Kendal

The annual Sunday Times survey of the best places to live in the UK is about to be published. AOL has discovered details of the winner, and its closest rivals.

So where are the best places to live in the country, and how did they earn the title.

The best place to live in Britain is apparently Stamford in Lincolnshire. Second place was Kendal in Cumbria (pictured), third was Wye in Kent and fourth was Thornbury near Bristol.

In choosing these places, the paper assessed a wide variety of factors - occluding things like transport links, quality of schools, natural beauty, crime rate, property prices, cultural life and unemployment figures. Each area was also assessed on its own individual assets.

So why did these places come out on top, and would you consider a move?

Stamford

It's a small town, known for its medieval core of 17th and 18th century stone and timber-framed buildings. Clearly its beauty made a big difference to the list. It was the first conservation area to be designated in the country.

The area has good connections to the A1, a low crime rate, a vibrant shopping centre, and an unemployment rate of just 2.4%. Yet house prices reflect the relatively low prices in Lincolnshire, with a three-bedroom house selling for an average of £210,857.

Kendal

This town on the edge of the Lake District is known chiefly as the 'Gateway to the Lakes' and the home of Kendal Mint Cake. It is firmly on the tourist trail, with the charm of an ancient market town and several ruined castles. It is also the centre of town for a large rural area, so has a busy and vibrant shopping centre.

It has low unemployment, with traditional industries enhanced by a number of IT and design companies. It boasts excellent schools and is easily accessible from the M6. Property remains affordable, with a three bedroom house selling for an average of £215,279.

Wye

This historic village just outside Canterbury in Kent is a beautiful village in a beautiful setting, with all the communication advantages of the South East. It has rock bottom crime and unemployment rates, and the average three bedroom house sells for £336,448.

Thornbury

This small historic town just North of Bristol features a pretty high street, low crime rate, good schools, a jobseekers claimant rate of just 1.2%, and easy access to the M4. It is within striking distance of both Bath and Bristol, and house prices average £288,217 for a three-bed property.