Tyne & Wear

Hexham named as the happiest place to live in Britain

Hexham Abbey Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Hexham was voted the happiest town in the UK following a survey by Rightmove

A Northumberland market town has been named the happiest place to live in Britain.

Hexham was given the title by property website Rightmove after 22,000 people complete its survey.

They answered a range of questions about where they live, from the friendliness of the locals through to what their area has to offer.

Resident Philip Clark said: "I wouldn't live anywhere else because it's the best place."

He added: "I don't know whether you've seen the local paper. It says underneath the Heart of All England, and I think it is the Heart of All England."

Hexham is a pretty town with its Abbey and plenty of cafes, restaurants and independent shops and is a stop-off for people walking Hadrian's Wall.

But it has a number of empty shops, and the town's only long-standing department store Beales recently closed to be replaced by an outlet centre.

Image caption Gemma Brown, the editor of the local newspaper, said Hexham has a "vibrant community"

Gemma Brown, editor of the Hexham Courant, said: "Yes there are vacant shops but I think there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try address that.

"It's a vibrant community and I think that's a real plus; its the sense of community.

"It has lovely green open spaces and an arts centre, an independent cinema and all of the lovely independent shops that we have. I think it really punches above its weight."

Image caption Pub landlord Alan Phillipson said customers in Hexham were the "friendliest" he had encountered

The market town's restaurants and bars also helped it to come top of the happy list

Alan Phillipson, owner of The Heart of Northumberland pub, said: "I've worked in pubs all over Britain and the customers here are the friendliest I have ever encountered.

"Everybody wants to chat to you, everybody wants to know what's happening, there's a great community spirit and it's just full of lovely people."

The survey may not be exactly scientific - with just 22,000 people surveyed across the whole of Britain - but the people of Hexham seem more than happy with the new title.

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