One County Derry town has been named in the top three places to live in Northern Ireland, according to the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.
Magherafelt has been included in the region's top three, alongside Strangford Loch and outright winner, Holywood, both in County Down.
Expert judges behind the Sunday Times' guide assessed a number of factors in making their decision, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speed to culture, green spaces and the high street.
They looked for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well-designed homes and locations bursting with community spirit.
Magherafelt was selected as a 'supremely practical choice for families' thanks to its convenient central location, rapidly improving town centre and excellent schools.
Local grammar school Rainey Endowed, which recently won the Sunday Times School of the Decade award, was singled out for praise.
Judges were also impressed by the sports facilities at Meadowbank Multi-Sports Arena and Moyola Park Golf Club, as well as the town's choice of hairdressers, beauty salons and coffee shops.
Sunday Times Property Editor, Helen Davies, said this had been a good year for small towns.
“This guide has never been so important. The pandemic has taught us just how much we rely on our homes, our communities and our surroundings,” she said.
“With working from home now common, it’s no surprise that many of us are reassessing our priorities and thinking hard about where we really want to live.
“Our focus for this year has been community, countryside and convenience. It hasn’t been a year for big cities or small villages.
“Instead it is small towns that have shone: big enough to have everything you need within walking distance and small enough for everyone to feel connected.”
Local councillor Darren Totten said the announcement was 'no surprise' to him as a Magherafelt man.
"The focus of the experts is on amenities, location, educational and sporting facilities - which this study rightly shows to be amongst the very best available," he said.
"For me, though, the very best of Magherafelt is that we have a great community in the town and main ingredient in any community is the people.
"The people of Magherafelt have proven many times in recent years that when anyone is in need, it's all hands to the pump regardless of who it is needs help.”
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