commuter towns Archives

For our latest instalment in the London’s Best Commuter Town series, we look at the county of Bedfordshire. The area has become an increasingly popular place to relocate to for workers from London, helped in part by its affordable housing – a big attraction for young professional couples wanting to get their foot on the property ladder. Furthermore, as Bedfordshire is slightly further away than other commuter spots such as Surrey or Hertfordshire, ‘Beds’ provides great access to the countryside (such as the Chilterns and Dunstable Downs) and other parts of the UK like Cambridge and Oxford. Indeed, accessibility is a big plus in Bedfordshire; the county has its own international Airport in Luton as well as major roads such as the A1 (London to Edinburgh) and the A5 (London to Holyhead). In terms of commuting, Bedfordshire has three main rail services, so residents never feel too disconnected from the rest of the country despite being able to enjoy a more laid back and rural lifestyle than living in London.

Bedford

River view of Bedford: best commuter town in Bedfordshire

Population: 166,252
Distance from Charing Cross: 51 miles
Commute Length: 39 mins to London St Pancras
Annual Train Ticket: £4,528
Average House Price: £297,559
Interesting Fact: Bedford was ranked the ‘most generous town’ in the UK by donation site JustGiving in 2014

Starting off our exploration of Bedfordshire commuter towns, we look at one of its largest towns: Bedford. The furthest north of London from any of our entrees, Bedford is 51 miles away from Charing Cross. But due to the strong transport system which Bedfordshire is known for, getting to London St Pancras takes just under 40 minutes by train. As a place to live, Bedford is well liked for its green, open spaces which provide residents with a pleasant, outdoors lifestyle. Bedford Park is the town’s largest park and still contains some of its original Victorian features such as the bandstand and cricket pavilion. And if sports are your thing, Bedford is also home to four Rugby Union teams!  A little further out is Priory Country Park which is a fantastic rural space full of meadows, woodland and nature trails and has been awarded a Green Flag Status by Keep Britain Tidy.

There is also a strong sense of community in Bedford which is home to two popular festivals. Continuing with the outdoors theme, the town hosts an annual International Kite Festival and a bi-annual Bedford River Festival, which is the second largest regular outdoor event in the UK after Notting Hill Carnival. With Bedford being situated on the River Ouse, there are plenty of water based activities to partake in such as kayaking and canoeing, plus some of Bedford’s most desirable housing is situated by the river too.

The average house price in Bedford is just under £300,000 which is surprisingly less than the county’s average, despite being a popular place to live. What’s more, the average annual train ticket is around £4,500, which is slightly cheaper than rival commuter towns such as Sandy and Biggleswade. The value for money that Bedford offers is perfect for families looking to upsize to a larger home with a garden. What also makes Bedford an attractive option for those looking to raise a family would be its strong schooling system. The town has two acclaimed independent schools, the Bedford School and Bedford Modern School as well as strong local state schools such as the Sharnbrook Academy and St Thomas More Catholic School area. The impressive education system in Bedford extends to tertiary education, with the town being home to the University of Bedfordshire.

Overall, Bedford is a fantastic place to live if you’re looking for an outdoors lifestyle and high quality of life. It has a welcoming community atmosphere and is well connected to the rest of the UK, so it’s not too London-focussed.

Luton

Park view of Luton: Bedfordshire commuter town

Population: 214,700
Distance from Charing Cross: 32 miles
Commute Length: 24 mins to London St Pancras
Annual Train Ticket: £4,030
Average House Price: 241,321
Interesting Fact: Luton Carnival is the biggest one-day carnival in Europe

If you’re not looking to move too far away from London (such as Bedford), Luton may be the right commuter town for you. Whilst the town does not enjoy the same esteemed reputation as the likes of Bedford or Leighton Buzzard, it does offer great value for money and is extremely well connected to the capital. This makes Luton a great place to live for young professionals that are looking to get their foot onto the property ladder, particularly as the average house price is just over £240,000, which can get you significantly more than most parts of London! Furthermore, you are only 24 minutes away from London St Pancras by train, so Luton residents can enjoy a shorter commute than many people living in The Big Smoke. Annual train tickets are just over £4,000 which is the most cost-efficient of any commuter towns in this series, while for regular international travellers, Luton has its own international airport.

In terms of desirable areas to live in Luton, properties along the Old Bedford Road are the most popular. This area is situated just north of Wardown Park, which is an attractive open space with plenty of sporting facilities, a lake and Wardown Park Museum. In general, places in north Luton are leafier than in the centre and are popular places for families to settle down. If being close to greenery is an important factor in your decision to move away from London, Luton is also very close to the Dunstable Downs and the Chilterns, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and perfect for family days out.

In terms of education, the Cardinal Newman Catholic School and the Chalk Hills Academy are the highest rated, both of which are situated in the desirable northern areas of Luton. Therefore, if you are looking for good value housing, strong transport connections and to live within a short trip of open countryside or London, Luton may be perfect for you.

Biggleswade

Biggleswade town centre: bedfordshire commuter town

Population: 16,551
Distance from Charing Cross: 45 miles
Commute Length: 43 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £5,565
Average House Price: £296,028
Interesting Fact: Biggleswade was mentioned twice in the diary of Samuel Pepys

If the reason you are looking to relocate from London is to move to a smaller town or village, Biggleswade is worth considering. With a population of just over 16,000, the town is far smaller than the likes of Bedford or Luton, but this does not mean it is isolated or less well connected. Biggleswade is close to the A1 which has attracted commuters that travel by car in recent years, while a direct train to Kings Cross takes around 45 minutes. Annual train tickets are just over £5,500 which is more than previous entrants but average house prices are below £300,000 which makes it accessible to many. Furthermore, the town is growing which means there’s lots of new housing being developed currently so now may be the ideal time to invest in Biggleswade.

