Happy-on-Sea: residents of the Essex town of Leigh are the most delighted in the country to live where they do

A seaside town takes top spot, while the happiest places in London sit on the Thames...

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We all like to be by the seaside, not only during the summer, and for the residents of Leigh-on-Sea it has helped make them the happiest people in Britain.

The Essex town won top place in Rightmove's annual Happy At Home index, which used 12 factors to determine just how happy people were about their home town.

Leigh-on-Sea scored high for its community spirit and residents' strong sense of belonging, as well as there being plenty to do in the town.

It topped the survey for good access to sports facilities and arts activities, as well as the opportunity to develop skills.

Residents might also have been cheered by the news that asking prices for property have risen by 15 per cent in the past year, taking them to an average of £384,000.

The most popular suburbs include the Marine Estate, with its elegant detached Twenties houses, while Marine Parade, moments from the sea, and Warren Road are the most sought-after areas in the town.

Abiola Oni, Rightmove’s research manager, said: “When you compare the factors which score highest in the happiest areas, it shows just how important having friendly people in the local community area is, alongside the services and amenities."

For London workers, frequent trains to Fenchurch Street take as little as 44 minutes.

Leigh-on-Sea: the most sought-after spots to live are just moments from the sea (Image: Shutterstock)

Water was a major attraction for residents of the Thames-side Surrey village of Shepperton, which came sixth in the country, with average house prices of £428,000. Just 18 miles from London, it takes 55 minutes to Waterloo by train. 

Among London boroughs, Richmond took top spot, again partly thanks to being on a beautiful stretch of the Thames and having Richmond Park on its doorstep. However, its amenities are definitely reflected in property prices, with an average price of £829,000. Trains into Waterloo from this Zone 4 oasis take just 23 minutes.

Neighbouring Kingston was voted the second happiest place to live in London, with average house prices of £607,000 and Waterloo train services taking 30 minutes.

Oni says: “Space is also one of the most important things when people are looking for a new home, so it’s not surprising that places with open spaces such as beautiful parks and beaches have featured in the top 10.”



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