Our secret’s out. The best place to live in Britain is York, and now everyone knows.

Our city has topped The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list, revealed today (Sunday, March 18).

Its combination of ancient beauty and a recent modernisation shot York to the top of the league table.

Why the Sunday Times chose York

‘Mini metropolis’

York comes out in top spot due to its emergence as a mini metropolis, with trendy cafes and destination restaurants, innovative tech and media firms, and a dynamic workforce, the newspaper said.

Having both the University of York and York St John University, thriving culture including Jorvik and the York Theatre Royal, festivals including the York Mediale, and great schools like Huntington and Fulford are all cited too.

The list takes into account a wide range of factors, from jobs, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops.

The new face of York – the Hiscox building on Peasholme Green, and the modern flats reflected in the mirror-like frontage. Photograph: Nigel Holland

The methodology uses statistics, but also the knowledge of the Sunday Times‘s expert panel.

Sunday Times home editor Helen Davies said: “Choosing the right location to put down roots is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.

“Which is why we’re here to help – and what Best Places to Live in Britain is all about.

“We’re championing York this year in honour of its bold approach to bringing the historic city into the 21st century without losing any character or community spirit.”

The news comes after the city came third in a review of the world’s best medieval cities.

What the Sunday Times said

A taste of things to come… Spark:York on Piccadilly. Photograph: YorkMix

You can’t deny the romantic beauty of York. The period buildings, the meandering river and the iconic Minster have ensured this city a billing in every Best Places list. But it has hitherto been denied the top spot because it has always been a bit, well, old — and we’re not just talking the 2,000 years of history that started with the Romans. No longer. York today is a mini metropolis, with cool cafes, destination restaurants and innovative companies — plus the fastest internet in Britain.

Co-working spaces are opening up, the insurer Hiscox has built landmark offices, and this year should see the unveiling of Spark:York, a business hub and community space.

Hipsters can enjoy Zen cooking and moreish french toast with basil sugar (£7.50) at Partisan, or marvel at the themed petits fours at Arras, a fine-dining spot. Anyone who’s anyone brunches at the Polish restaurant Barbakan and buys organic sourdough at Haxby Bakehouse.

Newgate Market, by the Shambles , was given a £1.5m facelift in 2014 — renamed Shambles Market, it offers Levantine street food and (of course) free wi-fi. The £15m John Lewis store is the star attraction of the £90m Vangarde Shopping Park, in Monks Cross.

This new industrial revolution is attracting talent from software designers to researchers, gaming companies, film-makers and financial firms.

For all York’s cutting-edge cool, it’s still regularly voted one of the friendliest cities in the UK. North Yorkshire is also consistently found to be the safest area in England, with the lowest crime rate.