The development of the town, such as a new retail park, does not detract from the independent feel of Biggleswade, with its array of local pubs and eateries. Residents in Biggleswade are fortunate as they can enjoy a quieter, calmer pace of life (helped in part by its rural location), whilst also having a major train line running through it. This helps residents to easily escape hectic London life but also be easily connected to work.

Overall, Biggleswade is a great choice if you want to live in a small, close-knit community with an independent feel. For those looking to start a new family, the town is home to the highly esteemed Lawns Nursey School (a preschool) while the Stratton Upper School is highly rated for secondary education. We feel that the town is rapidly developing and becoming a great place for commuters.

Sandy

RSPB Lodge in Sandy: Bedfordshire Commuter Towns

Population: 11,657
Distance from Charing Cross: 50 miles
Commute Length: 50 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £5,828
Average House Price: £300,536
Interesting Fact: Sandy was once an important trading centre during Roman times

Another smaller, upcoming place to live in Bedfordshire would be the town of Sandy. Situated just to the north of Biggleswade and to the east of Bedford, Sandy has a population just shy of 12,000 which is a perfect change in environment from the enormity of London. Despite the town being 50 miles from London, commuting to London Kings Cross only takes 50 minutes. At £5,828, annual train tickets are somewhat pricier than Luton for example, but residents can benefit from its proximity to the A1 if you are looking to drive to the capital. Residents of Sandy can also enjoy a slower pace of life and a better quality one too, with its beautiful countryside surroundings.

Sandy is well-known for being home to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which reaffirms its rural setting and how close it is to nature (their Swiss Cottage style office named ‘The Lodge’ is pictured above), making it perfect for woodland walks. Its nature reserve has over 100 acres of green space, which is ideal for the outdoorsy types. If spending time outside is a big factor in your next move, the town is just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Sand Hills (which lends to the town’s name).

In terms of education, Sandy’s proximity to Bedford sees many residents take advantage of their fine independent schools, while Sandy Upper School is a good choice if you’re looking for education closer to home. Indeed, the town is well suited to raising a family with an array of spacious post-war housing and the average house price being around the county average of £300,000. This town would suit those who prioritise space and a quieter lifestyle over amenities and nightlife.

Leighton Buzzard

Canal view of Leighton Buzzard: Bedfordshire Commuter Town

Population: 37,000
Distance from Charing Cross: 40 miles
Commute Length: 35 mins to London Euston
Annual Train Ticket: £5,256
Average House Price: £305,762
Interesting Fact: Leighton Buzzard is home to the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway, one of the few remaining narrow gauge railways left in the UK

For our final Bedfordshire commuter town, we look at the mid-range sized town of Leighton Buzzard. Situated to the northwest of the Dunstable Downs, Leighton Buzzard is close to Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and is great for those that desire an outdoors lifestyle. The River Ouzel runs through the town as does the famous Grand Union Canal, which Leighton Buzzard is well known for. There is also a wealth of activity along the canal which residents can enjoy, from peaceful walks to fishing and waterside pubs.

Despite its rural setting, Leighton Buzzard is still only a 35-minute train away from London Euston which makes it a perfect setting for potential commuters. Annual train tickets are priced at £5,256 but residents can enjoy a shorter commute than other parts of Bedfordshire, while the town is also close to the M1 for other transport connections. In terms of housing, average property prices are just over £305,000 and there is a lot of family housing for those looking to upsize or start one. Areas towards the north of Leighton Buzzard are the most desirable to buy in, including areas between Plantation Road and Heath Road – two main streets that run parallel to each other in the northern part of the town. Also in this area is Rushmere County Park, which features large green open spaces and woodland making it perfect for horse riding and cycling trials. Another attractive area to live in and around Leighton Buzzard would be Linslade – a nearby town which is increasingly becoming ‘part’ of Leighton Buzzard. It is a green, leafier area to the west of the Grand Union Canal where Leighton Buzzard’s train station is situated.

In terms of education, Cedars Upper School to the south and Vandyke Upper School to the north are the highest rated. Cedars Upper School is situated close to Waterside Park, which is extremely popular with residents. It is a former sandy quarry that has been converted into a nature reserve, featuring wild flora and fauna, including a lake which stocks Wels Catfish. Overall, Leighton Buzzard is a welcoming town that has great access to the capital but also boasts beautiful surrounding countryside. It has retained is ‘small-town’ feel with bi-weekly Farmer’s Markets too so it does not feel over commercialised.

And our winner is…

Bedford!

We feel that Bedford encapsulates what people are looking for when searching for their ideal commuter town. It is far enough away from the capital to get a sense of detachment but it is still a relatively quick commute into central London and other places in the UK. Moreover, the green space that Bedford is well-known for makes it an attractive proposition for Londoners, as does the community spirit found in the town with its annual festivals and parks. With Bedford growing in popularity with the commuter population, we’d recommend investing in a new home there soon!

For our fifth instalment in the London’s Best Commuter Towns series, we look at the wonderful county of Hertfordshire. Situated to the north of the capital, Hertfordshire benefits from having fantastic connections to London (especially to Kings Cross) and its other bordering commuter counties such as Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Buckinghamshire. Despite its primarily rural setting, Hertfordshire has been attracting commuters for hundreds of years thanks to the river Lea providing quick transportation for boats to east London. Nowadays, Herts has an abundance of attractive places to live, from established market towns to cute, quainter villages that can provide residents with a peaceful way of life at a slower pace. In addition, Hertfordshire is home to several Garden Cities and New Towns, specifically designed with the residents’ quality of life in mind to enjoy both a city and countryside lifestyle – something that definitely attracts London commuters. First off, we look at the attractive St Albans.

