Hitchin named as happiest place to live in the East of England

Churchyard in Hitchin

Churchyard in Hitchin - Credit: Danny Loo

Hitchin has topped the list of the East of England's happiest places to live, according to a new study published today.

As well as nabbing first place, the historic market town also came up trumps in the national register, coming in 12th place on the UK-wide list.

The North Herts hotspot was crowned the winner by Rightmove in the Happy at Home index, followed closely by Woodbridge in Suffolk and St Albans.

St Mary's Church, Hitchin

St Mary's Church, Hitchin - Credit: Archant

The cathedral city also came in a respectable 19th place in the national standings, which was topped by the Northumberland market town of Hexham, with Richmond upon Thames in second place and Harrogate third. 

Other vibrant market towns across the British Isles are also sharing in Hitchin's success, making up more than a third of this year’s winning locations.

Hitchin's Market Place will be transformed into the seaside for three weeks, starting from Tuesday, August 3

Hitchin's Market Place transforms into a coastal oasis each summer - Credit: Hitchin BID

The study also shows that people who live in villages are more likely to be happy than those living in town, while those residing by the sea are the happiest of all.

On the East of England list, Watford, Bishop's Stortford and Hertford also appeared, placing 10th, 12th and 14th respectively. 

Hitchin Lavender is among the attractions that will be giving away free tickets as part of the Big W

Hitchin Lavender - Credit: Archant

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Of the 22 places listed in the east, Stevenage came in at number 18, ranking 173rd in the national report.

More than 21,000 people contributed to the 2021 Rightmove Happy at Home index, which is in its 10th year.

Market Place, Hitchin will become an 'Eat Alfresco' outdoor dining area from Monday, July 27. Pictur

Market Place, Hitchin will become an 'Eat Alfresco' outdoor dining area from Monday, July 27. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The survey comprises of views on where participants live, and their ranking of 10 happiness measures.

A sense of belonging was the most important factor for overall happiness, followed by the friendliness of the locals, and being able to be yourself.

The other measures on the list were nature and green spaces, a sense of community spirit, cultural activities, opportunities to develop skills, both essential and non-essential amenities, and sports and recreational activities. 

Visitors to the Hitchin Vegan Market in Hitchin, Hertfordshire on the 18th September, 2021. Picture:

Visitors to Hitchin's Vegan Market - Credit: Danny Loo

Property expert Tim Bannister said: “Last year’s lockdown periods continue to have an impact on our priorities and what makes us happy, which is one of the reasons why community and a sense of belonging continue to be so important to people this year.

“Last year redefined the importance and role of our home and local community in our lives, and this has carried on into this year, even as wider society has started to open up again.”