Ilkley has been named the best place to live in the North and Northeast of England by the Sunday Times.
It is top of a list of 10 locations in the region chosen by The Sunday Times to represent the best of Britain in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide. The comprehensive guide is released online today and will be available in the paper on Sunday.
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: “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.
"llkley has everything our judges are looking for. 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.
There’s plenty to do - tennis, rugby, cycling with the largest club in the country, and swimming in the beautiful lido - and plenty to get involved in. Initiatives cover everything from helping out at the literature festival to working to make Ilkley dementia-friendly. They also admired the thriving high street and the excellent selection of places to eat and drink, from authentic espresso at La Stazione to fine dining at the venerable Box Tree."
The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2021: North and Northeast
Winner: Ilkley, West Yorkshire
Barnard Castle, Co Durham
Easingwold, North Yorkshire
Masham, North Yorkshire
Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire
Todmorden, West Yorkshire
Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear
Please note: apart from the regional winner, the other locations are not ranked, but listed in alphabetical order.
Helen Davies added: “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.