St Albans

Hertfordshire Commuter Town: St Albans

Population: 57,795
Distance from Charing Cross: 19 miles
Commute Length: 30 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £4,400
Average House Price: £582,043
Interesting Fact: St Albans is reported to be the birthplace of the Hot Cross Bun

While not strictly a ‘commuter town’ in the sense that it is a city, St Albans has long been a favourite for those looking to leave London for a more peaceful way of life. The location boasts a picturesque medieval city centre and stunning cathedral, whilst still retaining its close-knit feel with regular Farmer’s Markets and an abundance of independent shops. The pleasantness of St Albans is further reinforced with its attractive Georgian and Edwardian properties, and while the average house price is quite expensive for Hertfordshire, commuters with a larger budget can get a fantastic abode with real character. St Albans is also full of cultural and arts events and is even home to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) which sees the town having some fantastic pubs and a popular Beer & Cider festival too. While you may never want to leave this quaint city, St Albans is extremely well connected and only half an hour away from the capital by train. Furthermore, it is close to major transport links such as the M1, A1 and the M25 so residents do not feel too detached from the rest of the world.

For families looking to move to St Albans, it has a strong education system. The independent St Albans School has an outstanding reputation and interestingly, previous attendees include world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Other schooling options include the Sandringham School, which has academy status as well as the St Albans High School for Girls (independent). Overall, St Albans provides a fantastic quality of life to its residents, which already sees it having a large commuter population. While it may be more expensive that other Hertfordshire locations it can be viewed to be the county’s cultural centre with its fascinating history.

Stevenage

Hertfordshire Commuter Town: Stevenage

Population: 86,500
Distance from Charing Cross: 31 miles
Commute Length: 24 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £3,612
Average House Price: £300,941
Interesting Fact: In 1946 Stevenage was Britain’s first New Town, featuring the UK’s first pedestrianised city centre.

If you are looking for a more affordable area to live in Hertfordshire, you may find the prospect of relocating to Stevenage a viable option. The average house price here is just over £300,000 and as the UK’s first ‘New Town’, the design of the town has incorporated an abundance of family-focussed housing. If you are seeking a property with a bit more ‘character’, Stevenage’s old town may be the best place to start your search. This area of Stevenage predates its expansion as part of the New Town Act in 1946 when it was a small farming town. It has a delightful countryside feel and the small-town centre in the Old Town has medieval charm.

In addition, Stevenage also has fantastic transport links, with regular trains into London Kings Cross and Moorgate which can see commuters get to work in a shorter time than many of their London-based colleagues (24 mins). There are also more plans in the pipeline to improve its already impressive rail system with direct trains to Farringdon, London Bridge and Gatwick Airport being planned for 2018. Overall, Stevenage appears to have lots of areas for growth in the future, with a £19 million-pound redevelopment of the town centre set to commence. Therefore, it may be an ideal time for any property buyers to invest in Stevenage. While house prices are currently at an affordable level, there is certainly a strong indication that with the scheduled investment in Stevenage house prices may rise in the area. So, Stevenage may be a great option for first time buyers to get on the ladder and get real value for their money.

Letchworth

Hertfordshire Commuter Towns: Letchworth

Population: 33,249
Distance from Charing Cross: 38 miles
Commute Length: 38 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £4,072
Average House Price: £360,994
Interesting Fact: The first roundabout in the UK was built in Letchworth in 1909

Designed in the early twentieth century by social reformer Ebenezer Howard, Letchworth was the world’s first Garden City and was planned on the foundation of providing residents with a high quality of life, incorporating urban and countryside living. This focus on residents’ wellbeing is a big factor as to why Letchworth is a popular place to live for people working in London. Additionally, the egalitarian focus of Letchworth’s conception has ensured that no specific areas of the town are more/less desirable than others, meaning that finding a suitable property is less hassle than in other commuter town locations. Furthermore, there was a big emphasis in Letchworth’s design for each house to have a garden, so relocating from London can allow residents more spacious living in a town where good health is a priority, making it a great place to raise a family. Letchworth also has two well-regarded public schools, St Francis’ College for Girls and the forward-thinking St Christopher School – which is a vegetarian boarding school for boys and girls.

Indeed, Letchworth is a very environmentally conscious area that supports a healthy, outdoor lifestyle which is great if you’re tired of London living. It has a popular outdoor lido as well as Broadway Gardens with its pretty flower beds and signature water fountain. If you desire an active lifestyle, you may enjoy Letchworth’s Greenway which is a 13.6-mile circular path around Letchworth and the surrounding countryside, full of space for outdoor pursuits. While it is slightly further out than other commuter towns (38 mins to Kings Cross) it does offer a complete detachment from life in the capital.

Hatfield

Hertfordshire Commuter Towns: Hatfield

Population: 39,202
Distance from Charing Cross: 20 miles
Commute Length: 24 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £2,632
Average House Price: £427,651
Interesting Fact: Hatfield Business Park has been a filming location for both Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.

If you’re looking to commute from Hertfordshire but want to remain a short hop, skip and a jump away from London, Hatfield may be your ideal location. It is only 20 miles from central London meaning you can get to Kings Cross in 24 minutes. Moreover, its proximity to the capital sees an annual train ticket coming in at £2,632 – far cheaper than surrounding commuter towns. Residents of Hatfield are also close to both Luton and Stansted Airport too, so it benefits from great connections. Like Stevenage, Hatfield has an old town area that is full of character and is the most popular place to buy homes in. Property in Hatfield is less economical than places slightly further out, with the average house price coming in at just shy of £430,000, but it does boast of an impressive education system. It has the well esteemed Queenswood School (independent) as well as Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School and Chancellor’s School too. In addition, the University of Hertfordshire is based in Hatfield which adds some youthful exuberance to the town’s atmosphere. If you’re into fitness, the University is home to Hertfordshire Sports Village (open to the public) and there are state of the art facilities for a wide array of different activities.

