LEAMINGTON and Kenilworth are among the top places to live in the country.
The towns have been included in the The Sunday Times 101 Best Places to Live annual guide, which also features nearby Shipston on Stour in south Warwickshire.
The list, covering ten regions in Britain, is drawn up from a study of statistics such as crime rates and school performance along with individual assets from local festivals to natural beauty. It includes ten locations in the Midlands, with Edale in Derbyshire’s Peak District scooping the top regional spot.
Leamington – which has been recognised in previous years but last year was absent from the list – was given a place due to its ‘architecture, coffee scene and hi-tech reputation as the home of Sonic the Hedgehog’.
Neighbouring Kenilworth was recognised due to the ‘long-awaited opening of its new station’.
And Leamington mayor Heather Calver said the town’s spot on the list proved what she already knew.
She told the Observer: “This is a wonderful accolade and it is a tribute to the town’s vibrant community spirit.
“With its rich history there is much to celebrate in Leamington, from our wonderful Regency buildings, magnificent parks and gardens as well as a unique mix of high street shops and independent boutiques.
“This town’s people are welcoming with an impressive diverse cultural community that adds to our uniqueness, factors which have helped to win Leamington recognition as one of the best place to live in the UK.”
And Kenilworth mayor Mike Hitchins said his town’s ‘uniqueness’ made it among the top places to reside.
He said: “We’re really pleased to be included on this list, confirming what residents already know – Kenilworth is a great place to live.
“It has good homes, outstanding schools, attractive surroundings, health facilities, sports facilities and work places. All of this, set against the castle, other historic sites, green spaces and abundant trees give the town a really unique character.
“Finally, the recently opened railway station has caused a real buzz around the town, providing a boon for the local economy, bringing visitors to the town and giving Kenilworth residents the opportunity to travel across Warwickshire without having to get in the car.”
The other Midlands locations on the list included Shipston-on-Stour in south Warwickshire, the Birmingham suburb of Harborne, Shrewsbury in Shropshire, Stamford in Lincolnshire and the Vale of Belvoir near Nottingham.
Helen Davies, The Sunday Times home editor said, “Finding our very own best place to live now feels more important than ever, for our wellbeing and wealth, happiness and health.
“This year we were looking for community spirit along with convenience and culture. There is so much going on around the country, and so many great places that the choice was a hard one.”