1. Bingham, Nottinghamshire, NG13

The market town of Bingham is in the borough of Nottinghamshire and has a population of 9,000 people. It lies nine miles east of Nottingham and is also close to Newark-on-Trent and Grantham. The postcode is renowned for its excellent education, scoring highly in KS2 and KS4 results, with four local schools, including three primary schools and a secondary comprehensive. In addition to a weekly market, the centre has a range of retail outlets, including a post office, pharmacy, and six local pubs. Equipped with sports amenities and a swimming pool, Bingham Leisure Centre is popular with residents, as is the local Scout Group which attracts 140 youngsters. Bingham's affordable house prices make it an attractive destination with an average two bed property costing £138,969 versus the national average of £173,632.

Bingham photo

2. Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45

Crowthorne photo

Crowthorne is an affluent village in the Bracknell Forest district of south-eastern Berkshire. It has a population of 6,711 and is best known for its biennial carnival, encouraging children from local schools to create floats for the procession. The town has a wide variety of societies, including the Symphony Orchestra and Cricket Club and the village sits south of Sandhurst, home to the Royal Military Academy. House prices are above average, but employment opportunities are good with average earnings of £27,903. Good schools, such as Wellington College, a co-ed boarding and day independent school, as well as Ludgrove and Edgebarrow attract families to the area. Proximity to Reading and Heathrow Airport is a bonus for families looking to commute into London.

3. Winscombe, Somerset, BN2

The village of Winscombe is in north Somerset, close to Axbridge and the famous Cheddar Gorge to the south-west of Bristol. It has a collection of local shops and businesses in its centre, along with a doctor's surgery and two dentists. Notable landmarks include the Village Square's 12th Century Church and a charming pub, The Woodborough Inn, which attracts families with its skittle alley and dining areas. Two schools, a state secondary school and a nearby independent school are located in the village next to a recreational ground providing a variety of sports facilities. Community spirit is high due to annual events like the May Fair and Michaelmas Fair, as well as very low levels of crime.

Winscombe photo

4. Colyton, Devon, EX24

Colyton photo

Nestled in the Axe Valley, with the River Coly flowing through it, the small town of Colyton in Devon is an excellent choice for families who enjoy the great outdoors as the Jurassic Coast is a short tram ride away. The town has a population of just 2,783 residents and first appeared as an ancient village around 700 AD, featuring in the Domesday Book. Dating back to 1546, Colyton Grammar School made headlines recently for achieving very high rankings in national league tables and is known for impressive Key Stage 4 results. The town offers a wealth of medieval character as well as a number of shops, galleries and pubs, while the ancient marketplace hosts several carnivals and fairs throughout the year.

5. Oakham, Rutland, LE15

Found in the East Midlands, Oakham, which featured in last year's top ten, is just 28 miles from Nottingham and a short drive from Leicester and Peterborough, with a total population of 9,975. The town lies near Rutland Water, one of the largest man-made lakes in Europe, offering a range of outdoor leisure activities on its doorstep. It is also home to Oakham School, one of the major English public schools, The Catmose College, a specialist visual arts college founded in 1920, and Rutland College, which lies on the outskirts of the town. Key attractions include Oakham Castle and the popular historical open-air market held in the town square. The railway line connects the town to Birmingham, Leicester, Peterborough and Cambridge which is attractive to families.

Oakham photo

6. Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41

wokingham photo

Wokingham is a historic market town in Berkshire situated 33 miles west of London and has a population of over 35,000 and it topped last year's list. Records show that it held its first market in 1219 while by the 17th century it was famed for its bull baiting. Nowadays, it is well-equipped with various facilities, including a range of excellent private and state schools, several churches and an art gallery. What's more, transport to London Waterloo takes little over an hour, making it an ideal home for commuters. This may explain the affluence of the area as the average salary is £27,903. Wokingham was last year's number one spot and it remains an excellent place to bring up a family. Rising house prices in the area, and across the south, have affected the affordability of the area and it has dropped slightly down this year's rankings as a result.

