We live in the coolest places in the UK…Here’s what we really think! From the Cornish fishing village to the town where James Bond was filmed and the area that named one of Britain’s best loved comedians – what locals say about the hippest places to live
The Cornish fishing village of Polperro was recently named the coolest place to live in the UK – pipping rival spots in Norfolk, Buckinghamshire and Lancashire to the top spot.
The study ranked locations based on a number of factors, including the number of independent shops, the range of cultural events, how ‘Instagrammable’ they were, and their popularity as a location for films and TV shows.
The results were based on a survey of 5,000 people from health and fitness supplements brand Naturecan, which set up panels throughout the UK to find out the coolest location for each county and big city.
But now the results are in, it’s time to answer the key question… What do the locals think?
Below, MailOnline spoke to residents of Polperro and two other locations in the top five – Marlow and Morecambe – to hear their verdicts.
The Cornish fishing village of Polperro was this week been ranked as the ‘hippest’ place to live in the UK and proud locals say they aren’t surprised.
The once bustling fishing village in the South West of England has undergone a major shift in recent decades with tourism becoming the key industry with 25,000 people per day visiting in summer.
Like many Cornish former fishing villages Polperro boasts whitewashed stone cottages and tranquil harbours dotted with colourful boats, but unlike most others it stays open all year round.
When MailOnline visited, locals and tourists were making their way through the narrow streets past souvenir shops, artists’ studios and independent businesses – many of which were doing steady trade.
Gina Farrell, 52, a painter who runs a gallery overlooking the harbour in Polperro, said: ‘I’m not at all surprised it’s been voted the hippest town’
Like many Cornish former fishing villages Polperro boasts whitewashed stone cottages and tranquil harbours dotted with colourful boats, but unlike most others it stays open all year round
Gina Farrell, 52, a painter who runs a gallery overlooking the harbour, said: ‘I’m not at all surprised it’s been voted the hippest town. Everybody who comes here seems to come back.
‘Even when the weather’s miserable like today it is very Instagrammable. When I go on holiday I just can’t wait to come home.
‘It’s a very different place in the summer with tourists here. It’s almost like living in two different towns every year – but it never gets boring.
‘I love it all year round, in the winter when there are fewer tourists here it gives me an opportunity to paint then in the summer.
‘One of the best things is all the businesses in the town are independent and a lot are owned by locals. We’ve had people trying to put in amusement arcades but we like things the way they are and don’t want Costa or McDonalds here.’
Figures back this up with the most recent Neighbourhood Development Plan for the Polperro area, which has a population of just over 2,000, recorded that 60 per cent of housing is lived in all year round, 30 per cent is holiday lets and 10 percent second homes.
Sara Perry, 30, said: ‘There’s so many great things happening for young people here and it’s a tight community where everybody knows everybody’
But retired bookie Tony Giddy, 67, who has lived in Polperro since 1978 said the village’s popularity with tourists has caused several major problems for locals’
Rebecca Hawkes, 43, has lived in Polperro for 22 years and runs the Blue Peter pub near the harbour
‘It’s beautiful. I love being here because it has such a great community,’ she said.
‘If you are into the outdoors this is the place for you and it’s lovely and safe for kids to grow up.
‘I have lived in some big towns but if you are looking for a slower pace of life this is perfect.
‘I do hope it brings more people down because tourism is so important to the local economy.’
Tourists from across the world flock to the village – located at the mouth of the river Pol – and it is also popular with celebrities including Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan who own a home nearby and TV crews with shows such as the BBC’s Hairy Bikers and ITV’s Echo Beach having been shot there.
Cars are strictly limited with a large carpark at the edge of the village charging £6 for three hours with no discount for locals. The tiny number of privately owned spaces in the centre sell for up to £40,000.
Alex Stephenson, 77, from Birmingham was spending this week on holiday in Cornwall and visited Polperro with his wife Carol and friends.
He said: ‘My wife first came here 50 years ago, we have been back 2-3 times since and it hasn’t changed at all in that time.
‘We’ve really enjoyed wandering around the galleries and shops. I think not having traffic roaring through is a big advantage. You can wander through at your leisure and it feels safe.
‘We love it here because it’s different to other seaside towns, it’s quirky and feels like a proper community.’
The village when MailOnline visited and spoke to locals to hear their thoughts
The village is brimming with souvenir shops, artists’ studios and independent businesses
Among the quirky traditions that have survived the test of time is when the new Lord Mayor is crowned every year they are pushed through the streets in a wheelbarrow and taken to every pub in the village before they are ‘dunked’ into the harbour.
