Wooler named one of the best places to live in the UK in Sunday Times guide
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And it is the town’s new £16m whisky distillery and visitor centre which is already helping to put it on the map.
Judges said: “The new Ad Gefrin Anglo Saxon Museum is putting a spring in the step of this vibrant town, which is already home to a friendly, artistic community.
"For many, life here is the ultimate post-pandemic dream: living in the middle of nowhere but still being able to pop out to buy artisan cheese or attend a poetry reading.”
Eileen Ferguson, co-founder of Ad Gefrin, said: “This is such exciting news. Of course, we have always known what a wonderful community Wooler is to be part of.
"Local people have supported us from the beginning, and we hope that Ad Gefrin will continue to be embraced by locals and visitors alike. We truly believe this is the start of a new golden age for Wooler and north Northumberland.”
Cllr Mark Mather, Wooler ward member on Northumberland County Council, added: “It’s fantastic recognition.
"We have got a lot of things going for us in this area but Ad Gefrin has undoubtedly put more of a focus on it.
"We’re the gateway to the Cheviots and the national park which is amazing but what I love most about Wooler is the people and the community.
"It’s the willingness to help others, whether it’s Storm Arwen, the pandemic or just a neighbour who needs a hand and that is what makes it special.”
He added: “I hope this recognition will encourage people to spend a bit longer here and explore what Wooler and the wider Glendale area has to offer.”
Whitley Bay was named best place to live in the region.
Judges were impressed by its beautiful coastline and the thoughtful regeneration that, after a few years in the doldrums, has helped the seaside town start to catch up with its neighbour Tynemouth, which has featured regularly in previous editions of the Best Places to Live guide.
“The houses are cheaper here, the connections to Newcastle just as good and the beach, with its famous lighthouse, every bit as beautiful,” said the judging panel.
"The most impressive thing here has been the transformation of Park View into one of the best independent shopping streets in the country, with its artisan bakery, brunch spots and microbrewery, as well as more traditional outlets such as a shoe-repairer and the butcher.”
Other locations from the North East and Yorkshire featured are Ouseburn in Newcastle, Thirsk in North Yorkshire, Leeds, Holmfirth and Ilkley in West Yorkshire and Sheffield (Kelham Island) in South Yorkshire.
Helen Davies, the editor of Best Places to Live 2023, said: “When times are tough, where we live matters more than ever. Attractive surroundings, good neighbours and a comfortable home are the best defences when the stresses of modern life seem overwhelming.
“This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2023.”
Wadhurst in East Sussex was named the overall winner of Best Places to Live.
Judges visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.
Morpeth, Alnmouth, Alnwick, Rothbury, Corbridge, Craster and Low Newton-by-the-Sea have featured in recent years.
The 2023 guide will be published in The Sunday Times on March 26 or visit http://thetimes.co.uk/bestplacestolive