7. Poynton, Cheshire, SK12

Poynton is located at the eastern most limit of the expansive Cheshire Plain and is a short distance from the scenic Peak District. The west of the parish is predominantly residential, with diverse amenities, buffered from Hazel Grove and Bramhall. To the south of the town are two business parks but to the east the area is rural, bounding on the former deer park of Lyme Hall. The A6 road passes to the north of the parish, and the Macclesfield Canal runs along the east. The Manchester and Birmingham Railway offers local services to Manchester and Macclesfield. Education in Poynton is run by Cheshire East Council and local schools include five primary schools and secondary school, Poynton High School.

Poynton photo

8. Swanland, Yorkshire, HU14

Swanland photo

Swanland is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire in England, to the west of Kingston upon Hull city centre and two miles north of the Humber Estuary. At the centre of the village is a large pond around which are a number of listed houses, two churches and the Village Hall which hosts a variety of events, from village fairs to dance lessons and concerts for the community. The Swanland Preservation Society has been running for over 25 years and is a dynamic force in keeping the area a pleasant place to live. Meanwhile, the local primary school is popular with families because of its consistently impressive Key Stage 2 results. With very low crime rates and competitive house prices, Swanland is a picture-perfect destination for families.

9. Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7

Faringdon is a market town in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire. Sitting at the top of the Thames Valley, its northern meads stretch down to the River Thames. In 2004, Faringdon became the first Fairtrade Town in the South East of England and has since held an annual arts festival in early July. There are many clubs that run throughout the year, including cricket, football, rugby, tennis, plus a range of art and music classes. The town is nestled around the Parish Church which dates from the 13th century. Along with a leisure centre, a short stroll from the centre you'll find open fields and a network of footpaths to nearby villages. There are a number of pre-schools and preparatory schools making up the above average Key Stage 2 results in the area.

Faringdon photo

10. Dunnington, Yorkshire, YO19

Dunnington photo

Dunnington is a village and civil parish in the City of York, North Yorkshire, and four miles from York city centre. In 2006 the village placed runner-up in the small town category of the Britain in Bloom, with people being attracted to its charming older centre, part of which is a conservation area. 'The Windmill' public house is popular with locals who enjoy its traditional menu and selection of fine ales. The high street is home to a range of shops, including a local butcher, newsagent, beauty salon and toy store. Other attractions for families include the park, which plays host to a variety of sports, and the library. The primary school is celebrated for achieving good Key Stage 2 scores, attracting young families to the area.

11. Longridge, Lancashire, PR3

Longridge photoThe small town of Longridge is located in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, situated about eight miles northeast of Preston. Traditionally a quarry town, its appearance has changed significantly in recent years as a result of new housing developments. Considering its size, the town has all the amenities a family would need; the lively side of the town is thriving with nine pubs and a variety of restaurants. Longridge also has a public library and several primary and high schools. The monthly farmer's market attracts food lovers and locals gather for the annual 'Field Day' with a parade and various fundraising attractions. The town rates very highly with low levels of crime and reasonable pricing for a two bedroom house, coming in at £162,612, £12,020 lower than the national average.

12. Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52

Crookham photoChurch Crookham is a village and civil parish in north east Hampshire, located 40 miles south west of London. Local residents are proud to consider Crookham as a separate village to its neighbour, Fleet, but they are still in close range to the facilities that the larger town has to offer. Sitting on the Basingstoke Canal, it is a great area for families who enjoy countryside pursuits. Church Crookham is historically famous for the Tweseldown race course, a point-to-point racing track, and the Queen Elizabeth Barracks. In recent years the village has seen a huge development in new housing, including the selling of the Barracks to build a new estate.

13. Yarm, Yorkshire, TS15

Yarm photoThe small town of Yarm, North Yorkshire has appeared in the Top Twenty Hotspots chart for two years now. Situated on the River Tees, the town is full of character with its rural surroundings, Georgian buildings and cobbled areas which won the high street the 'Best in Britain' award in 2007. Yarm is known for its historic Cricket club which dates back to 1814 and celebrated local team. Seasonal matches are supported by the community who also attend local fun runs, fairs and farmers' markets. A draw for families is the variety of schools in the town, with three primary schools, a mixed comprehensive and independent high school to choose from. Low crime rates and affordable house prices for two bedroom properties also attract families to the area.

