Richmond upon Thames named as the happiest place to live in London

Conservationist Sir David Attenborough has called Richmond upon Thames home for a number of years — once declaring it his ‘favourite place by a long way’ — and it seems he’s not the only fan of riverside living. 

For the fourth year running, the leafy south-west London borough has been named the happiest place to live in London in the Rightmove Happiness at Home survey.

The survey asked 21,000 people to score their area according to 12 happiness factors ranging from how safe an area feels, community spirit and how friendly the neighbours are to how satisfied they are with essential services like doctors and schools and the quality of green spaces and cultural activities in the area.

What do people love about Richmond?

With Richmond Park, Kew Gardens and miles of Thames Park walks on the doorstep, the top borough scored highly in the nature and green space category.

Residents also scored Richmond highly for its top-ranked schools, recreational and cultural activities and feeling they could be themselves.

One of the most affluent boroughs in the capital, the average asking price for a house in Richmond is £841,000, significantly higher than the London average of £614,000, although you could buy a narrowboat moored in the area from £60,000.

One-bedroom shared ownership flats are also on offer from £130,000 for a 40 per cent share. The average two-bedroom second hand flat in Richmond will cost £617,000.

The riverside town is 16 minutes from Waterloo on Southwestern Trains and is also on the District line, but the abundance of green space gives it the rural feel beloved of locals. 

Richmond is popular with families planning to leave London on their way to the countryside — who end up staying for life.

“It is home to young professionals, families and those who have spent decades living here and never want to leave. People are constantly trading up and down the property ladder within a small radius because they really enjoy the quality of life here,” said Mathew Hahn, head of the local branch of Knight Frank estate agent.

Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall famously lived together with their children in the 26-room Downe House and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also stayed in the area with their six children, while Jolie was filming Maleficent.

Happy or sad? The rest of London

Bromley, in south-east London, and Kingston upon Thames near Richmond were second and third happiest places in the capital.

The borough of Barking and Dagenham – which has the lowest house prices in London – was the least happy place to live in Britain for the third time since 2015.

Last year’s least happy borough, Brent, was second bottom of the happiness league table this year.

How does London compare to the rest of the country?

Nationally the happiest place to live was the seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, which scored particularly highly for community spirit and local opportunities to develop skills. The town’s range of independent shops and restaurants also factored in people’s happiness with the area.

London was absent from the national top 10 with Richmond coming in 29th of all British areas.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said a sense of belonging had been a particularly strong factor for how happy people felt in their area, explaining why the 10 happiest areas were all smaller places.

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