If you’re looking for more peaceful pursuits, you can pass time in the large Hatfield Park which is home to Hatfield House. This stately home is an incredible example of extravagant Jacobean architecture and there are several pleasant walks about you go on if you’re an outdoor person. Overall, Hatfield is conveniently located and connected to London which is ideal if you want a short commute and get your foot on the property ladder.

Welwyn Garden City 

Hertfordshire Commuter Towns: Welwyn Garden City

Population: 46,619
Distance from Charing Cross: 23 miles
Commute Length: 34 mins to London Kings Cross
Annual Train Ticket: £2,824
Average House Price: £393,251
Interesting Fact: Welwyn Garden City has a double status of being both a town and garden city

Finally, we look at Welwyn Garden City – a unique town in the sense that it has been designed as both a Garden City and a New Town. As the town’s conception has been carefully planned to promote a good quality of life, it can be an ideal location for those looking to relocate from London. House prices are slightly more affordable than neighbouring St Albans or Hatfield, with the average house price coming in at under £400,000 so you could get a good investment here amongst pretty and peaceful surroundings. With regards to commuting, you can get into Kings Cross in just over 30 minutes and the annual train ticket comes in at under £3,000. It is also close to the A1 and M25 if you’re looking to drive too.

In terms of living in Welwyn, the town is close to the idyllic Stanborough Park which features a boating lake and has the River Lea running through it too – perfect for country walks in the summer. Moreover, there are lots of leisure activities in and around Welwyn such as Knebworth House which hosts large concerts, as well as smaller family activities such as an Adventure Playground and Dinosaur Trail. For slightly older kids, Welwyn is also close to Gosling Sports Park where you can learn to ski and snowboard! Indeed, this town is an ideal place to raise a family away from the capital with houses purpose built for families and plenty of activities for youngsters. In terms of education, the independent Sherrardswood School has a fine reputation as does Monk’s Walk School. Overall, Welwyn can give residents a great quality of life in a spacious, family-friendly environment. It is great for those who are looking for a greener environment to live in and a slower pace of life.

And our winner is…

Letchworth!

As Letchworth offers residents a fresh break from life in the capital, we have voted Letchworth to be the number one commuter town in Hertfordshire. For us, it encapsulates what a commuter town should be. It is pleasant and roomy and this is reflected in its properties too. Furthermore, it has a strong educational system for young people looking to start a family in an affordable area. It can provide people with the quiet, outdoors lifestyle difficult to achieve in London.

If you’re looking to relocate from London, perhaps you’re after a quick house sale, why don’t you check out other areas in our series such as Essex, Kent, East Sussex and Surrey.

As seasoned property buyers, we regularly travel across Greater London, the home counties and south-east of England, often venturing through prime commuter locations. Of the many commuter counties we have visited, Essex is one of our favourites. Blessed with bustling towns that have immediate access to the peaceful countryside, Essex also has the longest coastline of any English county (350 miles) with 35 islands off the coast. Interestingly, if you are looking to escape the chaos of The Big Smoke, you could relocate to the UK’s smallest town (Manningtree) or move to Tiptree, the largest village in the UK! Overall Essex is full of personality with lots of different areas to live within travelling distance to London. Here we look at our favourite commuter towns.

Southend

Population: 177,931
Distance from Charing Cross: 40 miles
Commute Length: 51 mins to London Fenchurch Street
Annual Train Ticket: £4,736.00
Average House Price: £257,972
Interesting Fact: At 1.33 miles in length, Southend has is the longest pleasure pier in the world.

Essex Commuter Town: Southend

Southend-on-Sea is a regional favourite of ours, as we previously mentioned in our Top 7 seaside destinations near London post. While the town may have been previously famous for attracting holidaymakers and day-trippers, Southend is now working towards becoming a great place to settle down and live with its several regeneration projects. For example, in recent years there has been a £22 million renovation of the Victoria Shopping Centre combined with a £50 million revamp of its famous seafront as well. Another attractive reason to relocate to Southend is that it has recently invested over £20 million to improve its already impressive education system that includes the ‘outstanding’ Southend High School for Girls and Westcliff High School for Boys. Furthermore, European regeneration funding has also benefitted tertiary education here with the establishment of the Southend campus for the University of Essex.
While there has been significant investment to renovate Southend, properties are still very affordable with the average house price costing just shy of £258,000, so you could easily get yourself a bargain if you are craving a coastal lifestyle. Furthermore, with over seven miles of coastline, living in Southend is great for facilitating an outdoors lifestyle, whether you fancy kayaking, sailing or just peaceful weekend walks. Moreover, living in Southend does not make you feel cut off from the rest of the UK, it boasts three train stations and you can reach London in under an hour. Plus, with Southend’s own international airport, you don’t have to feel isolated from the rest of the world either, with destinations including Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam!
Southend is a great place if you’re looking for quality schools and an up-and-coming area full of potential.

Colchester

Population: 121,859
Distance from Charing Cross: 51 miles
Commute Length: 53 mins to London Liverpool Street
Annual Train Ticket: £6,016.00
Average House Price: £269,199
Interesting Fact: Colchester is the UK’s oldest recorded town and it was the first Roman capital of Britain.

Essex Commuter Town: Colchester

If you’d prefer to live in a place of real historical significance, perhaps Colchester is the ideal commuter town for you. Often regarded as the cultural capital of Essex, Colchester is a historic town with medieval streets, a Norman castle that was built on the foundations of a Roman Temple and even Dutch and Georgian quarters! Furthermore, if you are looking to live on the outskirts of a town, Colchester has many pretty villages nearby and its surrounding rural area is known as Constable Country, with its picturesque countryside being the muse of English Romantic painter John Constable.Within the town itself, Colchester is full of cultural activities featuring regular Farmer’s markets and a wide range of annual festivals from crafts, film and of course food and beer! Moreover, if you are worried about leaving London’s theatres behind, Colchester has the Mercury Theatre. Opened in 1972, it is full of regional and national productions to keep you entertained. What’s more, in 2011 Colchester welcomed Firstsite, a contemporary art gallery and cultural centre designed by legendary Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, costing over £28 million and affectionately known as the ‘Golden Banana’. A strong focus on education and culture is also apparent in Colchester’s schooling system. In the local catchment area there is the highly commended Colchester Country High School for Girls and the Royal Grammar School for Boys (girls are admitted at Sixth Form level).

