By Frank Barrett, Travel Editor, The Mail on Sunday
Is Melbourne really the best place to live in the entire world?
I wouldn?t live in Melbourne if you paid me: I have similar feelings for Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Adelaide, Sydney, Helsinki, Perth and Auckland.
What do these places all have in common? According to the Economist Intelligence Unit they?re the ten best places to live in the world (from Melbourne number one to Auckland number 10).
Amazingly, the EIU reckons that London is number 55 on this list.
If Melbourne is the answer, however, you wonder how they framed the question.
If you?re used to living in a real city like London (or Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh or two dozen other UK places), then any city in Australia, Canada or New Zealand will come as a major disappointment.
Auckland, for example, can hardly be described as a city at all: it has more the feeling of a UK town (Bath has dozens more good shops and interesting sights than Auckland ? and far better pubs, clubs and restaurants).
And yet, for some reason, Australia and New Zealand are constantly presented to us as wonderful places to live. When I?ve happened across that BBC programme which involves taking Brits to Australia in order to persuade them to emigrate, one of the major reasons they offer is that Australia would allow kids a great ?outdoors? life.
I grew up ?outdoors? in the countryside and I hated it. The good life for me was drawing the curtains on a sunny Sunday afternoon and watching the telly (at which point my mother would rush in to pull the curtains back telling me ?not to shut out God?s sunlight?).
I?m not being stupidly patriotic here (although my judgement may be skewed in the wake of the glorious Olympics) but there really is no better place on earth than London.
Anyone who is tired of London, is tired of life. Anyone excited by Melbourne really needs to get out more?
Do you agree with Frank? Would you swap a British city for Australia or Canada? And just how accurate are the Economist Intelligence Unit results? Have your say here...