Exeter is officially one of the best places to live in the country

By Neil_Shaw | Posted: March 13, 2017

Comments (14)

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

2. Bath

3. Cambridge

4. Cheltenham

5. Chester

6. Chichester

7. Cobham, Surrey

8. Dulwich, London

9. Edinburgh

10. Exeter

11. Falmouth

12. Harrogate

13. Highgate, London

14. Llandaff, Cardiff

15. Mayfair, London

16. Oxford

17. Skipton

18. Stamford

19. Winchester

20. York


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  • devondan | March 16 2017, 12:22PM

    H20ADE - You seem to blame a lot of things that people have problems with anywhere in the country though, getting gigs for tickets is hard (if you're going for the big acts) but that's got nothing to do with Devon, that's anywhere... in the world... depending on artists venues! There's regular stuff at the Phoenix, Firehouse, and probably a lot, lot more. Also, just because people write positive comments - and don't agree - doesn't mean there's some weird conspiracy. Surely it's just another opinion? A lot of comment seem (I'm judging) to be written by people who don't like change, which I'd think means they're older or been here for a long time, and maybe not lived elsewhere? Progress is exactly that, change happens, enjoy life should be the aim, even if it's hard - love the simple things, it's that easy really.

  • H20ADE | March 16 2017, 12:03PM

    Strange how certain articles suddenly attract readers who would appear to be promoting Exeter City Council. Makes you wonder if the word is being put around the office for staff to comment

    | -24
  • H20ADE | March 16 2017, 12:00PM

    Sounds like the supporters of this article don't want fair funding for our Schools or affordable housing for the residents

    | -21
  • Batgirl82 | March 14 2017, 9:55AM

    Clearly written by someone who hasn't set foot in the place

    | -30
  • JonB27 | March 14 2017, 7:31AM

    This article is written by some London focused writer who sees everything from that point of view. The reality of excessive students numbers is responsible for the focus in shops and eaters moving towards the South East. We are only lacking the supporting infrastructure of adequate roads, public transport, hospitals etc.

    | -32
  • StDavidEcho | March 13 2017, 8:04PM

    Just had my council tax bill today. A bit ratty now. Not sure what I get for it. There must be some truly awful places in the UK although I suspect it uses a kind of Betjeman criteria in the survey. OK all the rip off, poor value bits in my council tax are Devon CC 's rake off and nothing to do with Exeter CC. Naturally when I look at the stock photos above all my pernicious thoughts of my 1.5 grand or k per year going on vanity projects or paying badly negotiated loans or Police Commissioners etc ...etc just fade away. Maybe life is about troughing burgers which incidently oop Noth they call a mate bap wee out owt. Plum coastline sounds as if it comes from a hikers' tourist guide book of the 1920s. Yep Exeter's a jolly fine spot and bally spiffing to boot.

    | -26
  • johnand | March 13 2017, 5:29PM

    Living in Exeter is great so long as you don't want to journey anywhere except by foot ... and you'll probably get to where you're going faster too. Attempting to drive anywhere in and around Exeter has become a most unpleasant experience. Shocking traffic planning and management.

  • H20ADE | March 13 2017, 5:26PM

    I want fair funding for our State Schools and affordable housing for those wishing to leave home and start a life of their own. I do not want boutique eateries nor more McDonalds etc. You admit that the SWest is more expensive but despite what you read in earlier headlines the average wage is lower than a large percentage of the Country which makes it difficult to go to gigs etc, assuming you can get tickets.

    | -24
  • devondan | March 13 2017, 5:02PM

    P.S. I'm on a rental 'ladder', and local, so I guess it just comes down to want you want from life?

  • devondan | March 13 2017, 5:01PM

    I grew up in Devon and returned here after 5 years or so up in London. We could barely afford a studio flat - which was basically a slightly nicer bedsit - and that was the case for almost everyone I know. Sure, Exeter might not have the best infrastructure of public transports but there's gigs, good food places, great pubs and - if you want it - things to do of all sorts. You've just got to look a little harder sometimes! The South-West is more expensive, generally, than a little bit more up North as well (also lived there) so maybe the key here is to try living somewhere else and see the good stuff later on? It isn't all being turned into student accomodation either, some places are - sure - but there's more families and working people here than the papers like to allow for.