KNUTSFORD has been named as the best place to live in the north west of England as part of a Sunday Times guide.

The town rose above places such as Ramsbottom, Kendal and Ancoats to top the list, which will be published this Sunday, March 19.

Rankings are based on the expert knowledge of the judging panel as much as data and statistics, bringing in factors such as facilities, transport and even community spirit.

Tim Palmer, a Sunday Times Best Place to Live in Britain judge and writer, said: “It’s not a standard survey that only looks at stats, and while that is important we are looking for places that are a bit special, where people can wake up and feel glad that they live there rather than the next place.

“We are looking for places that are improving and with a bit of community spirit, and places that don’t look like everywhere else.

“Knutsford is a bit more fun than some of the other similar towns – they are all great places to live, but Knutsford seems a bit more fun.

“There’s the architecture that makes it a bit quirky and a bit different. Cheshire red brick is absolutely gorgeous, but to have these eye-catching landmarks in amongst it is very unique.

“With that, there are two high streets and I couldn’t possibly say which was best. It’s unique but grounded, and still very convenient – it seems to be absolutely booming.”

Other factors in the survey included jobs, exam results and broadband speed, with Knutsford seeing off Alston, the Baltic Triangle, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Clitheroe, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lymm, Saddleworth and West Kirby on the north west shortlist.

Helen Davies, Sunday Times home editor, said: “This is the fifth year we have compiled the list, and this year’s is even bigger and better - the guide is more personal, more detailed and more comprehensive than ever before.

“The list weighs up everything from considering the likely impact of the local plan, to whether the post office is still open, the range of housing, and the quality of the coffee.

“Numbers on a spreadsheet can only tell us so much, so we carefully balance statistics with our writers’ decades of knowledge and expertise to create the definitive list of the best places to live in the UK."