Though the state boasts many attributes, finding the best towns and cities to live in can be tough. Drive to station: about 15 minutes. Standing tall in the centre is a Norman abbey that survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries because it was also used by the townsfolk as a parish church. With the longest nave of any gothic cathedral in Europe, the Norman Winchester Cathedral is outstanding, and also the resting place of the author Jane Austen. The town warrants an amble for its tight cobblestone streets, inns and flat-fronted houses, and was the haunt of smugglers in the 18th century. It’s a destination where you can bring children to find out about the ways humans have shaped the landscape through farming and forestry, at an educational farm. The Country Life verdict: If you’re looking for a compromise between city and country, this is the place to be. There are more than 20, most from the 1600s and 1700s, and the oldest with elements going back to the 1200s. East Riding of Yorkshire, Yorkshire and The Humber. There’s nothing better than finding a town with a great Main Street – the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon poking around in neat shops, grabbing a drink or a bite to eat, and sitting on a bench with an ice cream cone. While one could argue that finding the best places to live is subjective, there is some data that can help you narrow it … From the Norman conquest kings would come for hunting retreats to the Hampshire countryside and in the New Forest you’ll be in a rare natural landscape of moors, heath, glades and beech forest that a medieval king would recognise today. By train you can get here from Waterloo in 45 minutes, while the M3 motorway passes close by. Commute: Basingstoke (London Waterloo 47 minutes). Winchester has it all: cathedral culture, theatres, an arts festival, street festivals, choral music, a trendy Everyman cinema set in a converted chapel and the largest farmer’s market in the UK. It also hosts Radio 2’s CarFest South, a wine merchant, a deli, an interior design shop and a good village school. The spitfire, a British design icon was also born in Southampton; track the history of this Second World War fighter plane at the Solent Sky Museum. Best address: The Earl of Huntingdon’s pink house looking up at the Downs-he’s about to start a B&B. Go in to marvel at the beautiful architecture and stained glass windows and learn some unexpected stories about the community of nuns who lived here. Located in western Rockingham County in New Hampshire, Londonderry is a town with a population of over 24 thousand. Tucked away among all these incredible landscapes are some charming towns and cities which are home to some of the oldest historical sights and cultural landmarks in the whole of the U.S. The Orkney Islands kept the top spot after scoring well on employment levels, average spend per pupil on education, low anxiety levels, low crime rates, low primary class sizes and consistently high scores in life satisfaction and happiness. The Woolpack Inn is within easy reach of Alresford, Basingstoke, Winchester and Southampton. Also close is Portchester Castle once a hunting lodge for King John, and briefly captured by the French in the early 13th-century. Overton, Winchester and Kingsclere offer a commutable country lifestyle. Annual car-park ticket: £1,190. Central Bedfordshire, East of England, 47. First train in: 5.19am; last train home: 12.05am. Basingstoke has more frequent trains. 15 Best Places to Visit in Devon (England), 15 Best Places to Visit in Lincolnshire …. Get the inside track on Fareham’s story at the Westbury Manor Museum, where you’ll find out about the local brickworks that supplied the bricks for the Royal Albert Hall. There are many amenities for residents, and the area is relatively diverse. SEVERAL areas in and around Hampshire have been named among the best rural places to live in the UK. It comes in a small package, but the village Stockbridge is flush with listed historic buildings. Ensconced in the gentle green landscapes of the South Downs National Park, the village of Petersfield was built from scratch in the 12th century. From the great ports on the Solent in the south to the distinguished history of Winchester and the splendour of its National Parks and country idylls, Hampshire is nothing if not diverse. And of course, there are natural attractions all around Lyndhurst, like the deer sanctuary where you should see the herds if you go quietly. The nature outside Petersfield is stunning, and nowhere more so than Heath Pond, set in acres of heathland and a haven for waterfowl. The newly restored Lymington Open Air Sea Water Baths is the oldest lido (outdoor pool) in the UK, dating to 1833. Excellent schools include Winchester College, St Swithun’s, Pilgrims’ prep school and the sixth-form college Peter Symonds. Standing tall in the centre is a Norman abbey that survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries because it was also used by the townsfolk as a parish church. The unofficial capital of the New Forest, Lyndhurst is the largest village in the park. 15 Best Places to Visit in Hampshire. Commute: Winchester (London Waterloo, 58 minutes). But there are other medieval sights that deserve your time in Winchester, like the 14th-century Winchester College, the 12th-century St. Cross Hospital and the majestic Great Hall of the former Winchester Castle. At this time the city was known as the “Gateway to the Empire”. There’s a lot of compelling details inside, including 15th-century frescos, an Anglo-Saxon font and a small hoard of artefacts dating to the battle in 1643. One of the best times to visit is during fall when all the leaves on the trees turn a myriad of yellows, oranges, and reds. You’re also on the edge of the Salisbury Plain in Stockbridge, a massive chalk plateau that has been an army training area since the 19th century. The Country Life verdict: You name the club, they do it in this big village that sits at the head of the River Test. First train in: 4.54am; last train home: 12.05am. Best address: Anywhere within the historic St Cross area, says Kate Oliver of Strutt & Parker. Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: ‘With strong education and employment levels, low crime rates and residents loving life, not to mention breathtaking wide open spaces, the Orkney Islands have retained the crown of Britain’s best rural place to live.’. There has been a military harbour here since the Romans, and astounding pieces of heritage are presented to the public: HMS Victory was Lord Nelson’s flagship on which he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.