The Cotswolds market town of Stroud has topped The Times’ annual list of best places to live in the UK.
The town was one of 78 locations from around the country which were included in The Times and The Sunday Times round-up of the best places to live, coming out on top.
According to the newspaper: “Stroud is lively, local and independent – three of the best things a town can be, but it also has the basics covered in style. The schools are excellent, the transport links good, it has a strong community spirit and the surrounding Cotswolds countryside is delightfully verdant.”
“Stride out in any direction and you’ll find yourself somewhere stunning, ideally on one of the commons – Minchinhampton, Rodborough or Selsley – where you can gaze in wonder at the views across the Severn Vale and into Wales.”
“It’s so beautiful,” says the novelist Jilly Cooper, who has lived in Stroud for nearly 40 years. “These incredible valleys are carpeted with green grass, often with a stream at the bottom and mighty trees higher up. The stone of the houses is like a mirror: grey on grey days, shiny when the sun’s out and glowing red at sunset. It’s great dog-walking country and everyone gets on with everyone else.”
What brings everyone together is the Saturday farmers’ market, with 50 stalls one of the best in the UK, and big on all things organic.
The average house price is £265,000, with the most expensive and sought-after homes in Rodborough and Minchinhampton.
“It’s a real seller’s market here. There’s a serious lack of stock,” says Gemma Goulding, manager of the Stroud branch of Hamptons International estate agency. "Basically, the locals love it so much they don’t want to move!”
Other facets of Stroud that were name-dropped in The Times' article included the Stroud Valleys Artspace, the Stroud Brewery Bar, the music pub The Prince Albert, and the new Five Valleys Development which is due to open next month with a new Sandersons Boutique department store