Boasting one of the finest Georgian market squares the UK has to offer, Newark in Nottinghamshire has been ranked by ONS as the third happiest location in the UK, and we can easily see why. From immersing yourself in the heart of Sherwood Pines Forest Park, through to dancing to the likes of Busted and the Kaiser Chiefs at Splendour Festival later this summer, the town is jam-packed with things to keep you busy and, more importantly, smiling (inserts all the grinning emojis available)!
Image credit: britain-magazine.com
Okay, so it may have been a backdrop to scenes in the weep-worthy Les Mis film (yes, really!) but, let us assure you, a visit to the medieval city of Winchester will fill you with nothing but smiles. Not only is it a city full of culture inspiring the likes of Jane Austen and John Keats, but Winchester has recently been voted as the best place to live in the UK in terms of quality of life.
You can get a flavour for the city’s charm with a visit to its 1,000 year old cathedral, one of the most awe-inspiring buildings in southern England where you can see see both medieval carvings and contemporary art, watch open-air theatre performances and even enjoy a spot of Hampshire cream tea at its café.
Once you’ve had your fill of culture, there’s no better place to go than straight to the pub. As the brightest and best pub in the heart of the city, we’d recommend Alfie’s Winchester, which the locals say is ‘the watering hole literally everyone retreats to after midnight’. And, correct us if we’re wrong, but we’re pretty sure there’s nowhere else where you can sit comfortably in a pub and slurp away at smurf-themed cocktails, right?
Image credit: winchesterhalf.co.uk
Purbeck District, Dorset
Home to some of the country’s most loved attractions like the historic Corfe Castle and the otherworldly Durdle Door, is it any surprise that Purbeck has been voted as the fourth happiest location in the UK? In this beautifully, tucked-away corner of Dorset, you can get yourself acquainted with all six species of reptiles native to Britain at the Studland National Nature Reserve. And if that doesn’t manage to put a smile on your face, we’re pretty sure that hearing the Dartford warbler (a long-tailed bird at the Arne Reserve, to you and me) singing his heart out on a crisp spring morning will.
As for food, we’d recommend you stop off at Joe’s Café when you’re feeling peckish. Whilst it may sound like that greasy spoon you promised you’d never visit again, let us assure you, it’s the perfect rustic café located on Studland Beach. Make sure you ask for the honey flapjacks with the Purbeck ice-cream – trust us, they’re lush!
Image credit: dorsetadventures.com
It’s said that the smiles get broader the further North you travel, and this is definitely the case for the spa town of Harrogate. Ranked in a study by Right Move as the third happiest location to live in the UK, Harrogate offers the best of both cosmopolitan and rural life, combining its restaurants and decadent shops with villages, wide open parks and the moorlands of the Yorkshire Dales.
Speaking of which, make sure you get those happy feet moving and pay a visit to the North Yorkshire Moors in the summertime, where you can go strawberry picking in the sunshine and bask in some of the UK’s finest scenery. And when the sun goes down and the night skies glisten? The Moors are perfect for stargazing too – just grab a pair of binoculars and you could just see the Milky Way!
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For those of you who simply adore being beside the seaside – you’re in luck! One of the happiest towns in the UK, Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, is just a coach journey away. Within its cobbled streets, you’ll find everything from galleries and craft shops through to pubs and excellent fish restaurants. Because after all, seafood should be done right if it’s being served in a seaside town, don’t you agree? Our favourite, you ask? Well, that would be the cocklesheds where you can chow down on some of the best cockles in the country whilst enjoying unbeatable views of the Essex coast.
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Smiling yet? Well, get ready to grin like the Cheshire Cat himself. To celebrate National Smile Month, we’re offering you and someone special the chance to win a weekend away (courtesy of Superbreak), plus £250 spending money and free return coach travel!