South Cambridgeshire is the best rural place to live in the UK, based on residents’ health, life expectancy, employment, school performance and regional climate, according to a new survey by Halifax. Respondents in this area reported 95% general good health, and have a higher than average life expectancy (81.6 years). South Cambridgeshire also has a high employment rate with many residents enjoying high incomes, the report states.

The level of school qualifications is above the national average and residents also enjoy a relatively good climate with significantly less rainfall per year than the national average.

Residents in southern England generally enjoy the best rural quality of life with over two thirds of the top rated 50 areas located in the south. The South East rates highest with fifteen local rural areas placed in the top 50, followed by the East of England (14) and the South West (7). The remainder is split between nine in East Midlands, three in the West Midlands and two in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Key Facts

* Employment is highest in Ryedale in North Yorkshire and in the Shetlands (both with 86.0%). Also scoring well are the Orkney Islands (83.4%) and Forest Heath (82.3%).

* Average earnings are highest in Chiltern followed by East Hertfordshire and Waverley in Surrey and South Oxfordshire.

* The biggest homes are in Chiltern, where the average house in this district has 6.4 rooms.

* The lowest burglary rates per 10,000 households are in the Western Isles followed by North Wiltshire and Orkney Islands.

* The sunniest place in Great Britain is the Isle of Wight where residents enjoy an average of 37.4 hours of sunshine a week.

* The best GCSE results in England are in the Isles of Scilly, Teesdale and Wear Valley in County Durham where respectively 91% and 84% of 15 to16 year olds achieved five or more GCSE results, grades A-C. In Scotland the highest results for 16 year olds gaining five or more awards at SCQF level 4 are in Shetland Islands (91%) and Orkney Islands (85%). In Wales, pupils in Powys had the best GCSE results (67%).

* Country houses for sale in South Cambridgeshire