Rushmoor in Hampshire is the happiest place in the UK, a new survey of life satisfaction in Britain reveals today.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has upgraded its regular survey of well being to take account of health, access to services and crime levels.
Overall, Britons rated their life satisfaction at 7.7 out of 10 and happiness at 7.5 out of 10. Anxiety is scored at 2.9 out of 10.
Rushmoor was the happiest place with residents saying they felt 8.35 out of 10 – a sharp contrast to Fenland in Cambridgeshire, which scored just 6.7.
Scores for each area of Britain can be explored on an interactive map produced by the ONS.
At a country level, average ratings of feeling the things done in life are worthwhile have improved in Scotland, from 7.81 in the year ending March 2017 to 7.88 in the year ending March 2018.
Northern Ireland reported the highest average life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness ratings, and the lowest anxiety ratings, when compared with the UK and the other constituent countries of the UK.
Silvia Manclossi, head of Quality of Life Team, Office for National Statistics, said: ‘An important part of our work is looking beyond the economic health of the country to how its people are faring and inequalities in society.
‘Today, for the first time, we have identified how factors such as health, access to services and crime levels may affect how people rate their well-being in different parts of the UK.
‘This can help local authorities and other organisations to better understand where services could be targeted to help improve the well-being of people in their area.’
Locals in Rushmoor, a Conservative-run borough home to around 95,000 people, today praised its green spaces, transport links and hospital.
The district, which covers Aldershot and Farnborough, boasts its own airport and residents say the area has a strong sense of community.
As well as being the happiest place, Rushmoor also had the highest levels of feeling worthwhile and life satisfaction across the UK.
Former aviation engineer Colin Weeding has lived in the area for 52 years and highlighted the area’s rich military history.
The 72-year-old from Cove, a small village near Farnborough, said: ‘I’m very proud to say that I’m from here.
‘I’ve lived here since I was 20 and never wanted to move away.
‘My wife and I enjoy living here, our village is very peaceful and very friendly and we aren’t far away from the shopping centres.’
He added that Rushmoor council has given permission for a new cinema to be built for the younger people to enjoy.
Best friends Eileen Brady and Iris Burrows, both pensioners, have also lived in Cove all their lives.
The pair worked together in a factory in Farnborough making electrical parts for more than 45 years.
Mrs Brady, a 78 year old mother-of-two, said: ‘Everything is on your doorstep, it’s all 15 minutes away or less.
‘The local people are very friendly and we have always felt very safe. We have seen the area grow over so many years and it’s lovely that it is being recognised as being happy.’
Mrs Burrows, 78, added: ‘We have lived here all our lives and we’ve never felt the urge to leave.
‘There are some beautiful green fields and parks which are lovely to walk in – Queen Elizabeth Park in Farnborough is my favourite and Eileen and I walk there together often.
‘The shops are easy to get to and the bus service is very good, we have never had any problems getting to where we want to go.’
Kim Bullock, a 52-year-old unemployed receptionist from Farnborough, said she was ‘surprised’ that Rushmoor was named the happiest place in the UK.
But she added ‘there are definitely lots of good things in the area’, including Frimley Park Hospital, which she said was ‘fantastic’.
Ms Bullock added: ‘The commuter services are very useful, I’m only a short walk from the train station which can take me straight into London or down to the South Coast.
‘The shopping centres are good and there are lots of cafes which are lovely.’
Kensington & Chelsea, considered one of the UK’s most exclusive postcodes, was the second unhappiest place across the home nations.
People living in the borough of London had an average happiness of 6.82 out of 10, just lower than the 6.83 of South Holland in Lincolnshire.
Copeland in Cumbria clinched the silver medal of the happiest local authorities in the UK, scoring 8.24 out of 10.
It just pipped Newry, Mourne & Down in Northern Ireland, which had an average happiness score of 8.22.
Broxbourne in Hertfordshire reported the most anxiety in the UK – while Lisburn and Castlereagh came in the at the other end of the scale.
Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, had the lowest life satisfaction and the London borough of Bromley scored worst for residents feeling worthwhile.
In terms of the 10 million people living in the capital, the ONS data reveals the happiness rates across London vary greatly.
Kensington and Chelsea was the only borough to score less than seven, and the city as a whole had a rating of 7.44.
Only 11 of the boroughs scored above the UK average of 7.5 for happiness, including Harrow which had the highest rate in the capital.
In terms of anxiety, only three authorities – Wandsworth, Barking and Dagenham, and Barnet – had lower rates than the overall one for England.
Five boroughs scored higher than the national average for feeling worthwhile and life satisfaction.