The best place to live in the UK

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 1st March 2015

Downham beautifulWhere is the best place to live in the UK?

That’s what the Sunday Times is going to be telling us over the next couple of weeks.

Today it was the turn of rural Britain, with the paper listing the top 50 country locations in the UK and declaring that Chagford in Devon tops the lot.

According to resident Jenny Wood, the only thing it’s impossible to buy in the village is a pair of knickers but apart from that you can find everything – from a slice of chorizo and Peppadew quiche (I’m not sure what that is) to a copy of the International Herald Tribune.

Next week the paper will explore the best urban areas and the following Sunday it will highlight the “best of both” – the places with great schools, great shops and acres of green space too.

The mystery as far as I’m concerned is that the prettiest village in the country never gets a mention. Where am I talking about? Downham in Lancashire, of course.

Downham looks like something out of a picture book – which is no doubt why it featured in Whistle Down the Wind, the 1961 movie, and Born and Bred, the BBC One drama series.

Not only is it completely unspoilt but it has everything you need in a village – pub, church, post office, stream with ducks, nursery school, stunning countryside, the friendliest neighbours I’ve ever met. There are no yellow lines, no satellite dishes and no smog. It’s only four miles from the historic market town of Clitheroe, which boasts a castle, brilliant coffee shop (the Exchange Coffee Company) and loads of supermarkets. You can get to Manchester in an hour and the Lake District in a couple of hours so it’s well connected too. Not only that, Clitheror Royal Grammar School is one of the best state schools in the country.

We lived there for three wonderful years and I’d return like a shot if I could. I remember the day a friend came up from Manchester and watched her young son hare out of our garden and off down the fields. “I’ve never seen him run that far before,” she marvelled. “At home I always have his hand clamped in mine. I’m terrified to let him out of my sight.”

One comment so far

  • It looks just beautiful. My husband’s dad lives in rural england and the thing we notice most when we visit is unfortunately the high unemployment, there’s just no job creation.

Leave a Reply