Another reason why Colchester has become a popular commuter destination for those who work in London is its affordable housing. The average house price is under £270,000, and in terms of location, the north of Colchester has proved to be a favourite location for commuters to settle down. In addition, there are trains to the Capital every seven minutes at peak times. While annual train tickets are slightly more expensive than others in Essex, the regularity of services are often seen as invaluable by Colchester commuters.

Overall, Colchester is a fantastic place to live if you want to stay culturally connected but also appreciate the great outdoors with Dedham Vale and Stour Valley close by.

Brentwood

Population: 49,463
Distance from Charing Cross: 20 miles
Commute Length: 39 mins to London Liverpool Street
Annual Train Ticket: £2,580.00
Average House Price: £462,104
Interesting Fact: Dating back to the fourth century, the ‘Brentwood Ring’ is one of the earliest Christian rings ever to have been discovered in Britain having been found in Brentwood in the late 1940s. The only other comparable ring of its type is current located at the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Essex Commuter Town: Brentwood

Brentwood started life as a popular coach stop for those travelling into London and as time has passed, it has developed into a popular commuter town for Londoners. It is certainly an affluent town with the average house price costing over £460,000, but residents enjoy its array of independent shops and restaurants. Another incentive to move to Brentwood is that it is also home to two outstanding secondary schools; the Brentwood School and St Martin’s. Thus, one of the biggest motivating factors people have found when moving to Brentwood is the increased quality of life in comparison to London.

Perhaps the greatest incentive to sell your home and move to Brentwood would be its enviable location. It is in close proximity to the M25 (Junction 28) but also a stone’s throw from rural countryside, woodland and public parks, including Shenfield Common and King George V Playing Field. This combination makes Brentwood a great place to live but also makes for an easy commute too. You can get into central London in under 40 minutes during peak hours. Additionally, in 2018 Brentwood will be part of the new Crossrail service, helping it become even easier to commute from London!

With this in mind, despite it being a bit more expensive than the rest of Essex, Brentwood is a fantastic place to invest if you’re looking to commute long-term from London.

Saffron Walden

Population: 15,504
Distance from Charing Cross: 43 miles
Commute Length: 51 mins to London Liverpool Street (Audley End station)
Annual Train Ticket: £5,556.00
Average House Price: £414,002
Interesting Fact: Estimated to be over 800 years old, Saffron Walden is home to the largest turf maze in the world.

Essex Commuter Town: Saffron Walden

If you’re looking to relocate to a quiet, relaxed and somewhat smaller area, Saffron Walden may be your perfect spot. Its population is just over 15,000 so it naturally lends to a slower and more peaceful way of life. However, despite its smaller size it is bursting with medieval character with tiny, winding streets and timber framed homes, making it an idyllic town set in the heart of Essex countryside. Considering it rural location and overall ambiance, Saffron Walden is surprisingly only 20 miles away from the beautiful city of Cambridge and just over 30 miles away from Stansted Airport (although you wouldn’t think it). Saffron Walden has a very relaxed and calm atmosphere where you can wander off into the countryside with its abundance of public footpaths. However, due to its size and the fact that people that love to settle permanently in Saffron Walden, the property market can be quite slow and it may be difficult to find your perfect home. This, combined with its proximity to Cambridge, sees Saffron Walden’s average house price to be over £400,000 which is slightly above average for Essex.

Interestingly, Saffron Walden is an unusual commuter town in the sense that it does not have its own train station. Fortunately, commuters only have to travel two miles down the road to Audley End station, where you can reach London Liverpool Street in around 51 minutes. The absence of a central station does allow Saffron Walden to remain uncongested, which helps its rural market town ambience with a large public common and frequent Farmer’s market where you can buy an abundance of quality, locally-sourced produce. Overall, Saffron Walden is ideal if you are looking for a complete change of lifestyle, wanting to avoid new builds and chain restaurants that is common place in the Capital.

Chelmsford

Population: 111,511
Distance from Charing Cross: 32 miles
Commute Length: 35 mins to London Liverpool Street
Annual Train Ticket: £4,836.00
Average House Price: £345,367
Interesting Fact: Iconic King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, was reportedly born in a farm just outside Chelmsford.

Essex Commuter Town; Chelmsford Castle

Having been granted city status in 2012 (with the UK’s smallest cathedral after Derby), Chelmsford is rapidly establishing itself as one of the top London commuter towns. A pertinent factor for its popularity is its frequent and reliable rail service into London. Residents can reach London Liverpool Street in 35 mins – which is a shorter commute than many Londoners face! Plus, with the average house price under £350,00 you can get real value for your money by relocating to Chelmsford. The city appears to be thriving too; it has invested heavily in creating new builds to entice commuters and university students alike with the formation of Anglia Ruskin University. With the influx of students, Chelmsford has a vibrant nightlife too, full of restaurant and bars but also maintains a low crime rate.

In combination with a thriving night-time economy, Chelmsford is also very family friendly. It has an enviable array of top quality grammar and independent schools. Perhaps its most famous is the King Edward VI Grammar School, known locally as ‘Kegs’. It was founded in 1551 and is nationally acclaimed for its teaching quality. Other alternatives include New Hall School, which was recently voted Independent School of the Year 2016 by the Times Education Supplement while Chelmsford County High School For Girls is a fantastic grammar school. There are also plenty of green spaces in Chelmsford including Central Park, Springfield Hall Park and Admirals Park and Tower Gardens to name but three. Plus, if you’re into sport, the abundance of green spaces sees Chelmsford host its own ‘Parks Marathon’, while the city is also home to Chelmsford Sports and Athletics Centre (CSAC) which provides first class sporting facilities both indoors and outdoors.

