Happy Harborough is smiles ahead in UK list

Areas of natural beauty such as this rolling countryside in Foxton were praised in The Times' Bricks and Mortar supplement
Areas of natural beauty such as this rolling countryside in Foxton were praised in The Times' Bricks and Mortar supplement

Hot on the heels of being named as one of the top 50 towns in the country, Market Harborough has now been deemed one of the happiest market towns in the UK.

And a happiness expert – yes, there really is such a thing – has confirmed to the Mail that the town where you live does have a big impact on your wellbeing.

National newspaper The Times singled out Market Harborough, based on research from the Office for National Statistics.

The newspaper, in its Bricks & Mortar supplement, highlighted the top 15 market towns in Britain, and included Market Harborough at number seven.

The town’s happiness was linked to its good collection of shops and restaurants, its schools and its proximity to lovely countryside and unspoilt villages.

The town’s property prices were also praised.

And for The Times, speed getting to London was also linked to happiness.

But can the place where you live really effect your happiness?

The Mail asked Dr Mark Williamson, the director of a London-based charity called Action for Happiness.

He said: “Yes, our local communities have a big impact on our happiness and wellbeing.”

But his list of “happy factors” was slightly different from The Times’ list.

Dr Williamson said: “We are social creatures and perhaps the greatest contributor to our happiness is the quality of our relationships – so places where people know their neighbours and feel a sense of trust and community cohesion tend to be happier.

“Our mental wellbeing is also boosted by our proximity to green space and the extent to which our local environment encourages an active lifestyle.”

Last month, it was The Sunday Times which featured Harborough as one of the top 50 towns in the UK.

The town’s estate agents have been pleased by the latest rankings.

William Naylor, director at Naylors estate agents on The Square, said: “It’s great to see market towns, especially Market Harborough, getting the recognition they deserve.”

And Andrew Marshall, from the town’s Fine and Country estate agency in High Street, was quoted in The Times’ piece saying: “Having so many astonishing areas of natural beauty and unspoilt villages on your doorstep yet being alongside top schools, shops and restaurants is an attractive prospect.”