If you want the finest quality of life, a ‘no-nonsense cobbled market town’ in North Yorkshire is the place to go.
The Sunday Times Best Places To Live in Britain guide has just been published – and among the best in the North is fabulous Thirsk.
People visit for the wonderful Thirsk races and think, “‘What a lovely town’,” David Pipes, who co-owns the country clothing and shooting apparel shop Humphrey & Tilly, tells the paper.
“They end up looking in estate agents’ windows and the next thing, they’re moving here to live.”
And its location is a huge attraction to incomers from London and elsewhere, the guide says. “The attractions are obvious: the Yorkshire Dales to the west, the North York Moors to the northeast, proximity to the A1, York and Leeds, and direct train services to King’s Cross.”
The Sunday Times writers say families “love the fresh air, fun things to do (pony trekking, rugby, cricket, the independent Ritz cinema) and schools, but there’s still that sense that Thirsk is a real place.
“Three industrial estates provide local jobs in engineering, manufacturing and financial services.”
The judges also praise Thirsk’s independent shops and places to eat.
“There are two butcher’s shops — Johnson’s of Thirsk and Frank Family Butchers — as well as Thomas the Baker and, if not a candlestick-maker, certainly a greengrocer, plus the Fishdock fishmonger and a twice-weekly market (on Mondays and Saturdays) selling locally grown produce, bread, cakes and deli treats.
“In between the boutiques and galleries, including Zillah Bell Gallery, there are some beloved practical shops, such as Venture Cycles for all your spare nuts, bolts and tyres. And crafters are well catered for with Ewe & Yarn, the Fabric Bird and the Artist’s Palette.
“The traditional Italian Bianco Ristorante is a local favourite (there’s also a branch in Northallerton), and runs a daily happy hour until 6pm. The White Rose Book Café ticks two boxes: it’s an independent bookshop with a tearoom at the back.”
It says the average Thirsk house price is £300K.
Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, was named as the overall Best Place to Live in the North & Northeast.
Other Yorkshire places in the guide are Leeds, Ilkley, Holmfirth and Sheffield.
York was named the overall Best Place To Live in 2018 and made the list again in 2021.
You can see the whole 2023 Sunday Times guide here.