A SOUTH Lakes market town that 'punches well above its weight' has been named as one of the top places to live in the north west.

Kirkby Lonsdale has been placed fifth in the north west category in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list.

The town is one of 12 locations in the region to have been named among the Best Places to Live in Britain by the paper, and ranks above Cheshire's Knutsford and Manchester's Castlefield.

Geoffrey Buswell, chair of Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council, said that the features of the town 'can soon be taken for granted'.

"On the surface not a lot seems to be happening, but with open eyes and an expectation of things to experience whilst visiting the town, our visitors are often heard to mark its features in the ‘great little place to visit’ category in all seasons," he said.

He heaped praise on the all-weather riverside path from the Devil’s Bridge to Radical Steps, Ruskin’s View and the plethora of shops and food and drink establishments on offer.

"This is a town where the young and the elderly show respect and take a genuine interest and support of the community," he said. "Residents are spoilt for choice too - that’s how it should be."

Iain Black, co-owner of the Sun Inn on Market Street, made the move to the town from Altrincham with wife Jenny a year ago.

"When you come to Kirkby Lonsdale for the first time you just get a great sense of welcome and community spirit," he said. "Everyone has been very kind and accommodating to us."

He said that the inn was 'central' to the town and he felt 'very happy and very lucky' to be a part of the community.

And Nick Cotton, South Lakeland District councillor for Kirkby Lonsdale, said: "I have always felt that Kirkby Lonsdale punches above its weight for a place its size and it has got a large variety on offer."

Cllr Cotton cited the 'excellent schools', retail offer and described it as the perfect spot for visitors to enjoy half a day, with great walks and eateries.

"If you look at places half the size, where they have maybe just got one struggling independent shop or pub and we have got a huge number. It draws in people from a long way."

He added that the town itself was 'compact' allowing people to explore safely away from traffic and that the community itself was also a welcoming one.

"The people are genuinely very friendly," he said. "I came up here 14 years ago from the south and expected people to be wary of me but they are really really welcoming here."

The accolade came as part of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, which was published on Sunday (March 18).

The supplement assesses a wide range of factors, from jobs, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops, in order to compile the definitive top locations to live.

The methodology uses robust statistics, but also the knowledge of The Sunday Times’s expert panel. The judges combine the hard data with their own on-the-ground experience and insight to ensure the chosen locations truly are places where everyone can thrive.