A GWENT town has been named the best place to live in Wales.

Usk claimed the crown of the top place to live in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.

The Sunday Times’s expert judges behind the guide assess a wide range of factors, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.

They look for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well designed homes and locations bursting with community spirit - which the pandemic has shown to be the most vital quality of all.

A detailed breakdown of house prices has been supplied by data specialists TwentyCi and information on internet speeds has been supplied by Thinkbroadband.com, the UK’s leading independent guide to broadband.

And it was Usk wowed the judges the most, seeing off competition for Aberdyfi in Gwynedd, Cleddau Estuary in Pembrokeshire, and Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire.

It was the community spirit that caught the judges’ eyes here: there are 60 thriving community groups which were stronger than ever in the pandemic, with the Usk in Bloom volunteers lifting everyone’s spirits with a riot of pink and purple petals.

There is a farmers’ market and plenty of independent shops, galleries and cafés. Local produce is to the fore, thanks to an excellent butcher, the ice cream at the Parlour and the cakes at Morris’s of Usk garden centre.

The high street is home to salons, restaurants such as 57 Bridge Street and a dozen or so pubs and bars, which remain at the heart of life, including The New Court Inn, the Lines Brew Co, White Hare Distillery or the Mad Platter.

There are thriving rugby and football clubs and the cricket club has one of the most attractive grounds around.


Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times property editor said: “This guide has never been so important. The pandemic has taught us just how much we rely on our homes, our communities and our surroundings.

"With working from home now common, it’s no surprise that many of us are reassessing our priorities and thinking hard about where we really want to live.

“Our focus for this year has been community, countryside and convenience. 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.

“The Town of Flowers is our top choice in Wales, thanks to the unrivalled enthusiasm of its population whose efforts and energy are 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.”

The comprehensive guide is released online today and will be available in the paper on Sunday.