Just a 15-minute drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells, but across the Kent border in East Sussex, Wadhurst has been named the best place to live in the UK by The Sunday Times. It beat all the other regional winners across the UK, including Liverpool and Leamington Spa.
The Sunday Times judges described the market town as offering “pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature”.
Despite having only 5,000 inhabitants – making it the smallest winner of the newspaper’s award in its 11-year history – there is plenty to do in Wadhurst.
There are activities available for children, a farmer’s market on a Saturday, and a community cinema.
It was also praised by Sunday Tims judges for having decent schools, transport links, a variety of high street shops, and “stunning scenery”.
Wadhurst makes for the perfect weekend getaway or staycation trip because there is a little bit of everything on offer.
After strolling down the high street and stopping for a coffee and a cake, one can go for a walk around the nearby Bewl Water Reservoir, which is only a 12-minute drive from the town’s centre.
The town is also home to various historical buildings, including a castle and a handful of oast houses. These were designed for kilning hops as part of the brewing process.
They can be found in former hop-growing counties, such as Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, and Sussex.
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A Wadhurst parish council spokesperson commented on The Sunday Times award’s results, saying: “This is really exciting news. Wadhurst is a lovely, lovely place to live with a great community feel.
“I would say to someone thinking of moving here that it’s a great place to live – you have the best of both worlds. You have easy access to towns and cities but if you want a rural lifestyle it is perfect.”
In second place in the South East category was Chichester, in West Sussex. A cathedral city with around 27,000 people, it is much bigger than Wadhurst.
As well as great transport links across the local area and the rest of the UK, including London, Chichester has many shops, restaurants, a university, a theatre, and even a sandy beach just eight miles away.
The North West’s winner was Liverpool. A bustling city with plenty to do, it welcomes the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It is also known for its friendly locals, the Albert Dock, a buzzing nightlife, and, of course, The Beatles.
Situated in Denbighshire, Wales’ winner was Ruthin, and it’s easy to see why. The town has all the amenities one needs and is only a stone’s throw away from the North Welsh mountains, as well as the coast.
Leamington Spa impressed The Sunday Times judges as the Midlands’ winner, and Crouch End beat all London boroughs to be named the best place to live in the capital.
Donaghadee in County Down was named the best place to live in Northern Ireland, and Scotland’s winner was Dunkeld, in Perthshire.
Full list of regional winners
East: Saffron Walden, Essex
London: Crouch End
Midlands: Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
North and North East: Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear
Northern Ireland: Donaghadee, County Down
North West: Liverpool
Scotland: Dunkeld, Perthshire
South East: Chichester, West Sussex (second in region after overall winner, Wadhurst)
South West: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Wales: Ruthin, Denbighshire
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