Our wellbeing and happiness is affected by a number of factors, including our social lives, our jobs and our health. But where we live also plays a role.
According to a survey conducted by online real estate company Right Move, people living in certain areas of the country are happier than those in others.
Its 12th annual Happy at Home Index, published in December 2023, revealed exactly what parts of the nation have the happiest residents.
The survey of more than 26,000 people took into account 13 happiness factors. These included things like the club-together community spirit of a local area, having green space on the doorstep, or the sense of belonging in a local community.
As a result, Rightmove was able to compile a list of the 10 happiest places in the UK.
Right Move explains: “Each year, we ask people to tell us what makes them happy about where they live, and what makes it special.
“Our annual Happy at Home Index, now in its 12th year, helps us understand what really makes the residents of some areas happier than others, as well as the things that make a place feel like home.”
Placing at number seven, is an historic town north west of London.
Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire was ranked as one of the happiest places to live in 2023. The “family friendly” town is just a 30 minute train ride away from central London.
In Tudor times the area was a market village, where grain and straw were sold.
It continued to expand and develop, becoming an important area during the industrial revolution located on the trade route between London and Birmingham.
After the Second World War its size increased again as many new properties were built there for people who lost their homes in the Blitz.
Nowadays Hemel Hempstead boasts a population of almost 100,000 and its town centre is a popular spot for shopping.
At the centre of the town is a community big screen used to broadcast family films, which people will sit outside to watch.
On Wednesdays, the town plays host to an antiques market, while on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays the market stalls cover everything from fruit and veg to handbags and clothes.
Dacorum Borough Council says: “Hemel Hempstead town centre has much to offer its many visitors and is a great family-friendly place to shop.
“Marlowes, the outdoor pedestrianised shopping zone, boasts many facilities to help turn your visit into more than just a shopping trip.
“There are innovative play areas for children, an attractive food court and a town square with entertainment from the musical fountain, the Rainbow Stage and a large LED screen.
“For something unique, why not stroll up to the Old Town High Street and browse around the antique, gift and other shops. Here, you’ll also find plenty of restaurants and pubs.”
According to Right Move, properties in Hemel Hempstead had an overall average price of £431,396 over the last year, making it a far more affordable location for commuters than London.
Taking the top spot on the index for the first time was Richmond-Upon-Thames in London, followed by Winchester in Hampshire.