What makes Chelmsford a great commuter town is that you can easily access London but the city also provides so much for its residents that you can really establish a happy lifestyle here too. For this reason, we have voted Chelmsford as the number one commuter town in Essex. It has a fantastic education set up and plenty of property to be able to sell your home and relocate. There is also plenty for people to do for all ages and lifestyles. A perfect all-rounder that can fit to most budgets.

If you want to find out other hot commuter spots, why not check out our Surrey, Kent, or East Sussex commuter guides.

With recent figures stating that Londoners are increasingly choosing to leave the Capital, getting the right commuter spot has never been so important. This is after The Telegraph announced that 74,000 homes were bought by Londoners outside of The Big Smoke in 2016, an increase of 11,000 from 2015. With the affordability of London property becoming an ever growing issue, most Londoners are now preferring to buy homes in southern England instead, fuelling the ever growing commuter culture.

As a result, in the latest of our London Commuter Towns series, we take a look at the southern county of East Sussex. Similar to its neighbouring Kent, this county is blessed with coastal retreats and vast areas of green space and natural beauty. Furthermore, property in East Sussex tends to be more affordable than its West Sussex counterpart, and as a result, it makes it an attractive location to buy a house within a commutable distance to London. While the railway services may not be as efficient as other commuter counties, some of these beautiful towns make the journey completely worth it, starting with Brighton.

Brighton

Population: 281,076
Distance from Charing Cross: 52 miles
Commute Length: 1hr 9mins to London Victoria
Annual Train Ticket: £4,172
Average House Price: £369,480
Interesting Fact: Brighton is home to Britain’s oldest cinema – Duke of York’s Picture House.

London Commuter Towns: Brighton seaside in East Sussex

As one of East Sussex’s most popular destinations, we have already written about how much we love Brighton with our top 7 seaside destinations guide. Brighton seems to have escaped the decline of many British seaside destinations and is a trendy, lively and cosmopolitan city. This has definitely been helped by the fact that you can reach central London by train in just over one hour, which has enticed many people to commute from this area. Brighton is a fantastic location if you are looking to leave the expensive side of London behind but do not necessarily want to live in a quiet town or village. It has plenty of cultural activities, including the famous Brighton Festival. In addition, there are plenty of interesting restaurants and sociable pubs and bars to keep you entertained. Brightonians seem to love their city, and its strong community feel is helped in part by its famous independent shopping area called The Lanes. In spite of the array of amenities at hand, housing is still very affordable at the popularly dubbed ‘London-on-Sea’, with the average house price at £369,480. Furthermore, Brighton is a very environmentally conscious place with plenty of eco-homes if that is an important house purchasing factor for you.

In terms of raising a family in Brighton, children would enjoy a far more outdoor lifestyle living by the sea and away from the pollution that London naturally lends itself to. In terms of education, Brighton has three highly acclaimed independent schools – Brighton College, the Rodean School and Bellersby College.

Lewes

Population: 17,297
Distance from Charing Cross: 44 miles
Commute Length: 1hr 10 mins to London Victoria
Annual Train Ticket: £4,184
Average House Price: £452,572
Interesting Fact: Wealdan Hall House in Lewes was given to Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII as part of her divorce settlement from the reigning monarch.

London Best Commuter Towns: aerial view of Lewes in East Sussex

Lewes is a fabulous town that is growing in popularity with commuters from London. The town itself is charming and medieval in design, fronted by its Norman castle, and the town is blessed with an abundance of historical architecture and quirky winding streets, full of independent shops. Furthermore, what further adds to the appeal of Lewes is that it is encased in beautiful countryside, being so close to the chalk hills of the South Downs and with the River Ouse close by. Overall, Lewes is a picturesque town that is quintessentially English and provides commuting residents with a dramatic escape from the hustle and bustle of London. However, this serenity does come at a price, with the average house costing around £452,572, making it one of the most expensive areas to live in East Sussex. Nevertheless, if this is within your budget, it would be a lovely place to raise a family, with the Lewes Old Grammar School having a fantastic reputation too. In addition, if a child (or anyone) wishes to extend their knowledge, Lewes is home to a 15th century bookshop which we’re sure would be of use! In summary, Lewes provides its residents with a completely unique environment and a complete detachment from the travails of London.

Uckfield

Population: 14,493
Distance from Charing Cross: 38 miles
Commute Length: 1 hr 27 mins to London Bridge
Annual Train Ticket: £3,844
Average House Price: £379,109
Interesting Fact: As a popular stopping point for pilgrims, Uckfield is home to ‘Pudding Cake Lane’ which featured a public house that travellers would frequent for a rest and slice of pudding cake.

London Commuter Town: Uckfield in East Sussex park area

If you’re fed up with the ever rising costs of living in London, Uckfield may be a good choice to relocate to in Easy Sussex. The town grew to prominence as a resting point for pilgrims going to Canterbury, so it naturally lends itself well to being a commuter town! Another motivating factor to reside here would be its affordable house prices. In 2015, the average house price was around £379,109, far cheaper than London and the more expensive areas of East Sussex such as Lewes. Annual train ticket fares are also not as expensive as others in this county, priced at £3,844. However, commute times are around 90 minutes each way but residents can opt instead to do a short drive to Haywards Heath train station where trains take under an hour. One of the many benefits of living here is that Uckfield is very close to many nature reserves and green spaces, particularly the lovely Sheffield Park and Garden (pictured above) which is part of the National Trust and has over 250 acres of woodland space. This place is great for families, and If you are considering raising a family here Uckfield Community Technical College is rated as the best in town.

