In the next part of our London commuter town series, we take a look at the top places to live in the beautiful home county of Surrey. Despite being a primarily rural area, with large spaces of open greenery and picturesque beauty, Surrey is deceptively close to London – something all commuters crave for! In addition, it is in close proximity to two major international airports in Gatwick and Heathrow which sees Surrey have fantastic transport options and accessibility to major arterial roads. The desirable combination of rural living with great connections to the wider world has made Surrey one of the most attractive and affluent commuter counties in our series. Overall, there are some amazing places to live here, plus there are a few surprisingly affordable areas of the county which may be perfect for you if you’re looking for somewhere to live within commuting distance of London.
Distance from Charing Cross: 18 miles
Commute Length: 37 mins to London Waterloo
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £2,484
Average House Selling Price: £376,841
Interesting Fact: Staines-upon-Thames is twinned with the rather exotic location of Grand Port, Mauritius.
Based in the borough of Spelthorne, Staines-upon-Thames is a post town which actually contains a few villages including Wraysbury and Stanwell. Being just 3 miles from Heathrow Airport, Staines makes for the perfect commuter spot if your commute regularly includes international trips as well as travel to London. House prices in this area are relatively affordable in comparison to some other towns in the Surrey commuter belt, which makes it a popular choice for first time buyers. This area was popularly known as the home of Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional character ‘Ali G’, which generally gave rise to a misguided view of the town. Therefore, in 2011 the local council voted to change the name of the town to Staines-upon-Thames to promote its proximity to the river and attempt to boost the local economy. Overall Staines is a wonderful area with plenty of parks and playing fields, as well as beautiful walks and views due to its positioning on the River Thames. As well as this, the small, pedestrianised town centre is host to a market every Wednesday and Saturday for you to pick up some delicious fresh produce or clothing and support the local businesses. Staines-upon-Thames is also home to a number of quality schools, including the highly commended Sir William Perkin’s Independent Girls School in nearby Chertsey and The Magna Carta School – a good state school situated in Staines itself.
Distance from Charing Cross: 17 miles
Commute Length: 33 mins to London Waterloo
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £2,332
Average House Selling Price: £574,844
Interesting Fact: Walton-on-Thames was the backdrop for a number of Monty Python sketches as well as being the birthplace of Dame Julie Andrews.
Walton-on-Thames is an attractive town set alongside the River Thames. The town is home to a number of beautiful green spaces including Ashley Park and Elmgrove Recreation Ground which offers a football pitch, tennis courts and bowls; perfect for any sport enthusiasts. Walton is also very well established when it comes to shopping, particularly with the new retail complex, The Heart. This makes the town a perfect location for families who desire a ‘green’, outdoor lifestyle in combination with modern facilities. Furthermore, primary schools are abundant in Walton, with a number of independent ones including Danesfield Manor School and Westward School, as well as state schools such as Walton Oak primary school and Ashley C of E Primary. Overall, Walton-on-Thames is a quiet and enjoyable town with a fantastic location that really comes to life in the sunshine with its wonderful riverside location being home to some lovely pubs and restaurants such as The Anglers. While it is not as affordable as Staines-upon-Thames, it is a truly pleasant location that offers a high quality of life to its residents without the price tag of its neighbouring town, Esher.
Distance from Charing Cross: 15 miles
Commute Length: 31 mins to London Waterloo
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £2,044
Average House Selling Price: £886,521
Interesting Fact: Famous former residents of Esher include The Beatles’ George Harrison and Maurice Gibb from The Bee Gees.
Set within a 30-minute commute from The Big Smoke, Esher is an idyllic rural town, making it a highly desirable location to call your home. While residents may have the best of both worlds by living in the affluent Esher, this does come with a noticeable price tag, with the average house selling for nearly £900,000 in 2015. However, most properties in this town are detached, which gives you plentiful space to enjoy time away from London. Therefore, if it is within your price range, Esher offers you a fantastic quality of life, whether you would enjoy walks in the National Trust Claremont Gardens or Horse Racing at Sandown Park, there are lots of activities to enjoy. The town itself has lots of independent shops and places to purchase local produce. When it comes to schools, there are a number of fantastic options; Hinchley Wood School is a highly commended comprehensive academy graded as outstanding by Ofsted, whilst Claremont Fan Court School in a fantastic option of you are looking for an independent school for children from 2 ½ up to the age of 18. Therefore, while Esher may come at a price, it is a fantastic place to live and a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of working in The Big Smoke.
Distance from Charing Cross: 25 miles
Commute Length: 30 mins to London Waterloo
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £3,080
Average House Selling Price: £457,936
Interesting Fact: In War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, the Martians first land on earth on Horsell Common, which is where Well was residing at the time. The town centre has erected a Martian tripod statue to commemorate this.
Located in the north-west of Surrey, Woking is a beautiful town just a stone’s throw from London based around the River Wey. The town has a generous offering when it comes to dining and shopping, with a lot of money invested in its regeneration including a new public space called Jubilee Square. Home to an award-winning gallery called The Lightbox, as well as The New Victoria Theatre which often has some of the West End’s biggest shows, Woking is the perfect commuter spot for enthusiasts of the arts. Its rapidly growing culture and arts centre have made the town a great location if you wish to commute from London without moving to a quiet pocket of Surrey.
Interestingly, the town is the birthplace to a wide-range of notable people, such as former British Rowing Olympic Gold-Medallist James Cracknell, TV Personality Harry Hill as well as culinary favourite Delia Smith – therefore it may be a wise decision to start a family in Woking! As well as all of this, the schools in the area are also fantastic. If you are looking to send your children to a comprehensive school, St John the Baptist School has been deemed outstanding by Ofsted. Alternatively, if it’s an independent school you’re in search of, Ripley Court School offers exceptional education for children of all ages.
Distance from Charing Cross: 20 miles
Commute Length: 41 mins to London Bridge
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £2,696
Average House Selling Price: £372,510
Interesting Fact: Britain’s oldest windmill is situated just 15 minutes from Redhill, fully functioning and set in beautiful grounds.
Set at the foot of the North Downs, Redhill is a bustling town with the perfect mix of both old and new in terms of architecture. The town offers a fantastic shopping scene, with a number of major retailers as well as independent shops and restaurants. Furthermore, it is slightly more affordable than Woking and Walton-on-Thames, so it could be a great investment. The main attraction of Redhill is that it’s located on the doorstep of rolling countryside, plus it has a number of water sports activities available too! This makes Redhill a great place to live if you find London a bit stifling and crave space and the great outdoors. For schools, Redhill has a number of offer. The Hawthorns School is an independent day school for children ages two to 13 with successful programmes in sport, music and design. Alternatively, St Bede’s school offers high-quality education for those looking for a comprehensive secondary school.
The towns and villages of Surrey are ideal areas to live if you are commuting, offering the suburban/country lifestyle so many of us yearn for, but within such close proximity to London. Whilst a number of the areas live up to the expectation that Surrey is an expensive county (Esher, for example), there are a number of areas which offer affordable living without compromising on the area. It is for this reason that we have chosen Staines-upon-Thames as our number one commuter location in Surrey. Lately, this town has gone through an impressively extensive regeneration project and has so much to offer people of all ages and interests. Plus, there is a fantastic sense of community, ensuring that it will feel like home in no time!