Revealed: the London borough named UK’s happiest place to live

A London location has come top of Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index for the first time ever
Access to nature meant this leafy London locale was full of happy residents
Adrian Lourie
India Block1 minute ago

Does walking down your local high street put a spring in your step? Are you whistling a happy tune on the way to the pub or the park?

If not, you might consider a move to Richmond upon Thames, which has been named the happiest place to live in Britain by its residents.

The affluent borough, where the average house price is just shy of £1 million, has ranked top of the capital’s neighbourhoods for the past nine years.

But this is the first time a London area has claimed the top nationwide spot in Rightmove’s index in the 12 years it has been running.

Richmond sits on the banks of the River Thames
Adrian Lourie

Richmond has rocketed up the happiness tables this year, having ranked at 11th place on Rightmove’s national index last year.

“I’m delighted for Richmond to win this award,” said the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

“It has so much of what makes London so special – its access to beautiful green spaces, its real sense of community, and an array of shops, cafes and local culture that makes it stand out.”

Celebrity residents of the riverside borough have included everyone from Mick Jagger and Brad Pitt, to David Attenborough and Holly Willoughby.

Residents reported that they loved the sense of belonging living in Richmond gave them
Adrian Lourie

Rightmove surveyed 26,000 people about their feelings on their local area, with Winchester in Hampshire and the Welsh town of Monmouth scoring next highest on the list.

London’s most expensive borough, Kensington & Chelsea (average asking price £1.8 million), was the only other part of the capital to make the top 10.

Richmond was rated highly by locals for a “sense of belonging” and residents feeling comfortable “being themselves”.

Plenty of greenery was a key factor in people’s cheeriness, so the west London borough’s claim to Bushy and Richmond Royal Park, along with Kew Gardens, may have given it that extra boost.

Richmond also has the Thames Path, a 6.6 mile walking route along the river through Twickenham to Kingston.

A London location has never before topped Rightmove's Happy at Home Index
Adrian Lourie

“The results of this year’s study highlight that residents continue to value living near green spaces and natural beauty, features that became all the more important during the pandemic,” said Rightmove’s property expert Tim Bannister.

In general, residents in rural areas reported higher levels of satisfaction than city dwellers, so Richmond has bucked the national trend by coming out on top.

Access to good amenities such as schools also impacted happiness scores, and Richmond punches above its weight in that department.

A recent report from the English Housing Survey found that the borough has the second highest ratio of outstanding rated schools to population of under-14s after Kensington & Chelsea.

Richmond has an abundance of good schools and low levels of crime
Daniel Lynch

Richmond has the lowest level of crime in London, with only 5,805 recorded crimes per 100,000 people between 2022 and 2023.

Dawn Platt, associate director of Chestertons’ Richmond branch, was unsurprised to hear her patch named the happiest place to live.

“Richmond really has got it all,” said Platt. “We encounter a lot of house hunters who have always had the goal of living in Richmond one day and once they have moved here, couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she added.

“Due to its community feel, many see Richmond as an area to settle down long-term.”

Access to green space was a key factor in this year's ranking, and Richmond has plenty
Daniel Lynch

The average house price in Richmond in 2022 was £752,000, while the average salary was £37,041 – meaning would-be buyers would need over 20 times their annual paycheck to get on the property ladder there.

For 2023, Rightmove put the average Richmond asking price at £952,305, while asking rents would set tenants back £3,148 a month.

For non-Richmonders, reports of happiness were harder to come by with London having some of the least happy places in the UK.

Croydon — London's most affordable borough — ranked at 214 , Newham at 213 and Barking & Dangenham at 212.

One in three of those surveyed by Rightmove said they felt they would be happiest living elsewhere.

Young Londoners, in particular, fantasised about moving. The 30 per cent of unhappy residents were mostly aged 18 to 34 and from London or another urban area.

But putting these plans into action is another thing, and only 35 per cent of those who thought they would be happier elsewhere had concrete plans to move in the next year.

Those who were happiest in their homes tended to live near natural features, such as woodlands, mountains, the sea or a river. Proximity to such natural delights ranked higher than access to public transport or employment opportunities.