Corbridge and Tynemouth also feature in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, with the Howardian Hills in North Yorkshire coming top in the north/north east region.
The Sunday Times’ expert judges assess a wide range of factors, from schools, transport and broadband speed to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
Of Alnwick, they said: ‘You may not move to an area just because it has a castle, but in Alnwick, another entry on this year’s list, you simply can’t ignore the magical seat of the Percy family, who have been in residence for more than 700 years.
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‘In fact, there’s no getting away from it: turn a corner near Superdrug, on the shopping thoroughfare of Bondgate Within, and up it rears. The ghost of Harry Potter looms large, too: it’s 20 years since scenes for the first film of JK Rowling’s books were shot beneath those brooding battlements, but fans still turn up.’
The guide also uses robust statistics, including up-to-date house prices, provided by mortgage company Habito and TwentyCi.
Helen Davies, The Sunday Times Home editor said: "Our advice is simple. Think about everything you love and everything you hate, then make sure you have access to the good things while minimising exposure to the bad ones.
“Never has where you live felt more important. This year we have, along with house prices, air quality, good schools and access to green spaces, championed locations that have showcased great community spirit.”
The rankings of the top 10 locations for each region – and 101 across the UK – can be viewed at: www.sundaytimes.co.uk/bestplacestolive
The overall winner will be revealed on Sunday, March 22, when the full guide is published.
North/North East Top 10: Winner – Howardian Hills, North Yorkshire, average property price £312,000, average rent per month £725.
Others (not in order of ranking): Alnwick, £220,000, £525; Beverley, East Yorkshire, £220,000, £625; Corbridge, £325,000, £675; Roundhay, Leeds, £285,000, £725; Ripon, North Yorkshire, £219,995, £650; Saltaire, West Yorkshire, £180,000, £550; Ranmoor, Sheffield, £230,000, £625; Tynemouth, £159,950, £525; York, £210,000, £725.