Ballycastle outshines rivals to claim ‘best place to live’ title

The seaside town of Ballycastle has been awarded the prestigious title of the ‘best place to live’ in Northern Ireland for 2022.

Described as an “unspoilt fishing village” and a “real costal town rather than a tourist honeypot,” the popular north coast resort attracted plenty of praise from the judging panel of the ‘Sunday Times Best Places to Live’ survey, edging out Londonderry and Helen’s Bay in Co Down for the top honour.

Ballycastle is described in the 2022 guide as having “a strong independent streak” and a welcoming atmosphere.

“There’s a vibrant food scene, with everything from old-fashioned fish and chips at Morton’s by the harbour to tasty sourdough at Ursa Minor bakery. The mile-long beach and beautiful surroundings make it a blissful base for families,” the judges said.

Ballycastle in Co Antrim

Londonderry was praised for “reaping the rewards of years of investment and with a fine cultural reputation, this much-improved city stands out as somewhere cool, credible and cheap, with a bright future,” while Helen’s Bay is described as having “natural beauty and an outdoorsy vibe,” making this stretch of the north Down coast “a magnet for families who flock to its dog-friendly beaches and convenient trains to Belfast”.

The comprehensive guide, which includes a total of 70 locations across the UK, is released online today and an edited version will be available in the paper on Sunday.

Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: “The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list is necessarily subjective. Leave it just to statistics and you will never capture the spirit of a place.

“For that, you need to visit to take into account that ‘you have to be here’ feeling. Is the pub dog-friendly, for example? Can you live car-free? What are the schools and houses like? Is it multicultural and multigenerational, and can it offer a good way of life to lots of different sorts of people?

“Ten years ago, when we launched the inaugural list, London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains. How times have changed — and how welcome that change is.

“This year we have discovered new best places to live, from resurgent city centres in the North, rejuvenated suburbs across the country, hidden villages in the Southwest, and a commutable Scottish island.

“We hope there is something to suit everyone.”

The full list is available at www.thetimes.co.uk/best-places-to-live