The Best London Commuter Towns to Move to in 2017
When the writer Samuel Johnson said “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”, he obviously wasn’t house hunting in the capital in 2017, queuing for open house events in Dulwich, or saving for a deposit for a £0.5 million 1-bed in Hackney. Add in a tube strike and a toxic air pollution warning, and it’s enough to make anyone lay their head on the table in the local chicken shop, and dream of a quieter life.
But not too quiet, right? That’s why every year, hundreds of Londoners choose the best of both worlds and keep the well-paid jobs they love, but make the move to one of the city’s many commuter towns in neighbouring counties like Surrey, Kent and Essex. Let’s take a look at some of the best:
15 miles from London, 35 minutes from Dartford to London Bridge
Average house price: £272,829
Much more than just a river crossing, Dartford has a rich history as well as a bright future. Mentioned in the Doomsday book, the area grew into a prospering market town in Medieval times when it became a popular stop-off for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.
From more recent history, Dartford’s most famous sons, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones still have a strong influence in the town. The Mick Jagger Centre is a performing arts venue with top facilities for the whole community. The Orchard Theatre provides locals with another cultural hub for theatre, comedy and dance.
Just 10 minutes out of town is Bluewater shopping centre, 4th largest in the UK. It’s the perfect place to get rid of some of the cash you’d be saving by making the move to Dartford. The town is great choice for a move to Kent, a county where so many other commuter hubs have already seen the market soar. House prices are rising fast, so if you’re a savvy investor it could be right for you.
13 miles from London, 36 minutes to London Waterloo
Average house price: £481,229
You might have visited Epsom before for Derby day at Epsom Racecourse, but you could be tempted to stay by the lovely market town setting where average house prices are nearly £250,000 cheaper than South West London.
Walking through Epsom town centre, you feel a sense of the wealth of this market town thanks to the discovery of Epsom Salts in the 17th century. It’s positively thriving today still, with all the shops and restaurants you’d want.
Although the town is situated just within the M25, it still has open space and greenery. If you find that the move away from London has left you feeling homesick for the capital, you only have to take a stroll along the Epsom Downs to see one of the best views of London’s skyline.
If you’re prepared to scour the rising market in this area, the charm of a period property in a conservation area could be yours for a lot less than you think.
74 miles from London, 50 minutes to London Kings Cross
Average house price: £180,173
In the farthest reaches of London’s commuter belt, but still well-served by rail and road links, Peterborough is gaining popularity with families looking to make a move out of the capital.
In amongst the usual high street mainstays, the town centre is full of history and grandeur. The 12th century cathedral leads onto a gateway that forms part of the city’s main square, a chapel and noble guildhall building at its centre.
The city and surrounding area have much to offer for those with outdoor interests. An award winning Victorian park is a pretty setting for a swim at the beautiful 1930s lido. Nene Park has acres of lakes and woodland scenery. Or, only half an hour outside of the city is the Fens, perfect for long hikes and bike rides.
Peterborough’s housing stock is varied, with a lot of modern builds as well as more characterful properties. Whatever your taste, the prices alone are sure to put a smile on your face.
26 miles from London, 25 minutes to London Paddington
Average house price: £512,581
London’s biggest transport upgrade, in the form of Crossrail, is affecting Maidenhead in a very positive way. The town centre has long been seen as grey and uninspiring, especially when compared to the charm of neighbouring Thameside towns like Windsor or Henley, but the council is planning £1 billion worth of improvements over the next 10 years, to go alongside the new transport link.
Even before these exciting regeneration plans get started, there’s a lot going in Maidenhead to make a move here feel like not just a wise investment, but refreshing change in lifestyle too. A stroll along the river is never far away - you could even embrace riverside living with both hands and join the local rowing club.
The village of Bray is best known for its 2 three-Michelin-starred restaurants (out of only four in the whole of the UK!). It’s less than ten minutes outside of the city centre and houses sell for double the price of Maidenhead itself.
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St Albans, Hertfordshire
19 miles from London, 19 minutes to London St Pancras
Average house price: £534,272
The most expensive commuter town on MoveHub’s list, St Albans is well known as a popular place for families to move out of London without losing out on cafe culture for the parents, or good schools for the kids.
Londoners with a taste for culture will feel at home in St Albans; the town has three theatres and the Verulamium Museum is one of many historical sights that highlights the St Albans area’s Roman past. The park in which the museum and its Roman ruins sits, is the largest of the town, but even the smaller parks have excellent sports facilities that are all really well used by the locals.
With all the St Albans has to offer, it’s not surprising that the house prices are continuing to rise at a healthy pace. Families have always been attracted to the area, but with more and more new developments and flats, the younger London crowd is starting to flock to the north as well.
20 miles from London, 40 minutes from London Liverpool St
Average house price: £460,897
The town of Brentwood in Essex might sound familiar to you. If you’re a history buff, it could be because of the ruins of the 13th century chapel that stand middle of the High Street. But let’s face it, you probably know Brentwood from the reality TV behemoth that is The Only Way is Essex.
Before you pack your bags and hop on the next train back to London, it’s worth remembering that the beautiful people of Essex might be onto something. With Brentwood’s lively selection of restaurants, bars and independent shops, this commuter town does offer a lot.
An added bonus is that when you need a break from the glitz and glam, the surrounding villages of the Essex countryside are each as quaint as the next, with a pub at every stop.
With a move here, whether to a large family home or more affordable Victorian cottage, London will definitely feel a world away when you step off the train at the end of the day.
27 miles from London, 37 minutes to London Waterloo
Average house price: £500,756
Guildford’s neo-gothic cathedral is positioned on a hill just outside of the town centre and provides an iconic landmark and viewpoint, where you can really get a sense of the town’s position so close to beautiful rural landscapes.
The outdoor life is what so many Guildford residents love. Hop in a car and within 10 minutes you’ll have reached the Surrey Hills, over 160 square miles of beautiful walks and lofty peaks to breathe in deep and explore. The river Wey cuts a scenic route through the area’s villages, but also offer scenic spots even closer to town, a cool drink at one of Guildford’s riverside pubs on a summer day will surely have you sold.
If all that hill walking and fresh air wasn’t enough, Guildford is bursting with award winning sport facilities. There’s something for everyone, even if you’re just a spectator.
Guildford’s green setting and fab amenities mean house prices are healthy and ever growing, but the change in pace from central London is worth the money for many.