Exeter has been named one of the 20 best places in the country to live by the Sunday Times, labeling the capital of Devon 'a glorious gateway to the west'. A new category of 'old favourites' has been created for this year's annual survey, featuring towns and cities which have made the list a number of times before.
The newspaper's annual rankings are based on statistics including how the city's schools and crime levels compare to the national average. The Times said: "Could there be a more perfectly positioned city? It has two national parks and plenty of plum coastline on the doorstep, and you're not cut off from the rest of the country. The M5 can be a nightmare in the summer holidays, but there's always the train, which will get you to London in a little over two hours (though it slows down considerably as it heads west)."
The report says Exeter is the fastest growing city in the UK because of a growing number of part-time commuters, who work from home thanks to the city's excellent ultrafast broadband.
It reads: "Nowhere is this more evident than in the leafy, stuccoed district of St Leonard's. It's the place to live, and even the shabbiest period semi will set you back £600,000. Here you'll find Waitrose, the best schools and a host of independent shops: butcher, deli, fishmonger and baker, and coffee and interiors stores."
The report also notes how Exeter is addressing its reputation for a bland High Street, thanks to some new 'superior brands'.
It says: "The centre tends towards blandness (40% of the city's shops are chains), though superior brands such as Turtle Bay, Absurd Bird and GBK in the new Queen Street Food Court are a welcome addition. For more individual fare, the Rendezvous, in the nicely old-fashioned Southernhay business district (Georgian offices for accountants and solicitors), serves carefully prepared business lunches and classy romantic dinners."
The full 'old favourites' top 20
1. Amersham, Buckinghamshire
7. Cobham, Surrey
8. Dulwich, London
13. Highgate, London
14. Llandaff, Cardiff
15. Mayfair, London
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