A quiet Lincolnshire market town renowned for its pork pies and medieval architecture has been named the best place to live in Britain by the Sunday Times.

Stamford, described as "being a reminder of when Britain was hale and hearty," beat 101 other contenders for its great houses, excellent schools, transport links, beautiful surroundings and thriving community.

A centre of the wool trade in the Middle Ages, Stamford became one of the country's most important towns, and much of its cobbled and timbered centre is still intact.

Its old world charm has formed the backdrop for numerous films, with a television adaptation of Middlemarch and 2005's Pride and Prejudice both being shot there.

Interiors of the imposing Burghley House, built by the secretary of state for Elizabeth I, Lord Cecil, were used to stand in for the pope's palace in the film adaptation of the Da Vinci Code.

The town also boasts two surprising firsts, as the first tomatoes in England were grown in Burghley House and the oldest newspaper in the country was founded in the town in the 1690s.

It is a short distance from Peterborough, which is only 53 minutes from London by train, and is home to an 18,000 strong community ranging from farmers to commuters. It was recently described as having "all the charm of the Cotswolds without the snobs and the tourists."