The town of Usk in Monmouthshire has been crowned the best place to live in Wales, with five other Welsh locations also named in a list showcasing ‘the best of Britain’.

Judges for The Sunday Times 'Best Places to Live' guide scoured the UK looking for improving towns, villages or city centres, attractive homes and locations bursting with community spirit.

In making their decision, they assessed a wide range of factors, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.

The expert panel awarded top spot to Usk – also known as the ‘Town of Flowers’ – citing its bustling high street, thriving sports clubs and "unrivalled" community spirit.

The guide, which was released online today and will be available in The Sunday Times newspaper on Sunday, also featured Aberdyfi in Gwynedd, Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan and Llandeilo and the Tywi Valley in Camarthenshire.

Pembrokeshire gets two mentions, with last year’s winner Narbeth and Cleddau Estuary also making the regional list.

“Our focus for this year has been community, countryside and convenience,” said Helen Davies, Property Editor at The Times and Sunday Times.

“It hasn’t been a year for big cities or small villages. Instead it is small towns that have shone: big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough for everyone to feel connected.”

READ MORE:

On Usk being named the best place to live in Wales, she said: “The Town of Flowers is our top choice in Wales, thanks to the unrivalled enthusiasm of its population whose efforts and energy and behind Usk’s award-winning floral displays and much more.

“The town centre is attractive and independent, the surrounding countryside a delight and Cardiff and Bristol are within easy reach.”

While having the highest average house sale price - £475,000 –  of any Welsh area on the list, Usk earned plaudits for its 60 community groups which were ‘stronger than ever’ during the pandemic, with the Usk in Bloom volunteers lifting spirits with flower displays.

The town’s pubs and bars ‘remain at the heart of life’, according to the guide, with the cricket club’s ground deemed ‘one of the most attractive around’.

Elsewhere, Aberdyfi’s "endless sandy beach", sparkling night skies and ever-changing estuary views’ helped it earn its place as the judge’s favourite Welsh seaside town, while the panel were also impressed with how Penarth had adapted to the ‘new normal’, through online yoga classes and takeaway Sunday lunches.