I visited North Berwick after it was voted the best place to live in the UK and can see why it took the title

When asked to visit the beloved seaside spot I jumped at the chance
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North Berwick has recently been named the best place to live in the UK - and from my point of view, it doesn’t require too much leg work to understand why. 

Departing Edinburgh Waverley, and excited to be leaving the rat race behind for a few hours, tranquil views of East Lothian on the short train journey set the scene for what is to come. 

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Arriving half an hour later, the coastal feel and clean air of the East Lothian town is immediate, as is a striking sense of community, evident in the way neighbours greet each other and how the beaches, High Street and pretty much everything there is within close proximity to one another. 

North Berwick was recently named the best place to live in the UKNorth Berwick was recently named the best place to live in the UK
North Berwick was recently named the best place to live in the UK

Roaming the streets, visiting the host of independent shops, imagining what it is like to live in one of the colourful houses and taking in the breathtaking views from the beaches, I felt a sense of home in North Berwick, despite never having lived here. Perhaps it was old fashioned shops from yesteryear or the post office and old telephone boxes that were evoking nostalgia but it felt like a place where people thrive and feel privileged to live here.  

It didn’t take long to strike up a conversation with locals. I asked them what they thought of North Berwick being named the best place to live and what their experience has been.

Jonathan, who moved to the quaint town three years ago, said: “The best thing is the sense of community - the whole environment gives you a sense of wellbeing - but without a doubt it’s the fact that you can walk out of your door and meet people from all walks of life, from the young to old and everyone has time for each other. It’s quite a remarkable place really.”

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Venturing into town, one particular shop caught my eye on the High Street. Sugar Mountain is a sweet shop - and looks like a child’s dream, with rows of colourful jars and homemade sweets - a throwback to the way shops looked once upon a time. Shop assistant Meg Ennis gave me a moment of her time.

She said: “I moved here in 1970, married a local chap and we had three daughters. And they’ve had the wonderful outside form of education, in the sea in the outdoor pool, good education in the schools and nursery - we’re very fortunate to live here. I think anyone who can afford a house in North Berwick or in the area is jolly lucky - East Lothian is full of history.”

The sense of community felt by residents was also shared by business owner Adam Elder. Adam’s High Street shop, Why Not, was established 10 years ago. But what makes his business unique is that he provides a platform for around 35 independent retailers - and in the last decade more than 27 businesses that started in Why Not have gone onto open shops of their own. 

Adam, a resident of 35 years, said: “Each space that you see in here is one tiny business of its own. We have about 35 small start-up shops - people who make their own work and sell it in here. And because we sell products on their behalf it allows them to concentrate on what they do best which is make their products - and from there, hopefully they can grow to the point where they can occupy premises and become employers in their own right.”

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Adam said: “Living here is fantastic, you’ve got everything you could wish for - the open air, a buzzing High Street which we are very privileged to be a part of - there’s something for everyone in North Berwick and that’s why I live here.”

After visiting the seaside town for a few hours this week - it wasn’t hard to see why North Berwick is considered such a desirable location and why it has recently been named the best place to live in the UK. For many reading this, you’ll know what I mean, but for those who have never made the trip - it comes highly recommended. 

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