If you and your family are looking to move house, and need to be close to transport links to London, then read our round-up of the 10 best places to live if you're a commuter.

There comes a time in life for some when the excitement of living in London, full of life and with so much to enjoy, is no longer enough to keep you there. Theatre, cinema, concerts, the finest food and all the richness and variety in the city can eventually begin to wane. And if you have a family, you may be considering a move to somewhere that can offer you more space, great schools and potentially a quieter life, but still access to good shopping, leisure facilities and accessible to London.  

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of our top 10 family-friendly commuter towns. If you're thinking of moving away from London, it’s worth a look. We’ve done some of the groundwork for you, to help you decide where to start your search. This includes commute times and travel costs, as well as the average cost of renting a 3-bedroom house or buying a 3-bedroom house.

If you're coming to the area for the first time, contact Romans with any questions you may have - we'll be happy to recommend neighbourhoods and properties to look at that are within your budget and fit your requirements.

 

Basingstoke

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,200 per month to rent; £400k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £4,736 per year
  • Time to London: 1 hour 7 mins

Bracknell

Basingstoke is an extremely successful and lively town that is a real hot spot for commuters. There is a great mix of properties from different eras, with lots of new builds still planned. As a result, you can take advantage of Help to Buy until 2021 if you are trading up, or until 2023 if you are a first-time buyer.

For the family, there are plenty of leisure activities, ranging from modern shopping malls to independent shops and a huge leisure park with three pools. Basingstoke is surrounded by beautiful countryside if you want to escape after a busy week.

Where education is concerned there are plenty of schools and colleges, so that children can progress from pre-school to primary, right up to college level at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT). In terms of healthcare, there is everything you need, with a new critical care and cancer treatment centre planned on the outskirts of the town. Whether you want access to public or private school or healthcare services, Basingstoke can provide both options.

 

Bracknell

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,500 per month to rent; £450k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £4,736 per year
  • Time to London: 1 hour 8 mins

Bracknell

Over the last nine years, Bracknell has undergone substantial change, funded by over £700million of investment. Recent improvements include the new Lexicon Centre with retail, food and leisure facilities, and incorporating a new 12-screen cinema.

PWC recently ranked Bracknell as one of the top places for health, and second for “most improved city region in the UK”, taking into account work-life balance, income equality and pollution.

Property types range from new-build estates, where you can take advantage of Help to Buy deals and affordable home schemes, to some of the most beautiful period properties located in assorted small villages and historic towns, as well as the vibrant centre of Bracknell.

If you haven’t visited Bracknell for a while, it is definitely worth a second look!

 

Guildford

  • Three-bedroom house: £2,200 per month to rent; £600k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £3,836 per year
  • Time to London: 1 hour 8 mins

Guildford

Guildford has an amazing history. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and today is a thriving town with easy access to London. Guildford includes a town centre as well as many outlying villages, so whether you want a brand new flat or a period property with land, you are likely to find what you want.

All the main high street shops are represented, but the town also has a thriving independent sector. In addition, there is a busy market every Friday and Saturday, covering all your fresh food needs. According to the Sunday Times, the town is home to “two of the very best schools in the country”. In terms of health facilities, there are private and public services from the large Royal Surrey County Hospitals through to smaller community hospitals and specialist services.

 

High Wycombe

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,250 per month to rent; £450k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £3,772 per year
  • Time to London: 40 mins

High Wycombe

High Wycombe was named as the UK’s number one commuter hot spot by Totallymoney.com. It compared favourably in a survey of almost 100 towns, using commute times, rail fares and house prices for those working in London.

With a short journey time of just 40 minutes to London, High Wycombe was identified as the standout location for commuters, offering access to affordable large family homes - compared to London prices. While easy access to London is vital, the fact that High Wycombe is on the M40 and close to the M25 and Heathrow Airport, makes it easy to travel to the rest of the UK and beyond.

High Wycombe offers a range of educational options, including independent schools such as Wycombe Abbey, through to excellent grammar education. In terms of health, High Wycombe comes administratively under the Buckinghamshire region, which is equipped with seven hospitals, including Wycombe Hospital.

And there is plenty to do in and around the area, with easy access to high street shops in the centre and out-of-town retail parks, together with cinema and leisure facilities.

 

Maidenhead

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,700 per month to rent; £525k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £3,772 per year
  • Time to London: 32 mins

Maidenhead

With access to Cross Rail via the Elizabeth line anticipated for 2021, this will allow high-speed travel to central London. There is a hope that with such easy travel to and from London, Maidenhead can achieve its aim of becoming a science and technology hub within the Thames Valley.

From a shopping and leisure viewpoint, the Nicholsons Shopping Centre offers all the well-known high street shops as well as different varieties of markets. These include continental, farmers' and arts markets. If you enjoy being out and about, you will find you are amply catered for. Cinemas, local bars and cultural evenings at the Norden Farm Centre for the Arts are among the attractions Maidenhead offers. If you prefer being on or near water, the River Thames runs through Maidenhead and there are plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces to appreciate. 