Sara Perry, 30, runs Roly’s Fudge and has lived in the area for 10 years.
She said: ‘There’s so many great things happening for young people here and it’s a tight community where everybody knows everybody.
‘So much so you have to leave 10 minutes early to walk through the town because so many people stop you to chat.
‘We have music every weekend. The local bands play in the pubs all year round which is brilliant. There’s always something going on.
‘I rent my place which is really expensive but I can’t ever imagine I’ll be able to afford to buy as I’m paying so much in rent it’s hard to save anything up.’
Locations were ranked according to the number of independent shops per head of population, the range of cultural events, how ‘Instagrammable’ were the best features and their popularity as a location for films and TV shows
But retired bookie Tony Giddy, 67, who has lived in Polperro since 1978 said the village’s popularity with tourists has caused several major problems for locals.
He said: ‘If you look around the harbour, there’s maybe six houses out of 30 that anybody lives in. All the rest are used as holiday lets.
‘When I came here it was a great community, there were two butchers, three bakers, the fishing industry was thriving and all the pubs were full all year round with fishermen and locals but now everything is aimed at tourists.
‘There is almost no parking in the town but people try and drive down in huge campervans and it causes chaos.
‘There are also no jobs for young people and even if there were, who can afford to buy a house for £400,000? Anybody with a university degree moves elsewhere for better opportunities.
‘I would encourage people to visit because it’s beautiful but go home after.’
Marlow has been ranked one of the coolest places to live in the UK.
Known for its fashionable riverside high-street and loved by celebs including Chris Evans, Ricky Gervais and celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, Marlow is a small town a stone’s throw from London and Reading and home to only 14,000 people.
To make the list, towns were ranked according to the number of independent shops per head of population, the range of cultural events and how ‘instagrammable’ their gorgeous features were.
Marlow boasts the backdrop to James Bond movie Skyfall, has more than 50 independent shops and has the River Thames as its focal point.
Marlow in Buckinghamshire has been voted one of the coolest places to live in UK. Michael Jones, 71, (pictured) a semi-retired company director, lives in Marlow
Despite pouring rain and gloomy cold weather residents were out in force when MailOnline visited the Buckinghamshire town.
Most were a little surprised their little village had made the cut as one of the ‘hippest’ places to live or visit in the country.
However, others were in total agreement – saying the expensive boutiques and the huge number of restaurants and bars made it the perfect place to visit.
Joanna Berry, aged 78 years, retired, from Cheshire, said: ‘I think this place is full of independents.
‘We’re visiting for the day and it’s lovely and interesting and very attractive. There’s not a lot of places to shop generally and it’s very pricey, I would say ”expensive”.’
Michael Jones, aged 71 years, a semi-retired company director who lives in Marlow, admitted: ‘I suppose it is quite trendy. It has a lot of independents but it’s not very good for people that want to go shopping for a reasonable price.
‘I also think that Marlow people are a bit up themselves really, but the restaurants are really, really good around here.’
Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge owns and runs one of the most exclusive restaurants in the town, the Hand and Flowers which has often boasted a year-long waiting list to book a table on high days and holidays.
Debbie Murphy, aged 70 years and Marliese Horsley, also aged 70 – both volunteers at the British Heart Foundation charity shop in the town and both living in Marlow, said: ‘We think that the shops are really expensive. It’s not a practical place to come shopping, say if you need a kettle you won’t be able to find one.
‘There were some cheaper shops like M&Co but that’s closing down and is being replaced with a Wetherspoons. Every second shop is a coffee shop or bakery and the others are boutiques. However, it’s a really lovely place to live, it’s quiet and peaceful.
‘It’s just a bit elitist. For tourists it is perfect and certainly for children or older people but we are just not sure what there is to do for younger people. There’s no party bars or clubs.’
Georgia Holmes, a 25-year-old university worker, who also lives in Marlow, observed: ‘I think it’s quite a fun and quirky place to live. I think it’s quite cool and there’s loads of different bars and a couple of really nice brunch spots. I do think there is a lot to do, especially in the summer, with the beer gardens and on the river.’
Jordan Warne, 22, works in luxury wallpaper, and is from Marlow. He said: ‘I would say Marlow is quite an old persons place to live but there are some cooler bars and pubs and some places for younger people to be too.’
Rachel Burger, 47, Bernard Burger, 79, are the owners of Burgers of Marlow.
