Dorset's happiest towns have been revealed in the results of a new study.

And it's found that those living in coastal villages were the happiest group of people - unsurprisingly.

The research by Rightmove says feeling a sense of belonging and being able to be yourself in your area were the most important factors for people to be happy where they live.

Community spirit was even more important to people’s happiness this year, something perhaps brought about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The happiest place in Great Britain is Hexham in Northumberland, with Richmond upon Thames second and Stirling the happiest place in Scotland third, and Llandrindod Wells, fifth place overall, the happiest place to live in Wales.

The Happy at Home Index, in its tenth year, was conducted among over 21,000 people across Great Britain, and asks residents how they feel about where they live, as well as asking them to rank ten happiness factors.

A third of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically being smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together.

It also found -perhaps obviously to those of us who live close to the sea - that people living in a coastal village were the happiest of all, and those living in a coastal town or city were more likely to be happy in their area than someone living in a similar home inland.

Happiest towns in Dorset

  • Dorchester
  • Poole
  • Bournemouth
  • Weymouth

Nationally these four towns were ranked 33rd for Dorchester, 48th for Poole, 74th for Bournemouth and 81st for Weymouth.

Places like Christchurch, Wimborne and Swanage did not feature in this year's list.

Happiest towns in the south west

  • St Ives
  • Exeter
  • Salisbury
  • Falmouth 
  • Plymouth 
  • Barnstaple 
  • Truro 
  • Cheltenham 
  • Dorchester 
  • Torquay 
  • Cirencester 
  • Bristol
  • Poole
  • Bath
  • Bournemouth
  • Weymouth
  • Yeovil
  • Taunton
  • Swindon
  • Gloucester
  • Weston Super Mare

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Happiest towns in Great Britain

  1. Hexham
  2. Richmond upon Thames
  3. Harrogate
  4. Hove
  5. Llandrindod Wells
  6. Stirling
  7. Monmouth
  8. St Ives
  9. Anglesey
  10. Leamington Spa
  11. Perth
  12. Hitchin
  13. Woodbridge
  14. Kendal
  15. Macclesfield
  16. Exeter
  17. Salisbury
  18. Horsham
  19. St. Albans
  20. Guildford