14. Woodley, Berkshire, RG5

woodley photoThe town of Woodley in Berkshire has a strong community and family feel amongst its 27,000 residents and placed second in last year's ranking. The bustling town centre has many shops and holds Saturday markets and monthly farmers' markets for locals. There are also multiple leisure centres and parks to explore. The town is famous for its aviation history and is home to the Museum of Berkshire Aviation. A thriving amateur dramatics group performs several productions throughout the year for the local community. Woodley also has two secondary comprehensive schools, which have both achieved specialist school status, and several primary schools known for their high Key Stage 2 scores.

15. Shebbear, Devon, EX21

shebbear photoThe small rural village of Shebbear in Devon has appeared in the Top Twenty Hotspots list for two years running. It has a close-knit community of 7,000 residents. The focal points of the community are the old village hall and the local primary school which both organise an assortment of events for the calendar, including the annual Flower Show. Despite its size, the quaint village is well equipped with a shop, doctor's surgery, church, chapel and a village pub, The Devil's Stone Inn. Families are attracted to the small class sizes in the primary school, which recently achieved good results in the Ofsted report.

16. Leyland, Lancashire, PR26

Leyland photoThe town of Leyland is in the South Ribble district, approximately six miles from Preston, Lancashire. The historic area has a strong community spirit, hosting festivals throughout the year. In the last few years new housing and multiple supermarkets have opened to cater for the growth of families in the area. House prices are very affordable, with two bedroom properties selling for an of £113,856, compared to the national average of £175,632, making the location perfect for commuters looking to reach major cities via Leyland's railway station. The town has a great status in terms of education, with three high schools and two colleges that are well ranked by Ofsted.

17. Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10

sedbergh photoThe small historic town of Sedbergh is about ten miles from Kendal in Cumbria. The charming town is within the scenic surroundings of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is a short distance to the Lake District. The narrow main street is lined with shops that frame the parish church which dates back to the 12th century, and the remains of a Saxon castle. Schools are celebrated in the area, with examination results scoring above national averages. Since 2003, Sedbergh has come to be known as England's book-town due to its thriving count of independent bookshops and dealers.

18. Kirkham, Lancashire, PR4

KirkhamKirkham is a small town and civil parish in the Borough of Fylde in Lancashire, midway between Blackpool and Preston. Kirkham lies at the centre of a relatively rich agricultural area in which sits Kirkham Abbey ruins. The small library has been enjoyed since 1939 and was recently refurbishment. Local bookshop, Silverdell, has been voted "Independent Bookshop of the Year" and has held signings with the likes of Michael Caine. A key calendar fixture is Kirkham Club Day, an annual gala, which takes place in June. Kirkham has two secondary schools and an Independent School, with two local primary schools feeding into them. Local attractions include the Kirkham Swimming Baths which date back to 1914 and now serve as a public swimming pool. With average two bedroom house prices coming in at £137,629, just under £40,000, below the national average it's no surprise the area scores highly for families.

19. Kesgrave, Suffolk, IP5

Kesgrave photoKesgrave is a small countryside town located on the edge of Ipswich, Suffolk. With a population of around 14,000, it is predominantly a residential area. Plenty of local amenities and country walks keep families occupied and the town has five primary schools, including Cedarwood which has a Civic Trust Award. The famous Bury St Edmunds Abbey and Kesgrave Hall are key historic sites in the area, with the latter acting as an RAF base during World War Two. Cycling lanes along main routes in the town were recently built to enable pupils to cycle to Kesgrave High School. High Key Stage 2 scores, low crime rates and competitive house prices make this town ideal for families looking to settle.

20. Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, MK18

Buckingham photoBuckingham is a town in north Buckinghamshire, South East England, close to the border of Oxfordshire. It caters for residents with a variety of restaurants and pubs, including a host of tea-rooms, as well as local amenity stores, including Boots and WH Smith. On top of its three primary schools, and one academy, the town is home to one of the UK's two private universities. Many historic houses can be found in the area, some of which are opened to the public and the town is not far from the home of favourite childrens' author, Roald Dahl. The county is well-connected with four main railway lines running through it, including the West Coast Main Line and the Great Western Main Line, making it a prime location for families.