Mr Burger said: ‘Our business has been here 81 years and has been passed down through the family. Marlow is one of the best towns in the country, it’s really nice, it’s full of restaurants and places to eat and it’s a stone’s throw away from London but still surrounded by countryside.
‘It’s got a mix of everything for everyone. There is a lot of bars and pubs and independents but when we opened in 1951 there were still more pubs then than there are now. It’s unbelievable how much the high street has changed.
‘Marlow’s the perfect resort town, people come here for the day and say ‘wow.’
Resident and small business owners have voiced their surprise and pleasure after their traditional seaside town was named one of the ‘coolest places to live in the UK’.
Locals in the resort destination of Morecambe said they were astounded that it was ranked fourth in a list of the hippest sites to settle in among 50 other contenders.
Many said the promise of a new £50million Eden project development, awarded as part of the government’s levelling up fund, was helping turn the town’s fortunes around.
And homeowners also said the town’s low prices were helping people to get onto the property ladder while bringing creative and artistic people into their community of 30,000.
Father-of-two Nick Smith, 49, said Morecambe enjoys ‘one of the best sunsets in the world’
Lukas Ridziavskas, 31, owner of Bigmans Butcher & Deli, came to the UK for a media studies degree at the University of Worcester 13 years ago from Lithuania before starting up his business in 2020
Susan White, 75, with Daughter Natasha Collins, 52, live in the lovely seaside town of Morecambe
Locals in the resort destination of Morecambe said they were astounded that it was ranked fourth in a list of the hippest sites to settle in among 50 other contenders
A statue of Eric Morcambe along the beach front of the town. John Eric Bartholomew, OBE, known as Eric Morecambe, was part of double act Morecambe and Wise
Pictured: SO Cafe on the beach front off Skipton Street, Morcambe, northwest England
On the beach front in Morcambe, UK- as news comes in that it is voted one of the coolest places in England
Homeowners also said the town’s low prices were helping people to get onto the property ladder
A Morecambe resident with her two dogs as she stands on of the town’s streets
Duane Chappell, 30, who manages The Fault in Morcambe – a local apparel and clothing shop hosting businesses and a gaming cafe
Father-of-two Nick Smith, 49, a community developer, bought the Queen’s Market, a three-tiered 125-year-old former hall, cinema and nightclub, seven years ago.
He has plans to allow restaurants and young creatives to take up space in the 24,000sq foot building, and thinks in a few years Morecambe could be the ‘Brighton of the North.’
He said: ‘It needs to be absolutely amazing and absolutely cool. But I don’t think it’s got there yet. The view of the bay is absolutely stunning. It’s absolutely amazing.
‘We can turn it into the ‘Brighton of the North’. There are lots of creatives and lots of music and an alternative scene.
‘At the moment, people are coming because they’ve seen ‘The Bay’ drama series, but there’s also a lot of people coming for the art.
‘We have the best sunsets in the world. When you see it in the summer, it’s absolutely beautiful. You can see the lake district, and the shape of the bay is absolutely amazing.
‘But in the winter, in the centre of the town, there are no people. It needs good weather. The Eden Project is coming and we need to be ready.’
He went on: ‘People say about Morecambe ‘beauty surrounds, health abounds’. It goes back to the 1900s when people with bad lugs from the milld would come here from Lancashire.
‘Today, the ‘soot’ that’s clogging up people is technology. So Morecambe needs to be somewhere people come for a detox.’
Lukas Ridziavskas, 31, owner of Bigmans Butcher & Deli, came to the UK for a media studies degree at the University of Worcester 13 years ago from Lithuania before starting up his business in 2020.
He also believed Morecambe had the potential to live up to its ‘cool’ billing but saw a big divide between the older residents and the new artistic community.
He said: ‘It’s mellow, but there’s a massive divide. Either you see artistic cool people or just the more elderly older folk. There’s never anything in the middle.
‘I get the point why people say it’s cool – because of the bay. There’s something about it. But people forget there are lots of people from different nationalities.
‘We have South Africans, Greeks, Spanish…. And they’ve lived here for ten to 20 years. I’ve been here for two years. I do traditional stuff and other things that I have introduced to people.
‘I can’t compete with what people who have been here for 20 years are doing, so I have to do something different.
‘I feel like there are a lot of people moving here, but they’re mostly older people. It’s people coming to retire at the moment. There are about two people moving here every week.
‘I think people are moving in because it’s cheap. I feel that’s how everyone thinks. They can buy here at half the price of the home they’ve left down south.
