RESIDENTS of one of the best coastal cities to live in say life is a beach – except for one small problem.
Plymouth was named the happiest city in England last month according to the Totaljobs Quality of Living Index.
It finished ahead of Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Belfast, Manchester and London, who narrowly made it into the top ten.
The jury praised the Devon hotspot, known for its water sports, as an outstanding destination for people who want a healthy work-life balance, more variety and flexibility in their lives.
Locals in the town – a stone’s throw from the unspoilt beauty of Dartmoor National Park – said they were not at all shocked that it tops the table, especially on warm days.
However, they stressed that the biggest downside is the city’s record-breaking annual rainfall, which means it usually gets soggy outside of the balmy summer days.
25-year-old musician Maddie Valance, who moved to the city as a child, told The Sun: “It’s just beautiful to look out over the water in the summer.
“But in the winter it’s a different story, when it’s dark and rainy, it’s just a bit of a bummer.
“The rain is so much worse here than other places, it feels like it’s raining all the time.”
Issy Allen, 22, a longtime Plymouth resident, agreed, adding: “I feel very fortunate to be from Plymouth. I think it’s a great place to live, but winter feels like it lasts forever and it can be depressing when there’s not much to do.”
“Some of the nightclubs are a bit sad but up on the Hoe it’s the best place, it’s definitely a good quality of life there.”
With an average of 84mm of rainfall per month and 149 rainy days per year, Plymouth is regularly cited as one of the rainiest cities in the UK – this is due to the mild winters, high humidity and often overcast skies.
Pensioner Chris Ottley, 80, said: “Everyone is complaining about the rain but that’s what makes the area so green. However, locals know that no matter how nice it looks, you should always carry a raincoat with you when you go out.”
“It’s just a great, friendly place to live, you don’t get that in bigger cities.”
According to the TotalJobs Quality of Living Index, 21 percent of workers say the cost of living made them more likely to consider moving to a less expensive area in the future.
Properties in Plymouth have an average total value of £241,257, according to Rightmove, with the average property in Manchester selling for £284,276 last year.
Amanda Nicholson, 58, a retired store manager who moved to Plymouth from Yorkshire 20 years ago for work and never left, says she was immediately drawn to the relaxed lifestyle.
She said: “My company put me up in a hotel overlooking the Hoe and I remember enjoying the view and just falling in love – and I never get tired of it, it’s so beautiful.”
“Real estate prices are pretty decent, you get a lot more bang for your buck here than in bigger cities.”
Cities that offer the best commute times, high levels of local satisfaction, and access to affordable housing were all key to ranking the best city overall.
But locals say that while Plymouth offers people a good quality of life, the offering lags behind major hubs like London and Manchester.
Oceanographer Robert Wilson, 40, said: “It’s a nice place to be in the summer and have an after work BBQ, but I would like more activities and improvements to the town center throughout the year.”
“It can be frustrating when you’re interested in live music because it’s a long way from the rest of the country and big artists rarely perform here.”