Maidenhead’s schools enjoy a good reputation and the recently opened Holyport College is one of the UK’s first free state boarding schools and of course, the famous Eton College is nearby. Maidenhead comes under Berkshire’s healthcare and delivers good care for children, adults and facilities for older people.

 

Reading

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,350 per month to rent; £350k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £4,736 per year
  • Time to London: 25 mins

Reading

Reading is certainly worth checking out as a potential new area in which to settle. Huge amounts of investment in its rail facilities, including Crossrail, and a direct link from Reading to Heathrow, makes this an attractive possibility. Other areas across the UK can easily be reached via the M4 to the South, and the M25 is not too far away.

PWC’s latest 2019 rankings for top cities to live and work rates Reading as one of the best, for the fourth year in a row. This accolade is partly due to its fantastic leisure and shopping facilities at the Oracle, with the River Kennet running right through it. Reading gives you almost all of the same facilities as you would find in London, but with the advantage of easier access to some of the UK’s most beautiful countryside, in addition to superb nearby village life if you prefer this to city centre living.

The Reading Festival is famously not to be missed and practically on your doorstep. Meanwhile, Reading has good schools, all the way up to the University of Reading, which is highly ranked as one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world.

 

Staines

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,600 per month to rent; £500k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £2,772 per year
  • Time to London: 48 mins

Staines

The Mirror recently called Staines one of the most ‘underrated’ towns in the UK, while also mentioning it is twinned with Mauritius! The infrastructures in and out of London are superb via train or indeed via road, and you can even get to Heathrow without touching the M3, M4 or the M25.

Despite its name, Staines is an incredibly pretty town, especially in areas where the Thames runs through and it dates back to Roman times. There are good shopping facilities, markets and Thorpe Park for adrenalin junkies.

Primary and secondary schools are rated as ‘good’, with Brooklands and Strodes college for older students and nearby Royal Holloway, part of the University of London. Healthcare wise, the area comes under Surrey and there is good access to may GP practices and has various doctors and it even has its own ‘cottage’ hospital with a bigger hospital called St Peters not far away.  

 

Windsor

  • Three-bedroom house: £2,000 per month to rent; £500k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £3,040 per year
  • Time to London: 1 hour 4 mins

Windsor

Despite having one of the world’s most famous residents residing in their very own lived in Castle, Windsor is still accessible to families who need to be on London’s doorstep.

It’s easy access to the London via trains, to Heathrow via the M4 makes it very commutable to most places, but with beautiful areas such as the Windsor Great Park, whether you are travelling or just want to enjoy local green spaces, Windsor can offer a great family and work life balance.

Although there are plenty of private healthcare facilities, there are also well named NHS facilities including the King Edward VII Hospital and Prince Charles Eye Unit.

Schools are equally famous, including the independent Eton and there is a mix of Church of England, Montessori and other well rated schools such as The Queen Anne Royal Free First School.

 

Wokingham

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,500 per month to rent; £450k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £4,736 per year
  • Time to London: 1 hour 16 mins

Wokingham

Tipped as one of the top 10 places to live, by the Halifax quality of life survey in 2020, Wokingham is a great place to live for families tucked just off the A329M and M4 with great train services for London commuters.

And from a lifestyle perspective, according to the Office of National Statistics, as it has one of the highest health life expectancy in the UK, along with low unemployment levels and good levels of consumer spending’.

Within Wokingham, there has been a lot of effort to create a town which is "more intimate boutique and independent feel" and it now includes well-known and boutique shops, a cinema, hotel and residential properties as well as an improved play area and improvements to the leisure centre. So there is plenty for the family to do at weekends and in the evenings.

There are several schools which are classed as ‘outstanding’ in the area and health is taken care of by Bracknell and Wokingham with Wokingham Hospital taking care of general needs and specialists services from facilities such as The Old Forge which has mental health and learning disabilities teams.

 

Woodley

  • Three-bedroom house: £1,400 per month to rent; £400k to buy
  • Annual rail fare: £4,736 (travelling from Twyford)
  • Time to London: 41 mins (travelling from Twyford)

Sonning

Woodley might not seem the first choice for commuters as it doesn’t have its own train station, but it is not far from great links to London such as Winnersh Triangle, Earley and Twyford stations.

The centre has a wide range of shops from high street to independent and plenty of good restaurants and cafes. In addition there is a monthly farmers market and even an Italian market to enjoy, plus you’ll be close to the likes of Sonning and Henley too. If you need a ‘bigger day out’, Reading is not far away and will have all other amenities required.

Outside of shopping, there are plenty of clubs to cater for all sporting needs from football, cricket and tennis to bowls, a local karting stadium and swimming pool.

Between Wokingham, Woodley and Reading, there are good educational opportunities from primary through to university. Being relatively small, Woodley hasn’t its own hospital, but does have plenty of GP surgeries, and is only a short drive to other hospitals nearby.

 

If you are considering a move to a town that's commutable to London, contact your local branch to arrange your properties viewings (either face-to-face or over a phone or computer with our Virtual Viewings service).

 

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