Mother-of-three Natasha Collins, 52, a retired manager at BAE Systems who has lived in Morecambe for 23 years, said its cool reputation had stopped her kids from moving away.
She said: ‘Two of my children have chosen to live around here. And they’re staying because they like the vibe of Morecambe. They’re not moving on or moving away.
‘I’ve been here for 23 years, and over the last ten years, we’ve seen a lot of changes. There has been more investment, and it’s become cooler.
‘There are so many events, and we go to all the festivals. There are music festivals, light festivals, and they bring in thousands of people. We saw an ELO cover band recently and the place was jumping.
‘You can find rock and jazz bands coming through
She added: ‘You do get some trouble, and people used to say it was a bit rough, but it’s got a really nice family feel to it now.
‘There are a lot of independent shops, and we try to support them as much as possible. We try and buy locally. A lot of the café welcome dogs.
‘There’s been so much regeneration over the last ten years, so it’s getting better.
Duane Chappell, 30, a father-of-one who owns The Vault, an independent clothing shop specializing in gaming cards, agreed that the town was a hip place to live.
He said: ‘Morecambe is absolutely cool. It’s very eclectic. There are a lot of independent people here, who know what they want to do.
‘I didn’t know about the poll but I absolutely agree with it. It’s a surprise. But there needs to be more, there’s not enough of an outlet for creativity.
‘It’s very much a music town. We have anything and everything. The Winter Gardens venue is becoming a thing again. It used to be the place to go, for music and arts.
‘Then Covid happened, and everyone said ‘We are going home, now’. There was absolutely nothing when we set up here.
He added: ‘We’ve been here for three months, and we were at another location one year previously. We allow different independent companies to use our space and sell their merchandise.
‘There’s definitely a space for independent shops to move it. But they’re mostly on the niche arts side. We are getting very much the younger generation moving in here.
Mal Crawford, 64, assistant manager at the independent Wolfwood Charity shop, said he could think of other places that were cooler than Morecambe.
But he agreed that cheap homes and low business rent rates were attracting a hipper generation.
He said: ‘It’s a surprise to hear that Morecambe is considered cool. I can think of other places and towns that I think are cooler. But there are some cool shops and things are on the rise.
‘Property is cheaper here at the moment, so there are a lot of opportunities. Businesses can move into the town centre. And they’ve been coming here to start up over the last couple of years.
‘There’s funding for the Eden project, so I expect more places to be popping up over the next two to three years. That’s going to be massive. There are a lot of things happening.
‘I was born in Lancaster and used to come to Morecambe as a teen when the Winter Gardens was doing shows. It was grand then. It was a holiday destination. It still is but it’s a bit quieter.
‘Morecambe is also on the list of the most deprived places in the country. But because of the businesses, there’s now an attraction to it, and the high street is getting better.
Mother-of-three Caroline Bullard, 48, had travelled 170 miles to come to Morecambe with her husband Malcolm, 63, for a punk music festival and had liked what she’d seen of the town.
She said: ‘We’ve come here for Corrosion Fest. It’s part of the goth scene. There’s a load of goth bands on, and it’s big thing and it’s great to see live music in Morecambe. It runs for three months
‘We’ve never been here before because it’s so far away. We live in Hereford, it’s about 170 miles away. It took us three hours to drive here.
‘It’s lovely to be in a seaside town, but we didn’t know about its cool reputation. We’re looking forward to trying the fish and chips and having some good nights out.
‘We’ve been to Whitby goth festival several times but never been to Morecambe for it.’
Charlotte Stockdale, 32, a dog walker, said she was impressed by the way local homeowners had painted their properties with bright colours and said her ‘middle class’ business was flourishing.
She said: ‘It’s on the up. It’s a surprise to hear about the poll, but I can understand why. With the Eden Project coming, that’s going to be absolutely fantastic.
‘There are so many mainstream shops in the city centre. It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost so many. In the 60s and 70s, this was the place to be. There was even a Miss World competition here.
‘But now it’s changing. I’ve been out on nights here. The Alhambra Theatre has rock nights, which I used to go to. And others are now putting on under-18 evenings for younger kids.
She added: ‘It’s brilliant that people are painting their homes such bright colours too. I think all homes should be like that along the promenade – pink and blue.
‘And as a dog walker, I’ve never been busier. It’s quite a middle-class thing, dog walking, but I’m working 9 am-4 pm dog doing dog sitting too. It’s really in demand.’
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