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Stamford named second best place to live in UK in Sunday Times readers’ poll

Stamford. Photo: SM240712-003ow
Stamford. Photo: SM240712-003ow

It may not come as much of a surprise to many that live in the town but Stamford has been voted the second best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times readers.

Stamford was voted Best Place to Live in the UK in the Sunday Time’s annual list in 2013 which was based on hard data from crime statistics to house prices.

And now it has come second in the paper’s Best Places Top 20 perennials, the list which celebrates the places that have that have appeared in almost every list over the past five years.

A supplement in the paper said: “For all the picture-postcard perfection of its 600 listed buildings (the 1994 BBC adaptation of Middlemarch was filmed here) or the water meadows that line the sparkling River Welland, our inaugural winning location remains a genuine and down-to-earth spot.

“A one-change rail route via Peterborough can see you at King’s Cross in an hour and a quarter, yet Stamford has been spared the hipster invasion — flat caps are worn without irony here. Its pleasures tend towards the traditional, whether it’s carrot cake and a cuppa at the Central tearooms, dinner at the George (venison with beetroot and feta £27.75) or a foaming pint of ale at the nouveau-rustique Tobie Norris pub. There’s an active arts scene, with the touring shows at the Corn Exchange Theatre and community-based events at the Arts Centre.

“The thriving Friday market stretches from posh cheese to wellies, and the arrival of a Jack Wills last year suggests the chains are noticing the area’s understated affluence. Happily, there’s still room for old stalwarts such as the handy hardware store Harrison & Dunn. Traffic can be an issue in a town designed for four-legged transport — even the A1 doesn’t always fare well.”

Whether they believe that the town came up trumps in the poll because of the good schools it has or its Georgian architecture, Stamford’s residents all share the view that it has lots to offers visitors.

John Dawson, mayor of the town, said: “I am not at all surprised. We have got the Stamford Exchange, Burghley House, good quality shops, a railway line where you can catch the train to Birmingham and get a flight there.

“If you go around a lot of towns they do not have a proper high street but we have a proper high street. There are many times in the year where you can’t get a bed & breakfast because they are always full.

“We have got good schools, people want their children to be educated well and we have got good schools, even if you are going to an ordinary school, they are all rated as ‘good’ [by Ofsted].”

Mr Dawson said he is so content living in Stamford that he will be spending the rest of his days living in the town, “I am going out in a box - I won’t be leaving anytime soon.”

Graham Burley, manager of the Stamford Arts Centre and the Tourist Information Centre in the town was also elated with the accolade.

He said: “We are very pleased and proud of the town. It is always wonderful to be places at the top of something. It is just a wonderful place.”

Graham said ranking so highly in the poll was the “icing on the cake” in a year in which the town is also celebrating its 50th anniversary of becoming the first urban conservation area in England and will be hosting the Stamford Georgian Festival which celebrates colourful heritage and architecture in the town.

“This tops a very exiting year, we are very, very pleased. It is nice that readers have appreciated it.”

The Best Places to Live supplements assess a wide range of factors, from jobs, exam results and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops in order to compile the definitive top locations in the country.

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