Polegate

Population: 8,586
Distance from Charing Cross: 49 miles
Commute Length: 1hr 26 mins to London Victoria
Annual Train Ticket: £4,588
Average House Price: £285,738
Interesting Fact: Ovenden’s Mill (pictured below) was built in 1817 and is now a working museum.

London Best Commuter Towns: Polegate in East Sussex's windmill musuem

Close to Eastbourne, Polegate is a small town that is perfectly situated on the cusp of the South Downs National Park. It would be a fantastic place to live if you are looking to leave London for quieter climes and raise a young family in peace. Furthermore, with the average house price coming in at 285,738, you could get a serious bargain if you decide to commute to work from now on. While Polegate certainly is one of the more affordable places to live in East Sussex, its transport links are slightly lengthy with a journey to London Victoria taking just under 90 minutes and annual train tickets costing £4,588. However, with the savings you would be making on a house purchase you would still be getting great value for your money. Perhaps the biggest attraction to relocating to Polegate would be the rural lifestyle you would be able to lead. Being so close to the South Downs would massively increase your quality of life and provides so many safe, outdoor activities for you and your family. On a quirkier note, the ‘Cuckoo Trail’ passes through the town which is a fourteen-mile public footpath along picturesque countryside!

Rye

Population: 9,041
Distance from Charing Cross: 53 miles
Commute Length: 1hr 07 mins to London St Pancras
Annual Train Ticket: £5,424
Average House Price: £319,257
Interesting Fact: As a medieval port town, Rye was infamous for smugglers, especially in the 18th century when the Hawkhurst Gang who would meet up in The Mermaid Inn.

East Sussex Commuter Towns: Rye street

Situated two miles from the sea and close to three rivers, Rye is a quaint harbour town full of old England charm. With Victorian and Georgian buildings lining the cobbled streets, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this attractive town. House prices are very reasonable here too, with the average property selling for £319,257. A big attraction to Rye is its abundance of independent shops coupled with a weekly farmer’s market, if you are after a major supermarket you will have to drive to nearby Eastbourne instead. Therefore, Rye is a perfect escape from the heavily commercialised Capital with its traditional, seaside feel. The place is not completely sleepy however, it was once famous for smugglers in the 18th century particularly in the art of ‘owling’ which is the smuggling of wool. This town has its own castle museum too and is also well documented in literature from the likes of Sir Robert Naunton and Daniel Defoe. Moreover, American novelist Conrad Aitken formerly lived in Rye as did Sir Paul McCartney – who sent his children to the local schools. On the topic of education, there are some well-esteemed schools just outside Rye such as Benenden School in Cranbrook and Battle Abbey School. In terms of commuting from London, you can catch the high-speed train network and get to St Pancras in just over an hour which is mighty impressive considering Rye’s coastal location.

Overall, East Sussex has several different options if you’re interested in a commuter lifestyle changes. As part of the Home Counties, East Sussex has a quaint, rustic feel at an affordable price range that people who live in London just love. Looking at all the combinatory factors, we have awarded Rye as our number one commuter town from East Sussex! The town encapsulates all the best features of the counties’ many commuter towns, such as picturesque views coupled with small, cute and historical town centres. In addition, it has plenty of affordable housing but living here does not make you feel disconnected to the Capital with the high-speed train network. Brighton was a close second, but it has already established itself a popular commuter town, we feel that it’s time for Rye to shine!

If you would like to read more of our commuter town guide, here are our takes on the wonderful Home Counties of Surrey and Kent!

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.

Staines–upon-Thames

Population: 18,484
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.

Surrey Commuter Towns: Staines-Upon-Thames

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.

Walton-on-Thames

Population: 22,834
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.

River view of Walton-on-Thames, a surrey commuter town

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.

Esher

Population: 6,743
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.

Esher in countrside, a surrey commuter town

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.

Woking

Population: 62,796
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.

town photo of woking, a surrey commuter town

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.

Redhill

Population: 18,163
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.

Redhill, A commuter town in surrey

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!

If you want to find out more about commuter towns in other counties, why not check out our East Sussex or Kent Commuter Guide!

In the first part of our London commuter towns series, we take a look at the popular commuting county of Kent. With idyllic medieval towns and vast areas of green, open space and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Kent is popularly referred to as The Garden of England, which sounds ideal if you are looking to relocate out of The Big Smoke. Here we take a look at five potential commuter towns that may be right for you if you’ve decided that you want to sell your London home.

Sevenoaks

Population: 29,506
Distance from Charing Cross: 21 miles
Commute Length: 38 mins to London Charing Cross
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £3,980
Average House Selling Price: £564,564
Interesting Fact: The Beatles’ promotional film for their songs ‘Strawberry Field Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ were shot in Knole Park in Sevenoaks.

A field in Sevenoaks, Kent

In many ways, Sevenoaks is a microcosm of Kent’s itself. The historical town is a pleasant blend of quaint medieval architecture and modern shopping areas yet it is surrounded on all fronts by rolling hills and striking countryside, including the spectacular North Downs, plus the High Weald of Kent. This has resulted in Sevenoaks becoming a popular London commuter town as it offers residents a superb balance of an urban and rural lifestyle. In addition, Sevenoaks is well known as the home to Knole House, which is one of Britain’s largest private residences. Set in a 1,000-acre deer park, this 600-year-old residence is open 365 days a year and is a fantastic family day out. Furthermore, the town’s affluent character lends itself to having several strong school options (both private and state) such as Sevenoaks School (which dates back to 1432) and is part of the G20 Schools group. Another notable school is Walthamstow Hall, which is an Independent Girls School. Therefore, while Sevenoaks may not be the most affordable commuter town in Kent, it certainly can provide a family-focussed, outdoors lifestyle amongst stunning natural beauty.

