Not so grim oop north: Higher Whitley, Southampton and Brentwood are the best places to raise a family - while Bollington, Mapperley and Packington are the best places to start one

Emma Haslett
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The north wins over the south when it comes to places to start and raise a family (Source: Getty)

Thinking about starting a family and hoping to get out of the Big Smoke? Head north - to Bollington in Cheshire, to be precise, which has just been named the UK's best place to start a family.

The Family Friendliness Index, by, is based on quality and availability of schools, nurseries and childcare providers; NCT groups; crime rates; population density and green spaces. While Bollington came top, Mapperley in Nottinghamshire came second, while Packington in Leicestershire came third.

And if your family is growing, head to Higher Whitley, also in Cheshire, which came top of the list of places to raise a family, followed by Southampton in Hampshire and and Brentwood, in Essex.

"Traditionally, certain towns and locations are tagged as being 'a great place for families', without much consideration as to why they are deserving of such a title," said Barry Bridges, the site's founder.

According to the findings, Shrigley Road in Bollington scored "especially highly for local primary schools, with the nearest four schools all rated 'oustanding' by Ofsted".

Meanwhile, Bentley's Farm Lane in Higher Whitley "delivers everything a burgeoning family might need, with great schools locally, very low crime, plus plenty of activities nearby".

Where to start a family

1.Bollington, Cheshire
2.Mapperley, Nottingham
3.Packington, Leicestershire
4.Chorley, Lancashire
5.Delph, Greater Manchester
6.Bolton, Greater Manchester
7.Flaunden, Hertfordshire
8.Newtown Linford, Leicestershire
9.Darwen, Lancashire
10.Snodland, Kent

Where to raise a family

1.Higher Whitley, Cheshire
2. Southampton, Hampshire
3. Brentwood, Essex
4. Croxley Green, Hertfordshire
5.Altrincham, Greater Manchester
6.Aylesford, Kent
7.Thurlaston, Leicestershire
8.Hurst, Berkshire
9.Warlingham, Surrey
10.Keynsham, Somerset

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