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Skipton features in Best Places to Live guide for 2024

(Image copyright: Stuart Clarkson/Rombalds Radio)

Skipton is among a handful of places across Yorkshire and the North East identified this year by the Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.

The town was the UK overall winner of the accolade back in 2014, with Ilkley also taking the title in 2022. Ilkley was named as a regional finalist last year (2023), with Skipton making the grade this year.

The guide has gone online today at ahead of publication in this weekend's Sunday Times.

This year's regional winner is Leeds, with the judges highlighting that it has the best-paying jobs outside London, five universities and is the only city outside London to have its own opera, ballet and theatre companies.

Skipton makes the 'best places' shortlist of 8 locations in Yorkshire and the North East along with Leeds, Saltaire, Boston Spa, the Yorkshire Wolds, Heaton (Newcastle), Nether Edge (Sheffield) and Whitley Bay (Tyne & Wear). The overall national winner this year is North Berwick in East Lothian.

The Sunday Times’ judges have visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street. 

The guide says of Skipton: "The 2014 Best Places to Live winner returns to the list, with this friendly market town providing families and active downsizers with everything they need for a happy life on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, including good pubs and restaurants, a smattering of culture and high-achieving schools."

The lead judge and writer for Best Places to Live guide Tim Palmer told Rombalds Radio: "There are so many fantastic places in this part of the world that it's always very hard to choose. But I think what makes Skipton stand out at the moment is that it's really good for families. It's got great schools and it's very active with lots of sports clubs and healthy activities in the great outdoors.

"It also feels properly rural while being still well-connected to big cities like Leeds. And the other thing that's great is that the people are so friendly which is not always the image you get from outside of what Yorkshire is like!

"The high street's holding up pretty well, there are lots of good independent shops and I like the fact that it's a proper market town where the market is still at the absolute heart of life. And it probably wouldn't be enough to make it on its own, but anywhere that's got a theatre in a working cattle market has got to have something good about it!"

Listen to Tim Palmer talking to us on the Rombalds Radio Local podcast, along with reaction from Skipton Town Council and Skipton BID.

Helen Davies, editorial projects director and Best Places to Live editor, says: “This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2024, from Dunkeld to Knutsford, Falmouth to Leeds. Wherever you are on the property ladder, there will be somewhere to suit you.  
“These are all places where you can feel grounded as well as upwardly mobile: they have a mature sense of community, lively, supportive high streets and an eye to the future, whether that is eco-friendly measures, transport and regeneration, or imaginative inclusion of new housing.” 

Toby Garbutt, Event Co-ordinator at Skipton Town Council told Rombalds Radio: " I've lived in Skipton all my life. I'm very proud of where I live. And there is such great ties with community all throughout Skipton - the town thrives on helping each other.

We also host numerous events across the year that are aimed at helping people, bringing the community together, assisting people with the cost of living crisis. For example, park events throughout the year where we host a different event in the park where children can come - it's fully free, accessible for everybody to use. And with Sheep Day this year, we're looking at all the different types of heritage because there is so much of Skipton's history that people don't actually know about. It's a lovely way to highlight the importance of our history and our heritage and the community values we have."

Also giving her reaction to the news to Rombalds Radio on Friday morning was Sarah Howsen, Manager of Skipton Business Improvement District (BID). She said: " We're really diverse and we're really lucky to have so many independents, whether that's retail or hospitality. We don't have that many of the big chains, but that's a positive because we've got something truly independent for people. So when they come and live here, they have got that high street that they can really explore and enjoy. And we're really lucky that we've got really low vacancy rates. So it does show that businesses do want to choose Skipton as somewhere to trade."


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