WITH its historic buildings and vast array of restaurants, Winchester has become a must visit for tourists.

Now the city has been named the best place to live in Britain.

The Sunday Times Best Places To Live guide, published today, called the city ''practically perfect''.

Winchester was found to offer the best quality of life to the most people, hosting a positive community spirit, good shops and attractive outdoor spaces.

The guide said Winchester was a ''historic, cultured, foodie city'', with excellent schools, top restaurants and friendly residents.

Published annually, the guide combines data such as crime rates, house prices and school performance with local knowledge.

The city's mayor, Cllr Angela Clear, congratulated the city and said she was not surprised by the result.

"Winchester has a fantastic look and feel to it," said Cllr Clear.

"With the cathedral and all the fantastic restaurants I can see why it is loved by so many people. I have never heard a complaint about them.

"The high street is always full of visitors and groups of students.

"I spoke to some tourists yesterday who had just flown in from South Africa and their first port-of-call was to come to Winchester.

"I thought that was just amazing.

"Well done Winchester."

The city has always been popular with visitors, from the famous Christmas markets to the picturesque cathedral, the dubbed “Christmas Capital” is no stranger to praise.

However, Winchester city councillor Ian Tait thinks the city needs to address its affordable housing problem before it can celebrate.

"My only issue is the availability of affordable housing in the city," confessed Cllr Tait.

"We are very lucky to have a city like Winchester, with brilliant schools, great food, spectacular countryside and a place we feel safe.

"But I have issue with the fact that Winchester has become a very exclusive and desirable place to live, which is pushing up the price of housing.

"We have to be careful not to build a moat around Winchester with a draw bridge to stop people from coming here.

"However, I can see why it was named as number one. Having lived here all my life I think has just about everything. "

Last year, Moseley in Birmingham claimed the prestigious prize with the guide noting the town had an "edgy reputation, with acres of splendid wilderness"