FROME has been named one of the best places to live out of 12 locations in the Southwest according to The Sunday Times best places to live guide.

Expert judges assess a wide range of factors, from schools, transport and broadband speed to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street to produce the definitive guide to the UK's finest locations to call home.

But Cheltenham has come top and been named the best place to live in the Southwest

It is top of a list of 12 locations - and 101 across the UK - chosen by The Sunday Times to represent the best of Britain in the annual Sunday Times best places to live guide.

Helen Davies, The Sunday Times Home editor said: "Our advice is simple. Think about everything you love and everything you hate, then make sure you have access to the good things while minimising exposure to the bad ones. And we’re here to help. Today we champion 101 locations across the UK and crown one lucky winner.

"Never has where you live felt more important. This year we have, along with house prices, air quality, good schools and access to green spaces, championed locations that have showcased great community spirit.

"The feeling of involvement in and concern for one's local community is being challenged — and celebrated — as never before. We wish everyone well wherever they live."

The overall winner will be revealed today March 22, when the full guide is published in The Sunday Times - and in much more detail online at

The judges have travelled thousands of miles around the UK, visiting the locations and talking to locals. They look for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well designed homes, and locations bursting with community spirit.

The guide also uses robust and exclusive statistics, including up-to-date house prices, provided by mortgage company Habito and TwentyCi.

Cheltenham is famous for its National Hunt racing festival in March, but if this isn’t your thing, then there are also festivals of jazz, science and classical music, spread throughout the year. Over the past 10 years many of the buildings have been renovated, and there are lots of new boutiques and artisan shops, as well as good restaurants and cafes. Much of the new investment has come courtesy of the Superdry magnate, Julian Dunkerton, and his Lucky Onion group of relaxed but classy pubs, bars and restaurants.

The other shining attraction is the schools, which offer almost unimaginable riches for tiger parents in both the independent and state sectors. Cheltenham Ladies’ College came 31st in The Sunday Times parent power guide’s independent secondary school league table, and Pate’s Grammar was rated the best state secondary in the Southwest.

Daniel Hegarty, founder and CEO at Habito, the online mortgage broker said: “There are many factors that contribute to where people choose to live across the Southwest. Whether that’s buying to be near the green spaces of Somerset, wanting to become part of a thriving community like that of Bristol’s Harbourside, or to be a bit closer to friends and family across the region. Habito helps homeowners get the right mortgage, so they can spend their time finding their place to call home. This year's deserving winner - Cheltenham - demonstrates that the UK's best places to live deliver much more than great real estate; they give people a sense of belonging and somewhere people can live their life to the full.”

Bear Flat in Bath is high above the tourists, traffic jams and fumes that give modern Bath its decidedly un-Georgian atmosphere; this village is heaven for young families. It’s a 10-minute downhill walk to Bath Spa station (worry about the climb back up later) and a couple of minutes more to the city centre. It has a Co-op, a pharmacy and a range of independent shops and places to eat, including the impeccably sustainable and friendly Good Bear café, where the 2014 MasterChef winner Ping Coombes hosts supper clubs.

There’s no room for Salisbury on this year’s list. Last year’s overall winner steps down with its head held high. However, its near neighbour Tisbury make another appearance along with the surrounding stunning villages in the Nadder Valley. With Chagford and Shaldon represent Devon, while the market town of Wadebridge and Mylor are Cornwall’s two chosen.

The Sunday Times best places to live in Britain covers the following regions: North and Northeast, Midlands, Northern Ireland, Southeast, Wales, Southwest, East, London, Scotland and the Northwest. It also reveals the overall best place to live in the UK.

The Sunday Times best places to live: Southwest

Places Average property price Average rental (pcm)

Winner: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire £275,000 £765

Bear Flat, Bath

£340,000 £1,225

Harbourside, Bristol

£360,000 £1,125

Chagford, Devon

£475,000 £660

Frome, Somerset

£270,000 £750

Lyme Regis, Dorset

£310,000 £750

Mylor, Cornwall

£330,000 £825

Nadder Valley, Wiltshire

£375,000 £875

Shaldon, Devon

£400,000 £750

Stroud, Gloucestershire

£250,000 £695

Wadebridge, Cornwall

£325,000 £750

Wells, Somerset

£285,000 £775

NB: the above list is not in order of ranking. All average house prices and rental costs have been compiled by Habito/TwentyCi

For longer entries, more on air quality, broadband, transport links, comprehensive listings of good schools and lifelong learning opportunities, local voices and property prices you can go online at