The eight best places to live Leicestershire have been chosen as part of a competition to find the most desirable town or village in the UK.
The contest, which has been hosted by urban guiders to the countryside, Muddy Stilettos, aims to crown the best place to live outside of London in 2022, with the public urged to vote and select their winner earlier this year.
Leicestershire was well-supported in the contest, having eight nominated places in the running for the title.
READ MORE:Things to do in Leicester and Leicestershire
From a range of villages to bustling market towns, Muddy Stilettos’ list takes into account average house prices, shopping options, eateries, schools, the commute and nearby attractions.
They also list the nominated areas’ best-kept secret. Here’s a rundown of the places that were chosen by the public, but which but came out on top?
Hailed for its “great shopping” and “beautiful buildings”, Market Harborough topped the list for its growing arts and culture scene, making the pretty market town hard to beat for a place to call home.
Described by the Muddy Stilettos’ team as a “perfect place” for those seeking country living without being too far from the city, Market Harborough is “one of the liveliest market towns in the county”, hosting boutique shopping and fab foodie places.
The town also has its history, with the Harborough Museum in the town, while its best-kept secret lies in neighbouring Wistow – which comes under the Harborough district – with people urged to take on Wistow’s Maze.
As market towns go, Ashby is among the best and is described by the Muddy Stilettos team as full of “pretty period properties” with the “luscious National Forest” on its doorstep. That’s why it grabbed the silver medal for the county.
Full of restaurants and pubs in its bustling town centre, North West Leicestershire’s Ashby was praised for its sheer variety of shopping options, ranging from a clutch of indie boutiques to wine merchants.
At the heart of the town are stunning Bath Grounds and Ashby Castle, the latter of which is a ruined fortification built by Lord Hastings – a favourite of Edward IV, making the town rich in history and sheer beauty.
Those not up on their history can take in the knowledge that the town is where Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole originates from, while Ashby also boasts a lido – one of the few remaining in the UK.
Into the city of Leicester now for third place, with Muddy Stilettos hailing Clarendon Park as a place for cool professionals and students.
Thriving with indie shops, Clarendon Park is described as “upbeat part of the city”, chocked full of bars and lively eateries, which add to the area’s relaxed community vibe.
On appearances, the roads are “filled with Victorian terraced houses” that have recently undergone part of the area’s transformation, with the high street now said to be “buzzing”, making it a “great place for young professionals” with the city centre on their doorstep.
Within walking distance is Victoria Park and a whole host of other Leicester attractions including the National Space Centre and the King Richard III Visitor Centre.
Fact fans will also delight in Clarendon Park being where Leicester’s famous playwright, Joe Orton, lived in the 1930s.
Crossing over the border into Rutland, Oakham is described as “as charming as the Cotswolds”, but without the hefty price tag.
A characterful town that’s centred around its “quaint market place and buzzing high street”, Oakham is seen as a popular place for Londoners to settle down in because of its “laid-back country charm and good travel connections” according to Muddy Stilettos.
Full of great places to eat in, Oakham is also steeped in history courtesy of Oakham Castle and the Rutland County Museum, where people can explore the exciting archaeology discoveries of the area.
With average property prices of £264,057, Oakham’s best-kept secrets can be found within its castle where the Great Hall is the finest surviving example of Norman domestic architecture.
Previously voted the ‘best place to live in the Midlands’ by The Sunday Times, Muddy Stilettos say that Uppingham “has it all”, with the “quietly attractive” area being abundant in community spirit.
Described as a “charming market town”, Uppingham is filled with old stone buildings, period properties and a pretty high street, while its art scene is up there with the best. The town’s Goldmark Gallery hosts a range of prints from the likes of Warhol and Picasso, but if art is not your thing, fun in also an option courtesy of Uppingham’s self-guided murder mystery-themed Treasure Trail.
With average property prices set at around £317,928, Uppingham is well-served on the education front courtesy of its co-ed 16th century Uppingham School.
Famous alumni here include national treasure Stephen Fry, chef Rick Stein and broadcaster Johnny Vaughan.
Exton is described as “small but perfectly formed”, while Muddy Stilettos think it could “the most beautiful village in Rutland”.
If that’s quite a moniker to live up to, then Exton does a good job of keeping up its end of the bargain with the village centred around a beautiful English tree-planted village green.
“It’s the definition of a rural idyll,” say the Muddy Stilettos’ team, who reveal that the village is chocked full of fab eating places and gorgeous shops that have some of the finest jewellery on offer.
As for attractions, country estate Exton Park offers wonderful scenic views for all who visit, while Barnsdale Gardens is also praised as it features Britain’s largest collection of individually designed gardens.
As for the best-kept secret, Exton’s grand church of St Peter and St Paul lies within Exton park and contains an impressive collection of monuments.
Put on the list as a top place for those wanting a “quaint village life”, people who want to move to Kibworth Beauchamp will be forever charmed by its bustling high street.
Called a “lively little village” with a “big heart and even bigger community spirit”, Kibworth Beauchamp is surrounded by the countryside and has a top supply of eateries that pride themselves on locally sourced produce.
Those not fussed about the food can have fun at nearby Windmill Farm Park, which previously won the ‘Best Family Attraction’ in the Muddy Stilettos Awards.
Last, but by no means, worse is Rothley on the Leicestershire. Described as a “delightful des res” village, it made the shortlist for its luxurious – but pricey – homes. However, it gained much praise too.
With average house prices of £406,000, Rothley is an elegant village that boasts a “friendly community spirit” centered around the Woodgate area. Rothley’s main shopping street is also praised, while the village’s great links with neighbouring Mountsorrel make it an enticing option for would-be house buyers.
Steeped in history courtesy of the Rothley Court Hotel – whose sweeping driveway was originally mentioned in the Domesday Book – Rothley also has a beautiful restored railway station that is still lit by gas light and gives an idea of a bygone era.
Cinefiles and TV lovers will also enjoy the fact that this very station has been on the big and small screen, featuring in the 1988 film Buster and a 2004 Miss Marple TV adaptation.
More information about the Muddy Stilettos vote can be found here.
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