Debbie Gibson

Shake Your Love

Ilkley named Best Place to Live in the UK

Ilkley has come top in this year's Best Places to Live guide, being published by The Sunday Times this weekend.

It's a step up from last year when the town was named best place to live in the North and North East of England.

The Best Places to Live guide is published online today ahead of being in the printed newspaper on Sunday.

Ilkley tops a list of 70 locations around the UK, with judges looking at a wide range of factors from schools, transport and broadband access to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.

Ilkley was praised for its top schools, interesting shops, spectacular scenery and convenient rail links. The judges were also impressed by its sports clubs and the opportunities they offer for young people, by the energetic community spirit where volunteering is a big part of life, and the town’s cinema and thriving Real Food Ilkley market. 

Slaithwaite near Huddersfield tops the North and North East best places to live this year, where the top ten also includes Harrogate and Leeds city centre.

Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: "The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list is necessarily subjective. Leave it just to statistics and you will never capture the spirit of a place. For that, you need to visit to take into account that ‘you have to be here’ feeling. Is the pub dog-friendly, for example? Can you live car-free? What are the schools and houses like? Is it multicultural and multigenerational, and can it offer a good way of life to lots of different sorts of people? 

"Ten years ago, when we launched the inaugural list, London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains. How times have changed — and how welcome that change is."

Listen to Best Places to Live lead judge Tim Palmer:

You can see the full list at

Local reaction

Listen to Ilkley’s Mayor, Councillor Mark Stidworthy:

Helen Rhodes, Manager of the Ilkley Business Improvement District, said: “This recognition is a real honour for Ilkley. There really is something for everyone of all ages here with an incredible range of outdoor and indoor clubs and activities which cater for all interests as specifically mentioned in the guide. There’s a tangible energy and vibrancy in the town and of course, the scenery in and around the area is stunning.

“I’m also pleased that Ilkley’s community spirit has been acknowledged. We have a thriving and proactive community that is both supportive and inclusive. I’m really proud of Ilkley and everything that it has to offer – it’s a great place to live and work.”  

Ian White, Chair of the Business Improvement District, said: “As Chair of Ilkley BID, I believe that Ilkley truly deserves this recognition. Our businesses are second to none with a wide variety of exceptional independent retailers and a vibrant service sector. Ilkley also has an amazing social scene with a large and varied mix of venues, pubs, bars and restaurants to cater for all tastes.”

Jason Longhurst, Strategic Director for Place, from Bradford Council, said: “This is fantastic news – we have always known our district is one of the best places in the world to live, work, play and invest, so it’s great to get recognition that one of our amazing towns has been given this accolade.

“Big, young and diverse, Bradford district is home to more than half a million people, vibrant communities, innovative businesses and institutions. It’s alive with energy, enterprise and goodwill and represents unrivalled potential, a growing pipeline of talent and exceptional quality of life at the heart of the north.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who contributes to making Ilkley the great place it is.”


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