Is Orkney really the best place in the country to live?
PUBLISHED: 16:08 29 January 2019
Orkney has been crowned the UK's best place to live in an annual quality of life survey. But can that be right? Surely Suffolk must have a decent shout?
Halifax says Orkney ticks all the boxes (after being runner-up for the past two years), and is the best place to live.
I beg to differ.
The Halifax survey looks at a range of data covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education, health, personal wellbeing and leisure to rank the areas with the best quality of life.
High employment levels, a low crime rate, strong exam results, smaller primary school class sizes and good health and happiness scores helped propel Orkney to the top spot, Halifax said.
I’m Ipswich born and bred, and appreciate all my town and county has to offer.
When my children were young we had a beach hut at Felixstowe, and sometimes holidayed at home, on the Norfolk coast or in France, an easy holiday journey.
I would like to visit the Scottish islands one day, but haven’t quite made it yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I have travelled extensively, as far as Central America and Vietnam, but always look forward to returning home to Suffolk.
I know exactly why Ed Sheeran is telling his music friends to move here.
My friends who came to stay with us in Suffolk always said, ”you have so much here”.
They couldn’t believe we had a choice of indoor swimming pools in easy driving distance, as well as forests and beaches.
We did take a static caravan in Scotland one year and it rained constantly. When we woke up, the second day, all the touring caravans had scarpered.
Suffolk has a great climate, beautiful countryside for walks and is a superb place to live.
We can’t all afford to live in Southwold or Aldeburgh, but property prices in other parts of the county including Ipswich are still affordable for many, and in reach of first-time buyers.
I know several people who have found their retirement homes in up-and-coming Felixstowe too.
Personally I prefer Ipswich, I love the buzz and the vibrancy and the fact that I always meet people I know when I am out and about at events.
Once made, people remain friends for life here.
I love Ipswich Town (difficult at the moment, I know)
I love the parks.
I love the theatre - professional and amateur, live music and art, all here in bundles.
The Wolsey, the Sir John Mills and the Regent provide all types of entertainment. Such a lot of local talent.
It used to be said there was a pub for every day of the year in Ipswich.
Not any more - now there are more than 300 restaurants and cafes, and food from every corner of the world.
Bury St Edmunds and Framlingham are fun for days out and only a short drive away, while Norwich and Cambridge are easier to reach by train.
There is lots to see and do in Essex and London is easy to get to.
Ipswich has always had a rich mix of art and culture. We have Rodin’s The Kiss at Christchurch Mansion at the moment, and Ed Sheeran’s concerts in Chantry Park this summer.
It is our mansion, they are our parks to enjoy all year round.
The Orkneys clearly have a lot going for them. But their main attraction, remoteness, is a negative for me.
Give me Suffolk’s weather, people and places any day.
What do you think? What are your favourite things about Suffolk?