Ely town in Cambridgeshire offers Briton's best quality of life

  • The average resident earns £100 a week more than the national average

  • Region also enjoys the most sunshine a year

  • And residents live longest on average

Becky Barrow

18:03 EST, 29 March 2012


18:03 EST, 29 March 2012

For city dwellers dreaming of escaping for a better life in the country, the good news is you won’t have to move far.

East Cambridgeshire, which encompasses Ely and Haddenham, offers the best quality of life in Britain, a study reveals. 

Ely is just a 90-minute commute from central London.

Residents in Ely are known for their mansion homes

Residents in Ely are known for their mansion homes

Other top ten rural districts in the Halifax study include Wychavon in Worcestershire, bordering the city of Worcester, and Waverley in Surrey, which is just over an hour’s drive from London.

The research looked at 119 rural local authority districts, considering factors such as income and life expectancy.

It found the 80,300 residents of East Cambridgeshire earn more money, have bigger houses, live longer and enjoy more sunshine. A typical baby born in East Cambridgeshire will live for 82 years, compared to 78 across the UK.

The average resident earns around £100 a
week more than the national average, with a typical household enjoying a
gross income of £707 a week.

Ely which has a number of attractions like the Cathedral enjoys more sunshine than any other region in the UK

Ely which has a number of attractions like the Cathedral enjoys more sunshine than any other region in the UK


1. East Cambridgeshire 

2. Wychavon, Worcestershire 

3. South Cambridgeshire

4. East Hertfordshire 

5. Waverley, Surrey 

6. Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire 

7. Rushcliffe, Nottingham  

8. Uttlesford, Essex 

9. Rutland  

10. Chiltern, Buckinghamshire

Homeowners are likely to have bigger houses, enjoying an average of nearly seven rooms, compared to a national average of five.

However, perfection comes at a price. A typical home costs £214,031, compared to the average price of a property in rural Britain of £195,461.

And locals bask in 30 hours of sunshine a week, which is just over the national average.

Martin Ellis, of the Halifax, said: ‘In recent years, East Cambridgeshire has performed consistently well to demonstrate that its residents have among the best quality of life in rural Britain.’

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts,
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I had the misfortune of growing up in this awful, awful place. Yes, it is very pretty – but the town centre is being ruined by big chains (Costa, Pizza Express) and the old fashioned locally run businesses have disappeared quickly. There are few amenities for the young – you only have to look at Paradise Swimming Pool as an example! The developers have well and truly got hold of Ely and soon there will be no divide between it and the surrounding villages. The border between Ely and Queen Adelaide is blurring before your eyes. It wasn’t so long ago that Ely Community College was featured in the DM for the parent’s poor reaction to the Headteacher trying to instill some discipline. The reality is that Ely does NOT have most families living in mansions – the author clearly didn’t go through New Barns Avenue or High Barns….

Moved to Ely from London 6 months ago hoping for a better quality of life for my family and it may look pretty but I would much rather be back in London. The mums at the school are rude and have their little groups which if you are not in you are looked down upon. As you are walking round the pretty town centre you get barged and then get looked at as if it’s your fault. Don’t get me wrong as a place it’s lovely but the majority of people I have come across do not match their environment.

My wife and I were both born and lived near Ely and we both worked there when we left school. I couldn’t get out of the fens quick enough in those days. It has improved over the years and we still call it home. The ship of the fens, ‘ The Cathedral ‘ is one of the best of its kind in the country and to see it when approaching from Soham is a joy.
I was there last week and it will always be home. Once a Fen Tiger, always a Fen Tiger. Us old ones don’t like being part of Cambridgeshire, we prefer to revert back to our proper name – ‘The Isle of Ely’

Well its flat as a pancake and in the middle of nowhere.
If you like a peaceful, boring, monotonous existence that’s fine but you will need the considerable expense of a trek for any excitement.
But then I suppose if you live somewhere like that it WILL be exciting to go on a trek

I moved here 6 years ago and I love it. It’s generally peaceful, safe, 15 minutes to Cambridge on the train for more shops and city life and and hour and 10 minute direct trains to London with more direct lines to Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted airport (2 stops) for that cheap getaway. There’s a great twice weekly ‘proper’ market, great restaurants and plentiful shops in it’s small but very pretty and well equipped town centre. Not to mention it’s stunning cathedral. What could be better? It’s not everyone’s cup of tea (lots of tea rooms) and it’s not 100% perfect but it’s close! Oh, and by the way, it’s the driest region in the country.

Sounds good for now, but things will be sure to take a turn for the worst when all of the swan-eaters from neighbouring towns make their way there.

I know someone who lives in Ely and they don’t even have a job, nice town though.

Shouldn’t the headline read “Britain’s”?

Well, that’s stuffed Ely.

Ely – the only place where, in my long life, I have ever had abuse shouted at me in the street.

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