COLCHESTER has the perfect combination of coastline, culture and countryside, according to the town’s mayor.

The historic town has been named one of the top places to live in the UK for 2021.

Property experts Garrington ranked 1,372 places to create the definitive league table of post-Covid property hotspots.

Locations were scored on their proximity to open water, national parks and areas of outstanding beauty, the number of listed and period homes, air quality, crime figures and the number of farm shops within a three mile radius.

Bath took first place thanks to its architecture and nearby rolling hills and open spaces.

Colchester came in 172nd place in the rankings, above many of its Essex neighbours.

Garrington ranked the town in 259th place for natural beauty and 264th for architectural beauty.

Quality of life in the town was also ranked in 259th place.

The good value price of homes in Colchester also pushed it up the rankings, with the average family home costing between £350,000 and £650,000.

This put it in 106th place out of 605 places in its price band.

Colchester’s mayor Robert Davidson said: “The population of Colchester is growing massively but people choose to stay here as you have a perfect combination of coastline, culture and countryside.

“Transport links are great here and property prices are much cheaper than Chelmsford.”

Colchester’s MP Will Quince said he is proud to call the town his home.

He added: “We have an outstanding collection of schools and educational establishments for our young people to learn and develop.

“Our cultural attractions are amongst the finest within the UK with arts, heritage, theatre and performance venues that provide fantastic entertainment and enrichment for residents, but also for visitors from further afield.

Autumnal scene - Christine Chambers appreciated this gorgeous blue sky and autumnal setting during a walk at High Woods Country Park

Autumnal scene - Christine Chambers appreciated this gorgeous blue sky and autumnal setting during a walk at High Woods Country Park

“We have a world-leading zoo and are lucky to have award winning public parks and green spaces, as well as being a stone’s throw from the sunshine coast with its fine sandy beaches, not to forget Mersea Island and all its charm.

“I’ve personally encountered a real sense of kindness and community mindedness amongst residents.

“There is a genuine desire to make the most of Colchester’s unique assets and to look after the people who live here.”

09/03/2016.colchester castle museum.

09/03/2016.colchester castle museum.

Sir Bob Russell, High Steward of Colchester, said: “Despite all the new housing developments over the past 60 years, which have dramatically altered the rural fringes and openness surrounding the urban core of the Colchester I grew up in and have spent most of my life living, for me this is the best place in the country.

“My love for my home town (historically we are Britain’s first city) is not to disparage other places with their own unique characteristics, but on my travels over the years around the UK and overseas it is always a delight to come home.”

His favourite places in the town are Castle Park and High Woods Country Park.

He added: “We have heritage aplenty.

“More needs to be done to promote that.

“I am pleased to see more people living in the centre of town.

“Colchester is not utopia but a walk through our award-winning Castle Park or in High Woods Country Park will illustrate why this is a great place to live.”

Another north Essex town which ranked highly was Halstead which finished in 107th place.

It was praised for its natural beauty, quality of life, architecture and the cost of its homes.

Colchester’s statistics:

Overall rank: 172 out of 1,372

Natural beauty rank: 359 out of 1,372

Quality of life rank: 259 out of 1,372

Architectural beauty rank: 264 out of 1,372

Average family home cost: £350,000 to £650, 000 - rank in price band: 106 out of 605

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