Instagram photos reveal the UK’s happiest places

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You might remember our blog post we wrote last year, naming Harrogate as the happiest place to live in the UK, according to research carried out by property website Rightmove. Well, a 21st century spin has been put on the quest to find the most smiley town in the country with the help of 100 million Instagram photos.

UK start-up firm Jetpac used software to analyse the mouths in location-tagged photos and whether they were smiling, wearing lipstick (apparently a sign of happiness) or topped off by a moustache (according to the research, facial hair is a common features in hipsters, and therefore less likely to accompanied by a smile. A possible explanation as to why London is so far down the list?).

Funnily enough, my hometown Belfast turned out to be top of the list – more specifically the Parlour Bar. Unsurprisingly, this particular establishment, for as long as I can remember, has been quite the honeypot for local sixth-formers and university students. The novelty of nights out and the promise of youth, armed with a smartphone, probably explain the high concentration of smiles!belfast city hall

Bad news for those in Salford, which came bottom. But it seems it isn’t just grim up north with southern cities in the firing line too. I wouldn’t get too disheartened though – there’s no sign of Harrogate in the entire list, so probably best to take this fun bit of research with a pinch of salt. Besides, with JoJo stores in lots of the ‘unhappiest’ towns, we can safely say they are lovely, friendly places and we love being there!

In total, 40 UK cities were ranked – did your town make it on to either list?

Happiest Unhappiest
1. Belfast 40. Salford
2. Bournemouth 39. Bath
3. Derby 38. London
4. Exeter 37. Luton
5. Lincoln 36. Edinburgh
6. Aberdeen 35. Newquay
7. Glasgow 34. Sheffield
8. Colchester 33. Brighton
9. Newcastle 32. York
10. Oxford 31. Blackpool



Photo | “Belfast City Hall” by Iker Merodio is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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3 comments for “Instagram photos reveal the UK’s happiest places

  1. Therese
    05/02/2014 at 12:17 pm

    So when is Belfast getting a jojo?

    • Laura Tenison
      23/02/2014 at 6:18 pm

      What a great time to ask that question since I am considering a store in Lisburn Road, Belfast right now!

      Maybe you could help … do you think we would do OK in that suburb? As a niche market retailer with an environmental stance, we really prefer to stay in local high streets (to help regenerate them) and out of shopping centres – where the rents are generally too high for us to survive.

      Please let us know what you think? I’m planning a trip very soon. thanks, Laura,Founder & MD, JoJo

  2. NualaM
    01/07/2014 at 6:55 pm

    I am delighted you are opening up on the Lisburn road. A kids clothes shop is so badly needed and will save me heading to Dublin. When does it open, great location especially opposite 352 medical where all the pregnant ladies have their appointments – perfect for nipping over each wee for a treat. Better there than city centre. Didn’t know u were from Belfast! Like the brand even more.

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