A HAMPSHIRE borough has clung onto its crown as the UK district with the best quality of life.

Hart, which is centred on the town of Fleet in north east Hampshire, beat long-term winner Elmbridge in Surrey for the second year running according to Halifax's annual Quality of Life report measuring employment, health, life expectancy, crime rates, weather and house prices.

The survey shows districts in South East England to be increasingly more desirable, with 30 districts in the top 50, up from 27 last year.

There are just six areas outside the south in the top 50. Nowhere in northern England, Scotland or Wales made the grade.

Hart has been dubbed 'a step back in time', with 84 square miles of green wooded landscape and Hampshire's largest freshwater lake.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: ''While not necessarily being the leading district across all measures, Hart comes out on top because it scores consistently highly across nearly all indicators.

''In particular, Hart residents enjoy good health, high employment, low crime, and high quality schooling.''

The study shows Hart residents can expect to live longer than the average Briton, with the average life expectancy at 81.7 years for men, compared to the national average of 79.

Employment in Hart is well above the national average (70.2%) at 78.6% and crimes rates are among the lowest in the country.

Other parts of Hampshire to make the top 50 were Winchester in 34 th place and Fareham in 35 th.