Ilkley and Chapel Allerton in Leeds named in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021 guide
Ilkley has been named the best place to live in the annual The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.
The beautiful market town was crowned the winner in the newspaper's North and Northeast of England list, representing the best of Britain.
Also making the list was the north Leeds suburb of Chapel Allerton, which was praised for its independent high street and local community groups.
The judges also highlighted Farsley as an up-and-coming creative neighbourhood and Horsforth as a city suburb with a proper country feel.
Other West Yorkshire towns included Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, and Todmorden in the Upper Calder Valley.
The Sunday Times’s expert judges behind the guide assess a wide range of factors, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
They look for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well designed homes and locations bursting with community spirit - which the pandemic has shown to be the most vital quality of all.
Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: “This guide has never been so important. The pandemic has taught us just how much we rely on our homes, our communities and our surroundings.
"With working from home now common, it’s no surprise that many of us are reassessing our priorities and thinking hard about where we really want to live.
“Our focus for this year has been community, countryside and convenience.
"It hasn’t been a year for big cities or small villages. Instead it is small towns that have shone: big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough for everyone to feel connected.
“Ilkley has a beating community heart, a business brain, culture and a good sense of humour.
“It’s also got excellent schools, great shops in its town centre and is within easy reach of both Leeds and the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire Dales, with its own magical moor as the icing on the cake.”
The judges noted that they were impressed by the excellent transport links, magnificent scenery and an energetic, environmentally minded community that showed its strength in the successful campaign against pollution in the River Wharfe.
They also praised the amount of activities available, including the Ilkley Lido and the local sports clubs.
Initiatives such as the literature festival and the ongoing work to make Ilkley dementia-friendly were also highlighted as exceptional.
The high street was also applauded, and the espresso at La Stazione and the fine dining at Box Tree were singled out as note-worthy.
Speaking about Chapel Allerton, the judges were particularly impressed with the community focus of the community.
The judges said: "A well supported independent high street - with fishmonger, bookshop, cheese shop and much more - and an inspiring and imaginative community group, CA Spaces, make this urban village our favourite corner of Leeds.”
They were particularly impressed with the efforts of CA Spaces - mostly run by young mums juggling work and home schooling - to beautify the area, including street art, tree planting and creating pick-your-own veg beds and a “mud kitchen” for children in a patch of neglected woodland.
They also praised Gledhow Valley Woods as an atmospheric location for lockdown exercise.
The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021: North and Northeast list in full:
·- Winner: Ilkley, West Yorkshire
- Alnmouth, Northumberland
- Barnard Castle, Co Durham
- Easingwold, North Yorkshire
- Chapel Allerton, Leeds
- Masham, North Yorkshire
- Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire
- Todmorden, West Yorkshire
- Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear
The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britain covers the following regions: North and Northeast, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Southeast, Wales, Southwest, East, London, Scotland and the Northwest.
Stroud, Gloucestershire was named as the Best Place to Live in Britain.