WITH its “glorious cathedral” and “divine beauty”, Salisbury has today been named as the best place to live in Britain, just over a year on from the Novichok poisonings.

The city takes the prestigious accolade for the first time, with judges of The Sunday Times Best Place to Live in Britain contest quick to praise Salisbury’s “historic landscapes” and “thriving marketplace”.

Judges also noted the use of older buildings for newer businesses, such as Nando’s in a “medieval home” and the Odeon cinema in a 15th-century building.

Published today as part of the renowned annual guide, the city was also praised for its community spirit and the way it bounced-back from last year’s attack, which put the once lesser-known city on the international map.

The guide noted: “Shortly after the Novichok poisonings in March 2018, the shops were empty, the tourists were staying away, and the locals were feeling uneasy.

“Now there is a real optimism in the air – with plans announced last month to connect the whole city to full-fibre broadband, and the cafes are brimming.

“Genuine tourists are returning, not just to see one of the most glorious cathedrals in Britain, its grounds a scenic meeting point for dog walkers, picnickers and joggers, but to enjoy historic landscapes, crystal-clear streams and meadows dotted with sheep.”

Home editor Helen Davies added: "Salisbury has shown real collective spirit in dealing with a chemical attack that saw the cathedral city become the centre of world headlines for all the wrong reasons.

"There are still parts of the city where the clean-up continues, but to bounce back and be even stronger is a sure sign of a very special community, which is one of the reasons we have chosen Salisbury as the best place to live in Britain in 2019.

"It remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place. It's handy for coast, countryside and London, has some of the best schools in the southwest, a great market and it's very strong culturally, too."

Previous winners of the Best Places to Live in Britain title were: Stamford, Lincolnshire (2013); Skipton, North Yorkshire (2014); Newnham, Cambridge (2015); Winchester, Hampshire (2016); Bristol (2017) and York (2018).