According to the Family Hotspots Report by OneFamily, the historic market town of Wokingham has been crowned the best place in England and Wales for families to live.
The annual report, which was released this week and is now in its fifth year, outlines the best places for families to move to in England and Wales by scrutinising everything from education, safety and childcare costs to local amenities, affordable property and green spaces.
The small town of Wokingham, situated close to Reading and just 33 miles from London, has won top spot for the second time. It also beat the competition back in 2012. Singer Will Young and Olympic rowing champion Anna Watkins were both born there, while the town has also featured in a number of film and TV productions. These include The Vicar of Dibley, Primeval and Superman.
Once upon a time it was most famous for its Bell Foundry, nowadays the town owes its desirability to extremely low crime rates, impressive Key Stage 2 results and high salaries (the average salary in the town stands at £27,362 compared to the average of £21,982 across England and Wales). In addition, it has high-performing schools, a number of quaint or grand-looking churches, an art gallery and frequent trains to the capital. London Paddington can be reached in under an hour, which makes Wokingham absolutely ideal for commuter families.
“I am truly delighted that once again Wokingham has been named as the best place for families to live in the UK,” Philip Mirfin, Wokingham‘s Town Mayor, commented. “We are very fortunate to enjoy excellent schools at every Key Stage, together with some beautiful open spaces and a safe town that has a genuine community spirit.”
He added: “We pride ourselves in the arts and culture we offer and this ranges from our May Cultural month through to family fun days, theatre in the park and large scale annual events such as the Food Festival, May Fayre and Winter Carnival.”
The tiny village of Winscombe in Somerset took second place in the Family Hotspots Report, thanks to its excellent Early Years Childcare, low crime rates and above average salaries. Faringdon, a market town in Oxfordshire, scooped third place.
“Life’s milestone moments are often exciting but they can also be stressful, and moving house is right up there with the most difficult,” Karl Elliott, spokesperson at OneFamily, said.
“That’s why as one of the largest mutual insurers in the UK, which has been helping families for over 40 years, we have created an easy way to help them find the best place to live. This includes our report and the Family Hotspots calculator. Anyone visiting the Hotspots page on our website can simply enter a postcode and see how different areas fare.”
He concluded: “It helps answer the key questions when you’re trying to find the right home, including, are we near the right school for our children? Is it safe? Do we have everything we want nearby?”
OneFamily has created a Family Hotspots calculator which analyses over 70 different sets of criteria, allowing families or property investors to identify some of the UK's best locations for family living.