Dartford

Population: 97,365
Distance from Charing Cross: 19 miles
Commute Length: 52 mins to London Charing Cross
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £2,400
Average House Selling Price: £282,744
Interesting Fact: During Medieval times, Dartford was a popular waypoint for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury and Europe.

An aerial view of Dartford, Kent with its famous bridge

With close links to London, Dartford is increasingly becoming a popular commuter town, helped in part by its affordability. Its housing and travel prices are modest for Kent with the average house selling for around £282,000 in 2015 according to Zoopla. The town rose to prominence during the Industrial Revolution, being home to England’s first paper and iron mills. Recently, there have been great efforts in regenerating the area and boosted by its proximity to Bluewater Shopping Centre, Dartford is rapidly becoming an exciting up-and-coming area if you are looking at moving out of London. Despite the industrial nature of the town, it features Dartford Heath which covers over 312 acres of open space. Nevertheless, the area has three major rail lines to London as well as plentiful major roads such as the M25 and M20, which makes it an ideal commuter location. Properties in Dartford are also one of the fastest selling in the UK, so it is becoming a wise decision for families to invest here, especially with a strong education base with Dartford and Wilmington Grammar Schools.

Canterbury

Population: 54,480
Distance from Charing Cross: 54 miles
Commute Length: 54 mins to London St Pancras
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £5,172
Average House Selling Price: £298,290
Interesting Fact: ‘The Canterbury trot’ was the name given to the swift way pilgrims rode their horses in order to reach the city before nightfall. This is where the verb ‘to canter’ originated.

Kent Commuter Towns: Canterbury's canal scene

If you’re looking to sell your home in London but still enjoy a city lifestyle, Canterbury may be your ideal commuter spot. A small city of immense historical significance, it is filled with cultural events and places of national heritage such as its world-famous Cathedral. It may be slightly further away from London than other commuter spots in Kent (although closer to its lovely coastline), but travelling from Canterbury West station allows you to reach Charing Cross in under an hour with its high-speed train. Furthermore, this distance from the Capital is reflected with its good value housing prices. Last year, the average semi-detached sold for £267,280, this figure rises to £427,877 if you are looking at to buy a home in the aforementioned Sevenoaks. Another pleasant feature of this Medieval city is its pedestrianised centre which features a multitude of modern shopping options along its narrow streets and timber framed houses. Furthermore, it has a youthful population thanks in part to having two Universities ( the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University) close by. Canterbury’s educational system extends to its strong schools too, which includes The King’s School Canterbury and Simon Langton Grammar School For Boys.

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Population: 57,772
Distance from Charing Cross: 40 miles
Commute Length: 59 mins to London Charing Cross
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £5,068
Average House Selling Price: £419,058
Interesting Fact: In October 1895, Tunbridge Wells hosted Britain’s first ever motor show. It featured five vehicles.

Green scenery in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Royal Tunbridge Wells is a largely affluent area in western Kent, surrounded by green, open spaces, such as Dunorlan Park and the Chalybeate Spring. Perhaps the stand out outdoor feature of this location is its proximity to ‘The Seven Wonders of The Weald’ that features seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty within a 30-minute drive of each other. From the Tudor Chiddingstone Castle to Biddenden Vineyard, it’s a wonderful area to reside in, so much so, the town earned its ‘Royal’ prefix when it became a holiday favourite of Queen Victoria. The town itself is well known for its Georgian style shopping area known as The Pantiles which was designed by architect Decimus Burton in the 18th Century. Frequently ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK, it has an array of quaint shops as well as a regular farmer’s market. For families, the town is blessed with quality schools such as The Skinners’ School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School For Girls. This area may not be cheap but it definitely a beautiful area to live close to London.

Gravesend

Population: 51.560
Distance from Charing Cross: 21 miles
Commute Length: 25 mins to London St Pancras
Annual Standard Train Ticket: £3,328.00
Average House Selling Price: £281,320
Interesting Fact: Gravesend is the final resting place of Pocahontas.

A group of boats in Gravesend, Kent

Gravesend has recently been popping up as a favoured London commuter town, especially since it is part of a high-speed train service which allows you to reach central London in under half an hour. Despite its proximity to The Big Smoke, Gravesend has its own unique identity and charm, its coastal location sees it having the world’s oldest surviving cast iron pier which features an array of restaurants and shops. Another big attraction to Gravesend is its affordable housing. Last year the average house sold at £281,328 while the average semi-detached house was sold at an average of £318,978 which is far cheaper than the average cost for the same property type in Royal Tunbridge Wells (£424,313), making Gravesend one of the most affordable commuter towns in Kent. The town is also currently undergoing a £120-million-pound regeneration project, creating new homes which are sure to attract London homebuyers. Despite the changes afoot, Gravesend is already a sound education centre with quality schools such as Mayfield Grammar School and Gravesend Grammar School. Gravesend’s affordability may not last forever, so it is definitely a great area to invest in today.

Overall, the county of Kent has a fantastic array of potential commuter towns. Whether it is the rural beauty of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks or the surprising affordability of Gravesend and Dartford, you have plenty of options to suit your individual needs. There are numerous benefits of relocating to a commuter town too, the gentler pace of life and cleaner environment often markedly improves your quality of life – plus you can really save some money! With the speed that you can reach London now ever improving, you can now afford to live further away and get out of the ‘rat race’ and avoid the rising rent prices found throughout London. It is for that reason that we have chosen Canterbury as our No.1 Commuter Location in Kent. While not strictly a town, Canterbury is a wonderful cathedral city that has fast transport links, quality schools plus it has a unique culture of its own – you won’t miss London at the weekends either! This package in combination with its surprisingly affordable house prices is reason enough to sell your London home and commute from Kent!

If you want to find out more about commuter towns in other counties, why not check out our other London Commuter Town Guides in Surrey and East Sussex

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