive to Newquay airport.

Fowey has long been renowned for its beautiful coastal walks and harbour views, rooted in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and characterised by the instantly-recognisable Cornish coastline. Recently, its characterful local establishments, pubs and eateries, along with its beautiful harbour homes, have seen it secure a spot in the most desirable places to live in the region.

Bovey Tracey, Devon

Known as ‘The Gateway To Dartmoor’, the popular town of Bovey Tracey offers its residents a bustling market town, with a huge range of independent shops and a thriving local community. ‘Bovey’, as it is known to locals, is just a mile from Dartmoor, perhaps the UK’s best-known moorland, and as a result offers unsurprisingly breathtaking scenery to inhabitants and visitors alike. Highly-sought after local restaurants add flavour the regional scene, while its selection of pubs and bars are set in truly breathtaking landscapes.

Just 10 miles from the beach, and less than 15 miles to the city of Exeter,  Bovey Tracey offers the perfect blend of rural and accessible. Exeter offers easy transport links to London Paddington, as well as further afield, and is home to Exeter Airport which offers international flights – a perfect location for all needs.

Our local buying agent, Buying Agent Partnership’s Director for Cornwall & Devon, is experienced in finding properties in the South of England – contact our local buying agent here to find your new Southern address with minimum stress!

Best Places To Live In Cumbria & Lancashire

Tree lined stream in Cartmel, Cumbria

Arnside & Silverdale

Moving now to the North, where our expert property finder offers their take on the region’s best spots to movers. An entrant into the Sunday Times Style Guide, the historic villages of Arnside & Silverdale sit side-by-side in the border between Lancashire and Cumbria. The deserving recipient of one of the UK’s smallest Area of Natural Beauty awards, this charming spot covers just 29 square miles and offers locals a truly picturesque place to live.

As you might imagine, both villages offer locals truly spectacular views and walks, providing a tranquil place to spend your days. Close to the Lake District, the town of Arnside is accessible by rail (the Carnforth-Grange-Ulverston-Barrow line), bus and car, with reasonable parking. Local villages like Milnthorpe and Kendal are linked, with transport links and connections taking you as far afield as Manchester Airport, while Silverdale is home to multiple amenities like several independent schools, a library and historic churches.


Considered one of the ‘prettiest villages in all Cumbria’, Cartmel is a true cultural paradise for landscape lovers, local foodies and history buffs. Flanked by the surrounding towns and villages of Flookburgh, Meathop, Field Broughton and Grange-Over-Sands, Cartmel offers a true range of activities and amenities to its residents. Calendar dates like the Cartmel Races offer local events to look forward to, while the village’s range of restaurants and pubs draw high praise from even the most elite gastronomers.

Linked by the local railway and the South Lakeland bus timetables ensure that Cartmel is linked to nearby hubs, and well-served by the region’s roads. A slice of Lakeland heaven, this village is not to be missed by those looking to settle in northern pastures.


Finally, a region often overlooked in favour of its more glamorous nearby cousin in the Lakes: Chester offers a haven to those looking for northern relocation. Chester is home to a number of desirable destinations including Hoole, Upton and Handbridge, as well as its own thriving city centre, boasting world-famous architecture and a selection of fantastic local venues.

Located just ten miles south of Liverpool on the Welsh border, Chester is served by CrossCountry and Transport For Wales trains as well as being linked by the M56 which links Chester to Manchester and Liverpool.

Chester boasts a number of local attractions and events including the race course, Chester Castle and the Grosvenor Museum, ensuring that the local community is truly vibrant all year round. To speak to our expert property finder about finding properties in the North of England, please don’t hesitate to contact them here.

We hope that you have enjoyed this local round-up of the best places to live in the UK in 2021 – with our Buying Agent Partnershiptwist! To discuss any of these regions or any of the other regions we cover, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert property finders.

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